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[TR] Mt. Jefferson - West Rib 6/24/2011

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Trip: Mt. Jefferson - West Rib


Date: 6/24/2011


Trip Report:

We decided to take advantage of what looked to be a nice drop in the freezing level on Thursday night and go take a peek at the West Rib of Jefferson. We didn't have high hopes of summiting but we were both itching to get out and decided we'd at least get up on the Rib and see how things were. Adam (thanks for all the photos) figured he'd at least get a couple good shots of the upper mountain and a nice ski down.




The clouds kept the sun and temps at bay for most of the approach and as promised the weather cooled substantially by the time we set up camp just above treeline.






We got to watch a spectacular sunset and tried to get a little sleep.




We left camp around 2:30 on firm snow. Things got better and more solid the higher we went but the rime formations we encountered lower on the rib were not confidence inspiring.


Looking down the route at our camp lost in the clouds far below us.



Sunrise caught us still enjoying the climbing and the view well below the summit pinnacle.








We got to the base of the pinnacle around 7:30 and made our way up the easy snow chutes on the northern side of the west face to gain the crest of the north ridge.




Not being impressed with the condition of the rime on the west face I was happy to find a little exposed rock on the east side of the crest mixed with what looked like solid enough snow and only one short section of rime leading up towards the summit. To my surprise the rock I encountered seemed quite solid and ate what little rock pro I had. There was however, no ice anywhere near Mt. Jefferson that was interested in taking any of the screws I carried up there. The crux of the ridge was having to excavate a path through a small rimey cornice that had formed directly over a smooth boulder on the east face but it really wasn't too bad. I cautiously crawled up over the final bulge on the ridge and walked onto the summit at around 8:45 somewhat astonished to be where I was. It was a little later than we had hoped to be up there so we wasted no time in getting on with things. Leaving the pro in place Adam made quick work of the ridge and joined me on the summit. He quickly snapped one of the best hero shots I've ever seen...




...and downclimbed the route reclipping the pro. The downclimbing went better than I was fearing and we were both soon back at the belay, admiring the North Ridge and planning a future trip.





On the way down, we paused a moment, to check out the Traverse I've heard so much about. The snow on the traverse looked fine but the rime hanging directly above it would have given me a bit of a pause, considering the rate at which it seemed to be melting all ready and it wasn't even in the sun yet.




The amount of chandelier ice falling off of the Pinnacle was tremendous and by the time we were out of it's fall line we were both noticing an increase in the size of the ice chunks hurling by on a regular basis.




The decent of the Rib went well enough but eventually the sun caught up with us and made for a slushy trudge down the final slopes for me but provided Adam with some excellent corn on the lower portion of the Rib where he had stashed his skis on the way up. We took our time getting out and paused for a while at the Milk Creek crossing to enjoy the excellent view as well as a couple of cold beverages we had stashed in the snow on the way in.




Overall this turned out to be one of the finest volcano climbs I've done. A super fun route with a solid partner and perfect weather. After all the asskickings Adam and I've had from the Oregon Cascades It's nice to have it all come together once in a while.




Gear Notes:

Never having been up there and not really knowing what we'd encounter we brought the kitchen sink. 60m of dental floss. Couple small hexes, couple small tricams, a lost arrow, and a nut. 3 screws and 3 pickets (ridiculous...I know). Way too much cordage, slings and webbing. Good training I guess. I pretty much sewed up the parts of the ridge that scared me with a lost arrow, the nut, everyone's favorite tricam and a single picket. It ended up being just a couple meters shy of 60. Trying to rappel off would have been a stupid, dangerous and time consuming adventure.


We both had one standard axe and a second technical hammer and found them quite useful on most of the route and indispensable on the one roped pitch. I almost took two technical tools and that would have been a big mistake.


Flotation was really nice to have in the afternoons but we could have lived without it.


:brew: at Milk Creek!




Approach Notes:

We pondered our options for quite awhile before deciding on how to gain the ridge at Milk Creek. In the end we opted to follow the north fork to the finger of snow that we could see. This was based on beta I found on CC and contrary to Oregon High. We found a blazed path on the north side of the gully complete with cairns and flagging tape. Seriously.

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Good to see you're getting some stoke in while the weather is good. Right on Kirk!

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Could you give a few more details on the summit conditions?

Were you knocking away rime ice to expose the rock underneath and so on or what?

Where did you park and hike in from?


This is a great TR and there is a fair chance I'll be going up on the weekend by the looks of everything.



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We parked at the Pamelia lake TH. (don't forget your permit)


The only rock we encountered had an easterly exposure on the crest of the ridge. I didn't have to do any digging to find the rock but much digging and hacking with the tools went on to clear a path over one of the three bulges we climbed directly on the crest. I'm sure that everything we climbed is now melted out.


The West face or "Standard" route up the Pinnacle was completely covered in snow and rime. NO rock showing through anywhere and the rime seemed to be decomposing quickly.


We soloed the lower easy ramps on the N side of the W face and climbed one mixed pitch directly up the crest of the ridge to the summit finding pro mostly with small rock gear. I place only one picket on the summit pitch but I think pickets would have worked too if you were willing to take the time to set them properly. Leave the screws at home.


I was really nervous about climbing the Pinnacle as I'd heard so many horror stories but in the end it turned out to actually be pretty mellow (that day) and LOTS of fun.


Don't have any idea what the recent weather is going to do to these conditions but I doubt they are going to be kind.


I would also recommend being prepared to downclimb the summit pinnacle unless things have changed dramatically up there. Rapping off was out of the question without resorting to a significant amount of shenanigans.


Have fun!

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Fantastic! Thanks much for all that. I was at smith rock this last weekend and could see that the eastern aspect of most of the pinnacle had been cleared of snow and rime. There's plenty of horror on the traverse bellow the pinnacle late summer. Layers of rock just seem to be peeling off the side of the mountain and are just waiting to dislodge at the hint of a footstep.


Anyways this is great stuff and I'm itching to get up there!


Good on ya man! Cheers!

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Nice job guys! Not exactly summer conditions up there right now, but for me that was a blessing. It did make the summit pinnacle pretty exciting to say the least!


I did the NW Face on Milk Creek Glacier (not the North Lobe) on 7/1. After seeing your photos I can tell you that conditions haven't changed in a week. It was neve from the start of the snowline all the way to about 9,500. The rest was rime, but surprisingly good rime.


The 20' of rock I had to climb on the East side was a bit scary, committing moves with huge drops down the East face. The rock is crap, but amazingly it all stayed in place!


If anyone is thinking about climbing this peak I would do it soon as conditions like this won't last. From my perspective this is the time to climb this peak since there is much less danger from rock fall and the chossy summit pinnacle is a fairly pleasant, albeit steep snow/rime ice climb.

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Surprised that things are still holding together up there as well as they are! Nice work Dan-e!

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There's plenty of horror on the traverse bellow the pinnacle late summer. Layers of rock just seem to be peeling off the side of the mountain and are just waiting to dislodge at the hint of a footstep.


Been there, done that, backed down at the red saddle on a solo trip a few years ago...


Wonder how many times that's happened at that time in that spot (lots)...


Nice TR and great job Kirk.



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gents I would really like to bag jeff with one or more subject matter aspects, please message me if interested in taking on a jefferson novice. If you are the teaching type, I am the learning type.

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