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[TR] Mount Jefferson - Jefferson Park Glacier 7/4/2016


JasonG
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Trip: Mount Jefferson - Jefferson Park Glacier

 

Date: 7/4/2016

 

Trip Report:

I suppose Steve and I shouldn't have been surprised. By now we've both climbed enough routes out of Alan Kearney's "Classic Climbs of the Northwest" to know that the man knows what he is talking about. Still, after topping out on the Jefferson Park Glacier route on the 4th, we were impressed. A pleasant approach, comfortable camp (~6800' below the glacier- no water except snow), interesting glacier travel (including a deceptive 'schrund crossing), a spectacular knife edge, and excellent steep snow and rime on the summit tower made for a memorable ascent. Even more so since we had the entire route and mountain to ourselves on a holiday weekend! Initially we were a little disappointed that our first choice in the North Cascades was weathered out, but we shouldn't have been. Besides a long drive, there weren't really any drawbacks to the trip. I especially like the wilderness nature of Jefferson, more akin to Glacier Peak than many of the Cascade volcanoes that have roads high on their flanks.

 

However, I can see how this mountain has a relatively narrow window for when it is in the best condition. I think we managed to hit it perfectly- snow-free hike to camp, the 'schrund was passable, the knife edge ridge mostly snow-free, summit pyramid mostly snow and ice (until the last bit on the east side of the north ridge), and descent down the Whitewater straightforward. A few weeks earlier or later and it likely isn't nearly as pleasant as we found it. Mount Jefferson is amazingly steep for how impressively chossy it is, and I have no doubt it could be terrible when it is in poor condition. We dubbed it "Chosso Torre".

 

The only slight SNAFU was on the descent off the summit. We rapped blindly off the established station right on the summit and couldn't find the second one we had heard was there (likely covered in rime). We made a new station with a nut and tri-cam and did another short rappel to reach easy snow. Steep now traversing to Red Col led to easy slopes and the Whitewater. For being the easiest route on the mountain I was a bit surprised. It certainly gets your attention. I can see why some say it is the hardest of the major Oregon summits to climb. From the register it looks like 15-30 parties sign in each year, much fewer than I expected.

 

As an aside.......We had planned ahead and left beer in the truck, but a kind, older gentleman at the TH walked over in his camo pants with two ice cold Coors in his hands (it was 10am).

 

"I was wondering if you boys could use an ice cold beer?"

 

pointing at the Stone IPAs in our hands, he continued "My Daughter says I need to drink real beer, but these are real enough for me!"

 

We thanked him for the Coors and he happily sauntered off on his hike, after finishing his beer.

 

It was the highlight of our final day in Oregon.

 

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Looking down from the summit on the upper part of the route, you basically run the ridge:

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Chosso Torre:

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Gear Notes:

Helmet, second tool, steel crampons, half rope, light rack to 2", long runners.

 

Approach Notes:

Whitewater TH to Jefferson Park. We left the trail just before the major stream crossing on the west side of Jeff Park and headed up to the glacier

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Looking down from the summit on the upper part of the route, you basically run the ridge:

2016Jefferson21254.JPG

Great photos. Damn weather has kept us off Jeff this weekend as well, so if I can find a partner or two, I may try it next week. Hopefully the bergschrund is still passable.

 

In the photo above, where exactly is this knife-edge ridge? Is it between Smith Peak (left) and the Mohler Tooth (right), or after the Mohler Tooth?

 

Why'd you choose to do the Whitewater for the descent instead of retracing the ascent?

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In the photo above, where exactly is this knife-edge ridge? Is it between Smith Peak (left) and the Mohler Tooth (right), or after the Mohler Tooth?

 

Neither, the knife edge is a sub ridge that comes up to the side of the Mohlar Tooth.

 

Why'd you choose to do the Whitewater for the descent instead of retracing the ascent?

 

Retracing the ascent along the shit ridge is plain damn dumb as would be trying to retreat down the Jeff Park Glacier after crossing the bergshrund.

 

Whitewater, while long is the std. route. However, if one crosses the bergshrund and reaches the top of the glacier and needs to descend before the knife-edge ridge it is easy to do so by dropping down the ridge line to the west and come back across the Russell Glacier. From the summit one can descend the Milk Creek Glacier and do the same come back across the Russell Glacier.

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Technically that may be true, but from the perspective of the photo you're basically right. It is the section that appears to be between Smith peak and the Mohler Tooth.

 

We didn't find the Whitewater all that long or out of the way. You can stay high on the glacier as you reach the northern part of it and link snow patches pretty much all the way back to camp. It was a really scenic way to end the day, maybe only 3 hours from the summit to camp. I think the whole ascent took us about 10.5-11 hours round trip. Descending the Jeff Park would be much longer and more involved.

 

Hopefully you get to it before it goes out of shape, it's a lot of fun!

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