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[TR] Jefferson - South Ridge 9/20/2015

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Trip: Jefferson - South Ridge


Date: 9/20/2015


Trip Report:

A little late posting this, but better late than never I guess...





The guidebook indicated that the only hazards on this route were "dehydration and boredom." We laughed about that on our way up but... well, it's kind of true. The ridge literally goes on for miles and with only a few sections of terrain that allowed for fast movement, hours and hours went by as we slowly, deliberately gained elevation. I read another reference to this route being similar to the south side of South Sister, just longer and without a trail. The bonus for this trip was that we were climbing in the season's first snow so there were a few fun little snow fields to navigate through and when we reached the traverse, our psych was elevated when we realized that we would be traversing below the summit pinnacle on fresh, fairly consolidated snow, rather than on the sea of scree that was likely present prior to this week's precipitation.




We originally started from the Pamelia Lake TH, not being aware that the Limited Entry permits applied to people hiking through the area as well. Five miles up the trail and out of the Limited Entry area, we were stopped by a disgruntled ranger who threatened to fine us if we did not cooperate, turn around, and return to the trail head. We turned around, warned the climbers coming up the trail below us (who also had interpreted the rules like we did), and came up with a plan to ditch our packs in the woods, return to Pamelia Lake, drive to Woodpecker Ridge, and hike back in as far as we could that night. Suffice to say, starting the trek in over was an annoying addition to the day and ended up adding extra 10 miles to the day.




We had a photo of a short cut (part of the SW ridge?) up a drainage that avoided going all the way to Shale Lake that we were planning on taking, but after 30 minutes of bushwacking in the dark, we elected to continue hiking on the PCT. We hiked about 7 miles up the PCT from Woodpecker Ridge TH before finding a place to camp. The next morning, we woke at 545am, sorted out our packs, left one heavy pack and our camping equipment stashed in the woods, and set off up the trail. When we reached Shale Lake, the route to the climber's path became fairly unclear (review our track for the full extent to which we went meandering). We struggled a bit to find and stay on the trail, often losing it through grassy meadows and scree fields only to rediscover it later on. Once we reached the treeline, the objective was fairly obvious. Its basically just a long slog up the south ridge to the Red Saddle.




The snow on the traverse was in excellent condition and offered relatively stable and safe passage despite some steep sections. The summit pinnacle itself was just plain fun- a variety of rock, snow, and ice that yielded interesting mixed climbing and some fun, relatively mild exposure. We roped up for only a brief section of the climb.




Gear Notes:

For those interested, more details and pictures are at: http://www.mountainrefugees.com/


Approach Notes:

Here's the GPS track from Woodpecker ridge to our camp


Here's the GPS track from our camp to the summit

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Perhaps I am misunderstanding this, but if an area requires a "limited entry permit" I can only assume this is to reduce impact on said area. It seems to me that this ranger's directive to you effectively doubled your impact on this area. Since you had already passed through, it seems like a more reasonable approach would have been to issue you a friendly warning and request that you exit via an alternate route which would have not only limited impact, but left you with a much more positive feeling about the encounter.

Instead, you were essentially asked to walk through the limited access area a second time and add additional impact to an adjacent area with the only perceivable benefit to anyone being he/she (presumably) felt a bit better after exerting some control over you.

I'm not a ranger-basher or anything, the majority I have met have been fine. I'm just feeling like that's not how the job is meant to be done....

Way to do it despite the extra ten though

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i'm not a ranger basher but fuck that ranger. Humble you had more patience to respond to this than I did. I've found the 'pass through' permits such total and utter bullshit they make me irate. The willamette FS district is so full of shit, they've instituted a paid-reservation system for jeff park camps to help protect the environment, but they have not suggested any increased enforcement of it. If they were having a problem with people camping next to the lakes and building fires a few $250 citations to everyone in the miscreant group in front of everyone else would easily make it known not to disrespect the rules there. Only a matter of time until they put a permit quota on pass through there. Soon the only route to climb Jeff is going to be through the more obscure trailheads that add mileage, which is mostly just irritating.




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