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Ascent of Diamond Peak on 2018-07-08

Climber: Ted Glick

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, July 8, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Diamond Peak
    Location:USA-Oregon
    Elevation:8744 ft / 2665 m

Ascent Trip Report

My annual Diamond Peak climb. I use this as a conditioning climb to get in better shape for later-in-the-season climbs, so I generally do this in early July, and I get eaten alive by mosquitoes. They are really bad in this area until August-ish. Heavy repellent and headnets are highly recommended. But, I have never had to share the summit and I rarely encounter people, even on a weekend, in the early season.

I usually go the Diamond Rockpile route with an easy bushwhack shortcut in the middle. The Rockpile Trailhead is on Forest Road 2160 and the Rockpile Trail (trail #3632) takes you to Rockpile Lake and Marie Lake (where there are nuclear mosquitoes; Marie Lake is pretty, but you'll need to keep moving in mosquito season).

From there the trail goes south and then east to join the PCT which takes you to the climber's trail junction. I generally don't go that way because it's unnecessarily circuitous. From Marie Lake, I go straight north (about 355 degrees magnetic, actually) over easy terrain, and if I hit the small, unnamed lake (see map) I know I'm on the right track. But even if I miss it, being off course by a few degrees is not a big deal; you'll still get to the right area. Shortly after the small lake area, you'll find the climber's trail and it's just a straight shot up from there to the false summit and then another not-quite half mile on to the true summit. The forth mile of this hike is by far the hardest with about 1,200 feet of gain in a mile in crummy volcanic cat litter scree (depending on the line that you take). One step up; half a step back. For best results above treeline, I advise sticking as far to the climber's right (east), as close to the ridgeline as possible for the best footing. The footing is still crumbly-volcano crummy, but it's not as bad as when you stray to the west of the ridgeline.

The return trip is just as straightforward. Climber's trail down to near the PCT junction, then straight south to the east end of Marie Lake. You can't see Marie Lake, but you can see Diamond Rockpile and you just aim for that. Or simply follow the fall line, and before you know it you're at Marie Lake and back to the Rockpile Trail.

Once I tried a variant bushwhack on the descent and went down the obvious southwest ridge from the false summit for a lollipop route. I intended to intercept the Diamond Peak Trail (trail #3699) and take it south back to the Rockpile Trail, but I don't think the Diamond Peak Trail is used very much and I think it was faint because I totally missed it on the bushwhack descent. I ended up bushwhacking south to the Rockpile Trail. It wasn't terrible, but it was moderately difficult and took significantly more effort than being on a trail. And much to my surprise, when I looked at the GPS data, it turned out to be a bit longer than my standard bushwhack-to-Marie-Lake route. So there's really no advantage to doing that.

Poles and short gaiters are highly recommended for this climb.


Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Going north on road 2160, this is the view of Diamond Peak. This is in the Pioneer Gulch area, about a half-mile north of the Diamond Rockpile trailhead. (2018-07-08). Photo by Ted Glick.
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Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4919 ft / 1499 m
    Extra Gain:680 ft / 207 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11 mi / 17.7 km
    Route:Rockpile trail to climber's trail via Marie Lake
    Trailhead:Rockpile TH  5185 ft / 1580 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Ted Glick
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file




Other Photos

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Looking west across Marie Lake from its east end. This is at the base of Diamond Rockpile (north side) (2018-07-08). Photo by Ted Glick.
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Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The small, unnamed lake (large pond?) north of Marie Lake on my preferred bushwhack route to the climber's trail (2018-07-08). Photo by Ted Glick.
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Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Bad selfie, sorry, but it's the only summit pic I have. That's it over my shoulder there. Pretty barren with a yellow Pelican box summit register. (2018-07-08). Photo by Ted Glick.
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Click on photo for original larger-size version.
From a July 2016 hike: Looking south from the climber's trail just a few hundred feet above the junction with the PCT. Summit Lake is visible along with a number of peaks. L to R the big ones are Cowhorn Mountain, Sawtooth Mountain, Howlock Mountain, Mount Thielsen and Bailey Peak (2016-07-03). Photo by Ted Glick.
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Click on photo for original larger-size version.
From a July 2016 hike: Looking south from just 100 feet or so west of the summit. Good view of the south ridge climber's trail to the false summit (2016-07-03). Photo by Ted Glick.
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Click on photo for original larger-size version.
From a 2016 hike with experimental routing. I took the PCT from Rockpile lake, which I don't usually do. Compare to my TR's GPS track and you can see how circuitous this is. Then I descended via the southwest ridge, trying to bushwhack down to the Diamond Peak trail to take it back south to the Rockpile trail. Never found the DP trail and ended up bushwhacking all the way back down to the Rockpile trail. Do-able but not recommended. (2018-07-08). Photo by Ted Glick.
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