October 23, 2011.
4 mi | 680′ ele. gain | 2.5 hr
Steins Pillar is a tall rock outcrop that towers above the forest in the Mill Creek Valley. I wanted to see this thing up close and personal and to explore more of the landscape in the Ochocos.
Right away, the hike leads through an expansive landscape with views of distant ridges. The views were somewhat obscured by smoke from the nearby prescribed burns. The Three Sisters poked their barely snowcapped heads above the forested ridgelines. My trail was rocky, dusty, and cut through pokey, yellow grass.
In a mere 20 minutes I had my first view of the pillar. Through the haze I could see its flat top above the trees. I reached the end of the developed trail and kept going. I walked all around the base of the pillar, looking for signs of climbing routes. There were shiny bolts, chalk marks and bits of old aid gear. It looked like fun!
I spent lots of time rambling around the pillar base and wandering about on the nearby rock outcrops that did not demand a climbing rope. I’ll have to come back another time to try and get up the more technical routes. No one else was out here, the scenery was beautiful, it felt like a nice place to take a second journey out to.
Eventually I retraced my steps to my dusty car for the ride back to reality. No worries, I’ll find myself out here again…