Non-technical mountain climbs are awesome. It combines the demanding nature of hiking up a mountain with the relative ease of not needing any special equipment like crampons or ice axes, or dealing with snow and ice. Oregon’s Saddle Mountain also offers amazing views that span from the Pacific Ocean in the west to Mount Hood, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens in the east. On a clear day, one can prepare their mind to be blow upon reaching the summit.
Saddle Mountain is not the most difficult non-technical climb in Oregon (Mt. Defiance is, remember?), nor is it the only climb in the Coast Range . But it is very accessible, located about 60 miles west of Portland on Highway 26. A premier destination to hike with visiting friends, or use as a training opportunity, hauling a heavy-loaded backpack to the top.
The trail up is somewhat demanding, starting out among aspens and shrubs near the trailhead, eventually climbing out of the woods onto exposed slopes of the mountain. Installed railings and a wire grate dug into the trail surface in select spots offer needed assurance of steady footing, as the sandy and rocky trail can be a bit unsteady.
While the uphill nature of this hike has some steep climbs, the relatively short distance makes it very doable. Even the little dog made it up with us. A few times I had to carry her over the wire grate, but what are you going to do – tiny paws are sensitive to that sort of thing. Bringing a snack and some water is probably a good idea – the summit is a choice spot for a proper lunch.
Barb even made it up in Karhu Fast road runners. That is what a clear, sunny and warm day is like in Oregon. Of course, the winter is coming, and we will have to drape ourselves in warmer, waterproof threads and sturdier shoes. However, neither Barb, nor I, along with the little dog are shaken by these prospects. Bring on snowshoeing and camping in the snow!
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Barb is @wildlifesangria