I flew from KUAO to KMFR and got there early. Flew right over the mountains to KMFR, Medford Oregon at about 0900. It was great!
Then i left there after getting 4 free cookies and two cups of coffee and conversation, and gas, at ($6.43) and some conversation with the semi-beautiful chick at the desk at Million Air in Medford (who let us use their BMW courtesy car).
Flying back I said, "come on baby, get up there!" as she struggled off the runway. I wanted to reach the mountains and be at 6,500 feet but could only get to about 4,500. I did three or four loops before I approached and notice that I was only rising about 100 feet a minute (two of us inside CTSW).
I then proceeded over the mountains only to be hit by some rough turbulence. I then had second thoughts and headed west and sought out the l-5 pass. I then went IFR (I follow roads) with the 1-5 in sight and made it through the mountains.
The rest of the trip from the mountains back to suburban Portland was uneventful and I did a straight in landing on runway 35.
Anyway, talking about altitude density is one thing-actually seeing the mountain in front of you and not slipping nicely below your feet is another thing!