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I am looking at climbing Jefferson Park Glacier and was wondering what any of you have used for the descent. I know one of the guide books says North Milk Creek Cirque is good, but I was wondering if descending the route (J.P.G.) is feasible?

Also, are there any special considerations that need to be looked at for this route?



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You can certainly descend the JPG. And if it is well within your abilites and the conditions are good (particularly on the rock) it would be much faster than any other option.

I climbed the JPG last spring and descended the Whitewater Glacier. The descent was technically easy, but very long. Had there been less snow on the rock, I would have voted for reversing the route.

Some pics here (looking back I never did write a TR):

Jefferson Park Glacier

Special considerations: In early season the easiest route up the summit pyramid is not as described in Oregon High. Use the west gully instead. I'd call the knife-edge ridge 4th class. Pro was mostly slung blocks. If you have a 60m rope you can do it in one long traversing pitch. We used one screw for a belay pitch up the final headwall of the JPG. If you do a lot of belaying, expect a long day. We were 18 hours RT from camp at 6500' and made it back to the car around Midnight.

It is a great route, IMHO.

[ 02-05-2002: Message edited by: CascadeClimber ]

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I did not make it last time I went b/c of the ridge being plastered with rhime ice. Probably we should've explored the ridge a bit more tho. We descended the headwall from the ridge but did so under totally frozen conditions. On climber's right there is a big butress (Smith Rock or something?). We climbed a short section of WI next to the butress but I hear that you shouldn't go near that thing when its not frozen b/c of the rockfall. There is a big 'shrund across the headwall running from one butress over to a tower. If you have to cross that 'shrund near the rock you should think about the temps when you return. I think the Milk Creek return would be a lot faster than the way Loren went but a bit more technical too. Loren mentioned a rap station at the end of the rocky part of the ridge that would let you down onto the backside of the ridge which would be the fastest way down if reversing the route was not feasable. I agree with Loren, this route (and the mountain) are well worth the trip.

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Ah, yes, I'd forgotten about that rap station. That's why I write TRs. It was at the point that we regained the crest of the ridge, not of the best quality, and led down into the depths of the north face.

There is also a rap station in the saddle at the top of the west gully (near the summit). Though downclimbing is possible, I opted to rap and left a double-length spectra runner to augment what was already there.

We found the same short bit of moderate water ice. The one screw we used was placed in the schrund to protect it.

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You're going to earn it if you summit this time of year via that route. It's a long trip in there from hwy 22 and the route is one of the more time-consuming ones in OR (but one of the best). There is no convenient way off the mountain. I simply don't have the patience for WW glacier. Following the ridge around Smith Rock down around the head of Russell G. is reasonably short, or descend Milk Creek routes if they are well-covered (there was a classic Mazama-related accident there last year due to rockfall). This requires a light bivy and carryover though. Mohler Tooth should be solid right now; last time I had to work way around it to avoid continuous rockfall. JP is a possible descent, but still slow and round-about. Last time I was there was last Sept. There were two bergschrunds and both were enormous. We started from WW TH at 1am and were back there late by headlamp, and we were hauling. I've approached via WW/russell creek drainages when snow-covered early season before, just avoid getting stuck below several waterfalls and cliffs. I don't know if I would recommend following WW trail this time of year high up on the ridge. Be careful of small avalanche terrain traps in a few creek drainages if you drop down. You'll need several days of solid weather, obviously.

I'd save it for the Spring/early Summer, but I'm a wuss too. [laf]


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