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Mountain_Shots

[TR] Mt. Jefferson - Jefferson Park Glacier 6/27/2007

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Trip: Mt. Jefferson - Jefferson Park Glacier

 

Date: 6/27/2007

 

Trip Report:

Putting two photographers on a climb together can slow the pace a tad. We pushed the climb ahead a day to miss the weather coming in, and decided to camp high at the foot of Jefferson Glacier above tree line to get an early start. Left camp 1:30 A.M. and intended to cross the schrund climbers left but found no easy way to cross at the rock. The rock wall itself looked unclimbeable and the snow was too soft to hold tools. We found a snow bridge less than a rope length away, cut a few steps, set some pickets, and were above the schrund. The Knife Edge Ridge was pure delight. Mike G. led most of the ridge placing a nut or hex when needed. We followed it along the crest the entire way, gaining the north ridge to the summit. We followed the ramp like section of the summit block traversing up and South. The most difficult part of the climb was the last 20 feet to the summit. The consolidated rime was soft and would not hold a tool well. I did get into some solid ice when chopping out a step which took a screw. Along with a picket placed a few feet below, I made the move above the gear through less than ideal tool placments, and with a few dicy moves, was on the summit. Two raps later, we were heading towards the Red Saddle. Dropped South, then East and North towards the WhiteWater Glacier. With the business behind us, we stopped to photograph often and set a pace that would get us to camp before dark. The clouds and lighting were great and our cameras were kept busy. The climb took 19 hours, I told you we weren't out to set any speed records. The aspects of this mixed alpine route made it my favorite Oregon climb.

 

Gear Notes:

2 pickets each

2 ice screws

small rack of nuts and hexes

slings, doubles, webbing.

1 ice axe and 1 ice tool each

1 alpine rope

 

Approach Notes:

The trail to Jefferson Park was free of snow and logs for the most part. Just as we reached the park, there were several drifts on the trail and the park itself is covered with lots of snow. Russel was the only lake I saw still frozen. The climb to high camp was mainly on snow.

 

1_Jefferson_Park_Glacier_Schrund1.jpg

Jefferson Park Glacier Schrund

 

2_Snow_Bridge_at_schrund1.jpg

Snow Bridge at Shrund

 

3_Topping_out_at_schrund1.jpg

Topping out at the Schrund

 

4_First_lead_on_Knife_Back_Ridge1.jpg

First lead on Knife Edge Ridge

 

5_Last_and_most_impressive_section_of_K_B_R_1.jpg

Last and Most impressive section of the ridge

 

6_Nearing_the_last_of_the_ridge1.jpg

Nearing the last of the ridge

 

7_With_the_Mohler_Tooth_in_distance_working_along_the_North_Ridge1.jpg

With the Mohler Tooth in the distance working along the North Ridge

 

8_This_route_is_the_essence_of_alpine_mountaineering_in_Oregon1.jpg

This route is the essence of alpine mountaineering.

 

9_A_belay_from_the_summit_this_was_the_crux_of_our_climb1.jpg

A belay from the summit, this was the crux of our climb

 

10_Mt_Jefferson_summit_pinnacle1.jpg

Mt. Jefferson Summit Pinnacle

 

 

 

Edited by Mountain_Shots

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Thought I'd post a few more photos for y'all. This route really is a gem, I highly recommend it for anyone who is up for the challenge. It has a nice mix of many disciplines; glacier, rock, snow, ice, ridges, routefinding, mellow, intense, remote... nice. Doing the circumnavigation of the mountain was a great way to see all sides of it, and not terribly tiring. It would have taken much more mental effort to descend the route, I think, and we found all kinds of unique things on the east side. We didn't see a soul on the mountain in three days. I recommend it.

 

DSC9837_2.jpg

Brent working his way over to the snow bridge in the middle of the berg.

 

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Brent high on the Jefferson Park Glacier, nearing the col.

 

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A good view of the right side of the bergshrund. The snow bridge over there should be there for a little while longer, although it's definitely steeper over there! We crossed probably just off the bottom of the photo. Not sure how long our spot will last...

 

DSC9935.jpg

North ridge looking at summit pinnacle.

 

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Looking straight down the east side from the summit to the Whitewater Glacier. Easy walking once you're down there.

 

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Rock tracks on the Whitewater Glacier. Cool.

 

DSC9755_2.jpg

Looking up at Smith Rock (right side of Jeff Park Glacier)

 

DSC9759_2.jpg

Enjoying the sunset over the western Cascades...

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Amazing photos! My favorite is the one of the knife edge crest! Awesome! :tup:

 

I haven't been on that part of Jefferson, but that pic sure doesn't look like Oregon "alpine" rock (and that's a good thing)...

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Yeah, the rock in that photo actually looks pretty good. But it's not. Most of the knife edge ridge is held together by... I'm not sure what. Desire?

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Great report, great photos. I was up there yesterday (july 3) though, and it's changed a lot. (I'd considered a few options and this was rising to the top of the list anyway, before this report. So my trip wasn't based on this trip report, although it did add some inspiration.)

 

It looks like this report only covers one bergshrund, there are really two. I'm guessing the first (lower) one was covered or bridged on June 27. It isn't now.

 

I got to the lip of the first bergshrund, which is about a foot or two wide with the lower side where you climbed up dropping off one way and holes in the sinking snowcover on the other. Even if you dared to cross the remaining snow the uphill side is a wall of ice.

 

This is typical, and usually the way around is on the left. But making an end-run on that side puts you under a rockfall path that is quite active right now. I witnessed quite a few rocks fly down that corridor, moving fast and bouncing. From fist size to torso size. I thought about it a little bit, but not too seriously given the risk, and then I went back down the glacier.

