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Ascent of Paulina Peak on 2018-03-11

Climber: Connor McEntee

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, March 11, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Paulina Peak
    Location:USA-Oregon
    Elevation:7984 ft / 2433 m

Ascent Trip Report

If the goal is simply bagging the summit, winter is definitely not the time to do this one since there is a pretty decent access road all the way to the top. However, I was looking to get some skiing in, and Paulina seems like it would be a great touring objective. It is, and there are some great lines off the north side. The only downside is that it's a fairly popular snowmobile destination, so it's not a serene wilderness experience.

The snow line was down to the Sno-Park, so I was able to put my skis on at the gate. I saw on the Sno-Park map that there is a ski trail that largely parallels the the road up to the lake. I didn't look particularly hard, but I didn't see it from the gate. I would later find it when I crossed it but was glad that I didn't take it. It's not groomed and is really just a summer hiking trail. I saw enough blowdown on it that it would have made for a far more tedious route. Down low the snow was soft and wet. Even though I was able to take advantage of snowmobile tracks, it was still a couple tiring miles in on the approach. I did cut the corner using a minor groomed trail and trail breaking a short stretch through the trees.

This put me at the access road and the start of the summer trail up to the peak. The access road is not direct, but would be relatively easygoing to the summit. However, I decided to make things a little more interesting and ascend through the trees to the summit plateau. As luck would have it, I found old ski tracks that saved me from some route finding and trail breaking. The trees thin out higher up and the north face falls into view. It's very impressive covered in snow and there are even some moderate lines down couloirs. From the tracks, it's clear that some people do laps here. Near the top the grade mellows out and snowmobile tracks show up again. I guess some people play in the summit saddle. The summit itself has phenomenal 360 views of the Cascades and the expanse of central Oregon.

After a lengthy lunch, I locked my boots down and skied down the side I came up. I debated dropping off the north side, but it looked like it would put me a fair ways short of the road and require me to hoof it through another leg to get back to where I could ski to my car. The snow quality up high was great, and weaving through the trees was a lot of fun. About two thirds of the way down, the trees become so dense that I could barely fit through them. There may be a better line sticking closer to the ridge where the trees are hopefully more sparse. Avy danger was low and the terrain is both heavily treed and quite forgiving. After reaching the access road, I coasted down it. I though I'd be able to cruise back all the way to my car, but the road no longer matches the topo and puts out about 60 feet below the saddle. If I had known this, I would have skied through the trees when the road turns toward the lake. The lower road was getting so melty that gravity could not take me down as fast as I would have liked, but it beat the alternative.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2575 ft / 784 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2575 ft / 784 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.4 mi / 18.3 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Skis, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2419 ft / 737 m
    Distance:5.4 mi / 8.7 km
    Route:NW Ridge
    Start Trailhead:10 Mile Sno-Park  5565 ft / 1696 m
    Time:2 Hours 22 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2575 ft / 784 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2419 ft / 737 m; Extra: 156 ft / 47m
    Gain on way out:156 ft / 47 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Route:NW Ridge
    End Trailhead:10 Mile Sno-Park  5565 ft / 1696 m
    Time:1 Hours 16 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Connor McEntee
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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.

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