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[TR] Jefferson - Jeff Park Glacier (attempt) 7/15/2011

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Trip: Jefferson - Jeff Park Glacier (attempt)


Date: 7/15/2011


Trip Report:

Chris and I attempted Jeff Park Glacier Thu-Fri. While the conditions were generally great, we didn't like the looks of things higher up once it started warming up on Friday AM. We bailed from around 9400 ft.


We set out late in the afternoon from PDX on Thursday, driving through intermittent rain. There is still a lot of snow on the approach, and at Jeff Park. Given our late start, we were a bit worried about having to search in the dark for snow-free ground to camp. We found a bare patch a bit lower down close to a stream, and decided to bivy there. The upper mountain was still enclosed in stormy clouds:



There was supposed to a window of good weather on Friday AM. We walked around a bit, but were not able to ascertain exactly where we were located with respect to the base of Jeff Park Glacier, given how the mountain was still enclosed in clouds. The bivy was cozy, and it got cold (close to freezing) overnight - a good sign for us.



The promised good weather window did come next morning, and we cramponed up on firm snow.



We had seen one more vehicle at the trailhead when we left, and we passed a BD tent higher up on the ridge near the entry to Jeff Park glacier. Conditions looked great, although it had started to warm up a bit. As we roped up and made our way up Jeff Park glacier, we saw the team of three making their way down the upper glacier:



This team of three had made their way up to the ridge earlier in the AM. The bergschrund was apparently passable through a snowbridge. They found the upper knife-edge ridge fairly rimed up, and hence were bailing. Not a good sign, but we kept making upward progress. As we got close to the shrund, we could see and hear some snow and ice coming down the gully left of Mohler's tooth - the sun was starting to do some damage up there. We felt fairly discouraged, and decided that we'll cut left and up at that point to gain the upper North ridge instead. As we gained the ridge, we were greeted by a slew of rocks tumbling down! Upper portion of the ridge looked like a heap of kitty litter plastered together with fast-melting snow:



We didn't like the look of things. Looking to the North, we could see signs of moisture moving in. Mt Hood is hidden behind the clouds to the left of the gendarme in this picture:



Looking at the gendarme and the lower North ridge reminded us of what Oregon High had to say about the rock quality on the ridge - something along the line of "the rocks are quite big, but it is often not sure what is holding them all in place!" :shock:


As we made out way out, we could see the clouds and wind picking up high above.



We were happy to not be suffering higher up. Instead, we had a relaxing soak in the hot springs on Clackamas river on the way back home. Nice way to end some good times with Chris in the 'pine!











Gear Notes:

Two tools each, glacier gear (used), small alpine rack (not used).


Approach Notes:

Lots of snow, but super easy to follow the trail.

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Nice try, still looks like a good day in the mountains. I have an affinity for that route. I consider it my first real mt climb. Next time Bala and Chris.

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me and my buddy heard you guys on the knife edged traverse as we where finishing up the west rib, reckoned you had passed the toughest parts but obviously we didnt know what the climbing was like. conditions on the summit pinnacle where really quite nice. Not much rock fall until a mcmansion sized block fell off below the knife edged ridge as we descended.

Edited by sdizzle25

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It was definitely a great day in the hills and another fine trip with Bala. From the experience on our descent, it would have been "interesting" coming down in the timeframe we were creating- snow was getting soft, clouds moving in.


I was discouraged when the party of three came down and told us of the falling cookies but I really thought I had a winning plan- head for the north ridge. I hadn't been on it before but we were just shy of a perfect place to access it. If it's a ridge, we shouldn't have crap raining down on us right?


Well, you don't climb the ridge proper and that which isn't covered with snow is a pile of kitty litter with rocks of all sizes waiting for a little activation energy. That which WAS covered with snow had already been baking for a number of hours and was extremely soft. I didn't feel like bombarding Bala with rocks or my falling body so we didn't get much further beyond the left skyline of Bala's 4th pic.


All in all, it was still a great day in the mountains. It's a great route and I too consider it my first real alpine climb. The snowpack is probably equal to when I first climbed the route in early June of 2003- it seems like there's a LOT of snow left in there right now. None of the lakes in the park were opened up yet and virtually all the ground was still covered with snow- we were pleasantly surprised to find a bare ground bivy adjacent to running water though!


Great route, great times, going to give it a little more time and head back again later.


Thanks again Bala!

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We were the party of 3 coming down around 9am. We thought you guys were crazy for going up there so late in the day! We turned around at about 9,900' after seeing how rimed the Mohler and summit ridge were. Figured it would take too long and put us back at the snow bridge and rockfall chute right around sunny-slush o'clock. Might have attempted if we knew of a better descent to the Russel maybe... ended up down-climbing instead. Amazing how much snow is still up there. We thought about going up the north ridge too, were stoked watching you guys from the base. Glad you got back safe.



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