 

The right side of the lower bergshrund is a small icefall. If you could find a safe way to pass under it you could climb up the right margin but it's steep and exposed to some rockfall also, although not as active as the left end.

 

Just a heads up for anyone thinking about it. Glad you guys found it in the condition you did, it really is a great route. Perhaps one of the finest in the Oregon Cascades. It's often quite possible in the fall, around Sept. The rockfall you need to cross under becomes less active and the end-run is often more straightforward and therefore quicker. It's often necessary to then make an endrun around the right end of the upper schrund, which might involve weaving through some blocks of ice that sit above the little icefall.

 

Jim

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We ascended climber's left of the lower bergschrund. We heard rockfall from the area above us while in camp but had no rocks falling while climbing the glacier, 1:30am - 4:00am. The glacier was surprising firm considering a light or no freeze the night of the climb. There was plenty of room to skirt the lower 'schrund before making the traverse to the upper Bergschrund. We were all smiles the route was in and the weather was perfect.

 

JPG.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mountain_Shots

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The area on the left looks a lot whiter in your photo than it did yesterday, the warming must be causing a lot more rockfall. The area where you rounded the first shrund is covered with rocks, and a lot of the approach line you took up the left side is also littered with rock. Some from the left side, some coming all the way down from straight above.

 

The refreeze had been marginal and even at dawn there was a layer of enough wet snow to ball up on crampons. I got a late start, but there was rockfall even before dawn. I heard a large one while hiking in, although it may not have been in that spot.

 

Looks like you hit it at a great time.

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This is typical, and usually the way around is on the left. But making an end-run on that side puts you under a rockfall path that is quite active right now. I witnessed quite a few rocks fly down that corridor, moving fast and bouncing. From fist size to torso size. I thought about it a little bit, but not too seriously given the risk, and then I went back down the glacier.

 

:tup: You probably made the right decision, at least in my mind... I have two friends who almost got wiped out by rockfall from that same place on seperate occasions. One ended up playing dodgeball with a bunch of microwaves that had bracketed him, the other on a different trip felt that the conditions weren't good for traversing below the gully and was right cause 15 minutes after heading down a huge rockslide cut loose that literally obliterated where he would have been, and even filled up both bergschrunds with debris. I didn't see either of these happen, but on my trips up there smaller stuff coming down inspired some turbo traversing too.

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Best of luck and enjoy your trip! Be careful up there.

 

Post some pics and a report if you can (or at least let us know what conditions are like on this post). Thanks!

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Climbed to the summit yesterday (7/8/07). The snow bridge across the bergschrund is now completely gone. The entire schrund is open. We ended up climbing along the far right (west) side of the glacier and crossing the schrund below the rocky pinnacle to the west of the saddle. Not sure how much longer that crossing will be intact... with the hot weather approaching- probably no more than 1 more week.

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hey joel, how's the local mosquito & black fly population in the mt jeff area? thinking of backpacking in the general vicinity this weekend.

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5_Last_and_most_impressive_section_of_K_B_R_1.jpg

Last and Most impressive section of the ridge

 

6_Nearing_the_last_of_the_ridge1.jpg

Nearing the last of the ridge

 

Best route on Jeff. (dunno about this time of year though).

 

It looks like that rope has some pro there?! Or is it just wandering naturally?

 

I always figured that if one dude fell on the ridge, the other would have to jump off the other side, and it's bigtime exposure there b4 it eases as you can see further up.

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Dan, the mosquitos in Jeff Park are ridiculous right now! Of course the scenario is beautiful, but constantly having to swat mosquitos is a hassle. Once above Jeff Park, they weren't as bothersome, but still present. The California Tortoiseshell Butterflies are migrating over the summit ridge by the tens-of-thousands... surreal experience!

 

Billcoe, there are a some spots to place gear... few and far between, though. Psychological pro. more than anything. Best advice: Don't fall.

Knife_edge.jpg

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thanks - that's what I guessed. think I'll make other plans. the butterfly migration sounds pretty cool though!

 

congratulations on the summit!

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Best route on Jeff. (dunno about this time of year though).

 

It looks like that rope has some pro there?! Or is it just wandering naturally?

 

I always figured that if one dude fell on the ridge, the other would have to jump off the other side, and it's bigtime exposure there b4 it eases as you can see further up.

 

I did throw in a few pieces of pro along the knife edge ridge, probably about 8 or 10 of them altogether (a few nuts, a couple of hexes, a tri-cam, and a few slung blocks). The ridge was longer than I had expected, and we ended up breaking it into about 4 or 5 shorter pitches, averaging probably 2 pieces of pro per pitch. If I would have led much further on any of the pitches, communication would have been more difficult, rope drag would have increased, but most importantly, there wouldn't have been as many photo opps!

 

As for the pro, it wasn't too bad if you looked around a bit, but next time I will probably just leave the rack at home and bring several long slings to save weight. I had 3 or 4 of them, but felt like I should probably place some gear since I hauled all that metal up there. So it wasn't psychological pro, it was mostly obligatory pro.

 

I think you could actually protect the whole ridge fairly well with just slings and have it be pretty effective if you did manage to fall. I think it would be tough to fall there when it's dry, though, unless something broke loose or popped off, which is definitely a real possibility. I also ended up going back and forth across the knife edge (left and right) a few times, which acted like putting in another piece of pro each time I crossed the top of the ridge.

 

So all in all, a walk in the park. As long as you don't mind crumbling rock, extreme exposure and strong winds, all combined with high altitude. Oh, and the sun in your eyes, too. :crosseye:

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