Skiing the Cascade Volcanoes
        Amar Andalkar's Ski Mountaineering and Climbing Site
Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

Table of Contents | Introduction | Ratings | WebCams | Bibliography | Highest Volcanoes | Snowfall & Snowdepth | Monthly Chart | Conifers | Compare | Distance | Sun Chart
  Lassen Peak
  Mount Shasta
  Medicine Lake Volcano
  Mount McLoughlin
  Pelican Butte
  Crater Lake
  Mount Bailey
  Mount Thielsen
  Diamond Peak
  Newberry Volcano
  Mount Bachelor
  Broken Top
  Three Sisters
  Mount Washington
  Three Fingered Jack
  Mount Jefferson
  Mount Hood
  Mount Saint Helens
  Mount Adams
  Goat Rocks
  Mount Rainier
  Glacier Peak
  Mount Baker
  Mount Garibaldi
  Mount Cayley
  Mount Meager

| Eastern view of Mount Bailey from Mount Thielsen in June,
looking across Diamond Lake; the Northeast Face is at right,
with the East Bowl and 1968 avalanche path at left
(photo by Amar Andalkar)   <click to enlarge>

Mount Bailey
    8368 ft (2551 m) .
Location: Cascade Range, southern Oregon,
75 miles (110 km) NW of Klamath Falls
Lat / Long: 43.2° N, 122.2° W
Volcanic Type: Shield volcano
Volcanic Status: Dormant
First Ascent: Unknown, Native American
First Ski Descent:
Skiable Vertical: 3200 ft (1000 m)
Lift Served Vertical:   3200 ft (1000 m) via snowcat (Nov-April)
Timberline: 7000-7500 ft (2150-2300 m)
Administration: Umpqua National Forest
Protection Status:   none
User Fees: Northwest Forest Pass required for parking
(Sno-Park Permit from November-April)

Directly across the blue waters of Diamond Lake from the shapely spire of Mount Thielsen lies the squat, rounded dome of Mount Bailey. Like Thielsen, Bailey is a shield volcano, but its relative youth means that the forces of glacial erosion have not completely erased its original profile. Nevertheless, massive Ice Age glacial cirques have been gouged into the east and west faces, removing the summit crater and revealing a series of lava pinnacles along the narrow summit ridge separating the cirques. A small, youthful-looking crater can still be found just south of the summit ridge, providing an excellent mini terrain-park within its steep bowl-shaped confines. Bailey's position a few miles west of the Cascade crest results in large snowfalls, although in most years it does not approach the 700-inch (18 m) snowfalls sometimes claimed. A snowcat-skiing operation serves the entire mountain from Diamond Lake resort during the winter and early spring, providing access and avalanche control during the prime powder season. However, human-powered skiers may find it best to wait for mid-to-late spring, since winter access involves several miles of extra travel over snowcovered roads from the nearest plowed highways.

Route Ratings Starting
Quality Effort Ascent Descent
Summit Ski Mountaineering Routes:  
Southeast Ridge (Summit Trail)
  (spring access)

5200 ft
(1600 m)
3200 ft
(1000 m)
10 miles
(16 km)
The simplest year-round access to Mount Bailey is from the southeast side, where a trail ascends from near Diamond lake to the summit. This route is generally quite moderate, and the lower portions are a marked cross-country ski route in winter. The upper portions of the route contour along the nearly-level summit ridge for almost a mile, making it somewhat less than ideal for snowboarders. In spring, access begins from the Mount Bailey trailhead, but in winter roads are plowed only as far as Three Lakes Snow Park, adding several miles to the trip. From this direction it is also feasible to descend the South Bowl directly back towards the road from the snow park, providing a much steeper descent. In late spring and early summer, an unmaintained 4WD road allows very short access, joining the summit trail above 6000 ft and making it an easy half-day trip.
(See my upcoming ski trip report from July 2000.)
  (winter access from Three Lakes)
5400 ft
(1650 m)
3000 ft
(900 m)
13 miles
(21 km)
  (late spring 4WD access)
6000 ft
(1800 m)
2400 ft
(750 m)
5 miles
(8 km)
South Bowl
  (via summit trail, winter access)

5400 ft
(1650 m)
3000 ft
(900 m)
13 miles
(21 km)
East (Avalanche) Bowl
  (via summit trail, spring access)

