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August 19, 2013 NS7P activation of Tidbits Mountain

NS7P's picture
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On August 19 I activated Tidbits Mountain, W7O/CM-089 - or so I thought. First let me tell you about the hike, because it’s a nice trek.


To find the summit, take Hwy 126 east from Springfield for about 44 miles.  Near milepost 44, turn left on NF15 toward Blue River Reservoir. After 4.8 miles, the pavement ends. Turn slightly left here onto NF1509.  Follow this road for 8.4 miles. The road up is rocky but well maintained. Park at the wide area across from the steep uphill on NF877.  Hike up that steep road.  Alternatively, if you have a 4WD vehicle, drive up the road 0.2 miles to another parking area, then hike from there.  The hike is very enjoyable, 2.2 (or 2.0) miles each way with a 1100 to 1350’ (depending on how far your car gets you) climb on a well maintained trail that goes through old growth forest with 4 to 6’ diameter Doug-firs and across talus slopes with calling pikas.  It is moderately strenuous with good documentation. There are many wildflowers, too.  


Tidbits had an old lookout that is now just a concrete pad and downed wooden steps. This is on top of a rock pinnacle. I had a productive “activation” with two dozen plus chasers.  


Here is where the story gets confusing. After the activation, I found out that I had not been on the taller pinnacle. Tidbits has a side (eastern) spire that is about 1000 horizontal feet from the main mountain. The mountain and the directions to it are well documented.


Here is a link to the NFS website description:


The SummitPost site describes the two pinnacles, stating that the old lookout was built on the higher of the two:


Sullivan’s site and guide book describes the hike to the 5185’ ASL summit.  His book features a picture of the other spire that is captioned “View from Tidbits Mountain.”  His drawn map shows the eastern spire as being lower than the western Tidbits Mountain pinnacle:


Clearly, the historically documented Tidbits Mountain is the 5185’ western pinnacle.  However, The Oregon ARM and USGS topo map (neither of which I consulted before the activation) show the eastern spire as being 5220’ ASL.  This eastern spire does not appear to be climbable without advanced technical skills.  I ran into another hiker up there who said that he didn’t know of a trail to the eastern spire, and that it was not climbable as far as he knew.  The problem is that from the SOTA standpoint, the eastern spire is the true summit.  We consulted with the MT on this too.


Therefore, I have to erase the activation that I thought that I had done on 8/19/2013; you should remove this 4 point summit from your log if you chased me that day.  I am sorry about this, but that’s the way it is.


The hike remains as a great way to spend some time in the mountains.  If you are sure that you have the technical skills to tackle the eastern spire, you could try an activation on it. However, keep safety first in any decision you make on this summit.



N7UN's picture

The core issues....

Sorry Phil that we couldn't use the historical summit but when considering the facts of measured elevation comparison between the east and west peaks, the east won out, regardless of the historical/anecdotal data about the west peak.  And much of the peak elevation data is getting more accurate with the use of laser satellite measurements (LIDAR).

Secondly, SOTA does not take into account the 'difficulty' of reaching a summit regardless of the metric used. The qualification of a summit is first elevation and then prominence.  There is no accounting for the 'challenge' associated with getting to the summit.  Someday, someone with the climbing skills will come along and activate even the most challenging climbs.

Thanks for the update and setting the example of "doing the right thing" by disqualifying your activation of Tidbits.

73, Guy/N7UN (aka nS0TA) W7O Assoc. Mgr.



NS7P's picture

Thanks, Guy.  I hated to do

Thanks, Guy.  I hated to do it, but it was the right thing to do.  I hope someone does climb and activate it someday.  It is a great hike. 


If I get out there again, I may look for how high one could safely climb without ropes, etc.  Maybe this one would qualify for an activation zone exception.  I'm in no hurry - there are lots of other summits to climb.


We have moved solidly into the rainy season here. Winter is coming to the mountains.  Crater Lake got about 8" of snow.  I guess I am stuck with 1 and 2 pointers for the next 8 or 9 months. Hi Hi!  Christina and I are considering getting an SUV next year to help us in the mountains.  Hope you are well.



Phil, NS7P

Anonymous's picture

Activation zone


That does indeed look like a serious climb to reach the summit, but, how tall is that pinnicle? Could you get to within 25 metres vertically of the top which would put you in the activation zone?

Colin G8TMV

NS7P's picture

Colin, It looks like it's 60


It looks like it's 60 to 70 meters high, and getting to within 25 meterd looks like more than a hike.  If I get back there, I will explore that possibility.


Phil, NS7P