Tipsoo Peak and Howlock Mountain - August 11, 2007
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

The trail to Tipsoo Peak is a classic for the views. The hike itself is not all that much, a mild 3 miles from the trailhead to the peak But, oh the things you can see. Below Tipsoo is a pumice plain sweeping up to a jagged ridge with jagged Howlock right behind, and Mt Thielsen is also quite prominent. Look more westerly and you have Diamond Lake with Mt Bailey. Look north and you have the beginning of the North Umpqua at Maidu Lake, beyond that is massive Diamond Peak with Sawtooth and Cowhorn Mtns right below. Just unbelievable.

The Hardy Hikers Club (6 of us) cut off of Tipsoo and headed trailless down into the pumice plain. What goes down must go up and we went up an incredibly steep, rocky slope. At the top of the slope one had magnificent views of Howlock Mtn and Ray was up there waiting for us as he went directly without going to Tipsoo. Gaoying and myself continued on through whitebark pine scrub to an open ridge where we had unimpeded views of Howlock. The scene was too large for my camera so I took panorama sequences and a composite of Howlock itself. 

We descended at a more eastern route so we could hook up with the PCT. The going was steep, rocky and slippery due to the pumice. It was like deja vu all over again as it was a repeat of last week's Mt. Jefferson experience. From the PCT 6 of us went about a mile and a half to an overlook sited precariously atop a lava cliff. From there it was retracing our steps to the point where a prescient Ray had flagged a route back to the Tipsoo Peak trailhead, saving us the bother of using our compasses.

I think we got in the vicinity of 11 miles hiked. We bagged two peaks, walked through forest, pumice, scree, and stood on a cliff; in a word: diversity!


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