5200 ft
(1600 m)
3200 ft
(1000 m)
11 miles
(18 km)
The finest ski terrain on Mount Bailey is found on the east and northeast sides. The most prominent feature seen on Bailey from Diamond Lake is the large cirque and avalanche path of the East Bowl. This leeward slope becomes heavily wind-loaded with snow, and in the 1960s a mammoth avalanche ran from the summit ridge over 1.5 miles all the way down to 6000 ft, clearing a 200-yard wide swath through the forest. In stable spring conditions, the steep upper slopes of cirque provide a variety of choices for dropping into the bowl from the pinnacled summit ridge. Just north of the bowl is the gentler, gladed East Ridge, which is can be reached directly through the woods from the west side of Diamond Lake and leads straight to the true summit. North of the ridge the summit dome rolls away sharply into a series of very steep gullies which lead to the imposing Northeast and North Faces. These provide by far the steepest terrain on Bailey, along with high avalanche hazard even into spring. In addition, depending on the ascent route a lengthy traverse may be required to return to the trailhead.
East Ridge
  (from Diamond Lake, spring access)

7 miles
(11 km)
North / Northeast Face
  (from Diamond Lake, spring access)

8 miles
(13 km)
Northwest Ridge
  (from the west, spring access)

5800 ft
(1750 m)
2500 ft
(800 m)
6 miles
(10 km)
The west side of Bailey is quite symmetrical with the east, with a large glacial cirque (the West Bowl) flanked on the north by a gladed ridge (the Northwest Ridge). The terrain on this side is somewhat gentler than the east side, and its windward aspect results in less snow loading and avalanche hazard. In winter and early spring, access is very long from the Three Lakes Snow Park, but in late spring when the road along the west side is melted out it provides the shortest and most direct access to the summit. Old signs along the road still point to the old west side summit trail, which is unmaintained and no longer marked on USGS or Forest Service maps.
West Bowl
  (from the west, spring access)

5 miles
(8 km)

Upcoming additions: Topographic map showing ski routes.

| The East Bowl of Mt Bailey seen from across Diamond Lake;
the gladed East Ridge descends down and right from the summit,
with the Northeast Face just beyond the right skyline
(photo by Amar Andalkar) <click to enlarge>

| The Northeast Face of Mt Bailey seen from across Diamond Lake;
the Southeast and East Ridges run left from the summit,
with the East Bowl just out of sight in between them
(photo by Amar Andalkar) <click to enlarge>

Useful Web Links:

Umpqua National Forest: Home Page
Umpqua National Forest: Diamond Lake Trail report
National Weather Service Office: Medford, OR
National Weather Service: South Central Oregon Cascades Zone Forecast (alternate link)
The Weather Channel: Crater Lake National Park, OR, Forecast
Mount Bailey Snowcat Skiing
Mount Bailey Snowcat Skiing: Existing Runs on Mount Bailey
USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory: Mount Bailey
Deschutes National Forest: Oregon Volcanoes: Mount Bailey

List of Guidebooks:  (detailed references on the bibliography page)

Cross Country Ski Routes in Oregon Summit trail / east side access (skiing info)
Oregon Descents East / West faces (skiing info)
100 Hikes in Oregon Summit trail (hiking info)

List of Maps:

Map Series Scale Topo? Map Names Year Notes
USGS 7.5-minute 1:24,000 Yes, 40 ft Diamond Lake
Pumice Desert West
Garwood Butte
First map covers nearly everything, except trailheads from
  the southeast and west are just off the edge
US Forest Service 1:126,720 No Umpqua National Forest 1995 Useful for forest road info, although several roads shown
  on USGS maps have been "erased" from this map

More photos, routes, links, references, etc. coming soon...
Please contact me with any suggestions, additions, or corrections.

Previous Page (Crater Lake) | Mount Bailey | Next Page (Mount Thielsen)
Table of Contents | Introduction | Ratings | WebCams | Bibliography | Highest Volcanoes | Snowfall & Snowdepth | Monthly Chart | Conifers | Compare | Distance | Sun Chart
Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

Amar Andalkar   Seattle, WA, USA   <About the Author / Contact Me>
All material on this website is ©1997-2024 by Amar Andalkar unless otherwise noted.
Page content last modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2003
PHP script last modified: Tuesday, February 4, 2020