Ascent of Twin Peaks on 2013-08-31

Climber: Mark Smith

Others in Party:Austin Smith <3646>
Doug McGinnis
Date:Saturday, August 31, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Twin Peaks
    Elevation:9673 ft / 2948 m

Ascent Trip Report

From the TH, walk 500' south to an obvious but unmarked trail teeing off to the west. Follow this unpleasantly steep trail toward Legore Lake. Along the way is a 30' deep (horizontal) prospect mine as marked on the USGS topo. To reach the mine look for path heading uphill on the northeast side of a seasonal creek where is crosses the main trail. Soon after the mine, the main trail passes the remains of a prospector's cabin and reaches a rocky meadow. From here an impressive white granite scree and boulder field looms ahead between rocky cliffs. The scree is easier than it looks. Soon after exiting the scree, look for a trail on the left that traverses the north side of a ridge beyond which is Legore Lake, Oregon's highest true lake. Descend the obvious path to the lake, crossing either at its shore or about 200 yards east just above a sharp drop-off. From here a faint climber's trail follows a ridge southwest and then west. The summit spire is now obvious to the south.

I found the summit spire to be shorter and easier climbing, yet more dangerous and confounding than expected. From the ridge, the summit is probably only 40 vertical feet high. The route to the top is a two-part process. First, diagonal up and left to gain the ridge. Second, ascend a 10 foot high summit horn. The climb to the ridge involves very easy climbing--probably only 3rd class moves--but on horrendously chunky rock mixed with a lot of dirt and facing a fall you can't afford to take. Rating: 4th Class. I saw one 3/4" wide slot of solid enough rock that I would have been willing to place a cam if I had had one. Also, you pass above an outcropping that would catch a rope should you fall. At the ridge is a decent stance from which you can peer over to the west and contemplate the final moves to the south. The final 10 feet involve easy but steep moves on much better, but still very poor, rock. The concern is whether one could save a fall on this steeper section if a hold broke. I set an "anchor" (using the loosest sense of the term) by slinging an upside-down horn on the vertical west side and draping the runner over the ridge, along with two very dubious slung blocks on the ridge and east face. A sling of 8 or 10 feet in length would allow for slinging a somewhat solid segment of the ridge. The summit is not solid and quite small. Since I was unwilling to do more than touch the top, I belayed the others in the party to my stance and let them pass me "on lead" to the top, then belayed them back to the ground one at a time before I proceeded to lead off of the "anchor" to make a summit touch. The difficulty of the 40' summit spire is no more than 5.0, if that, and down-climbing does not present any more difficulty than would be expected on such poor rock. Rappelling off isn't really an option unless you sling the entire summit horn. A rope is valuable even for the experienced. Rock shoes might we worth the weight for anyone not top-roped.

Edit: There is some speculation that part of the summit block may have fallen off prior to this ascent. Prior descriptions of climbing up the summit block may describe moves that no longer exist.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4743 ft / 1445 m
    Total Elevation Loss:150 ft / 45 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4743 ft / 1445 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4593 ft / 1400 m; Extra: 150 ft / 45m
    Loss on way in:150 ft / 45 m
    Route:Legore Lake Trail
    Start Trailhead:Hurricane Trailhead  5080 ft / 1548 m
Descent Statistics

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