Ascent of Mount Jefferson on 2013-08-03

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Pete Ellis
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, August 3, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Jefferson
    Elevation:11941 ft / 3639 m

Ascent Trip Report

My 160th world ultra.

After our late afternoon ascent of Arc Dome, the next morning we drive to Jefferson. From the small town of Austin we follow the 50 east, 376 south (N39.40496 W116.93980) then at N38.57090 W117.18165 take the 377 east. This is paved for about 5 miles to Manhattan, then swings L and continues as good dirt road for about 10 miles (there's a fork at N38.5180, W116.9673, we go right: alternatively L then in 1.6mi R should also work). At N38.49406 W116.94805 we join the main paved road and turn L to Belmont, joining Petter Bjorstad's route. Pavement ends at N end of town, continuing as good gravel surface. L at N38.63050 W116.81267, signed (on N face of sign only) for Meadow Canyon. Good dirt road for first 3 miles, to cattle guard (parking available), a little rougher beyond but ok with care in our regular 2WD. We park about a mile beyond cattle guard, at the start of a rougher overgrown section, although it turns out to be only a hundred yards or so and we could probably have managed with car and some track grooming.

Anyway we pack plenty of water and settle down to a 20 mile day, all on good tracks, temps upper 70s with a breeze, not bad at all. Nice scenic walk up Meadow Canyon, initially quite narrow with cliffs either side, then more open with contrasting colours and a sky with high cirrus looking like a blue themed aurora. Shoshone Summit comes into view, a nice looking P2k which could be paired with Jefferson assuming a start at or near the pass.

We pass R of ruined building then fork L at N38.68937 W116.91419 onto the 010. Normal 2WD reaching this point would be best taking L fork here then parking shortly on L, as road gets pretty rough higher up, definitely high clearance needed to get to Jefferson Summit (the road pass).

We stop just short the pass, at N38.68658 W116.93409, after 1h45 walking. I cache water and a can of coke for the return journey and we shortcut across easy ground to join the jeep track which climbs Jefferson's south ridge. At N38.70526 W116.93693 there is a route choice: either keep R on the higher jeep track (over a bump then into a dip) or lower track (keep L of fence) avoiding going over the bump; also nicer underfoot according to Pete who descended that way.

Jeep track eventually becomes a trail, mostly pretty obvious. Pass a little rocky knoll, cross a neck then climb a wide slope. Cairned trail traverses a long way L then at N38.73371 W116.92881 cuts back R (this can be shortened on easy ground). Above, the path makes a nice rocky traverse L of a sub peak (short zigzag section on loose scree) then crosses to R of ridge. Reaching a bouldery area we scrambled up small crags and along a nice ridge (YDS 2+, not exposed) although the path contours R at N38.74943 W116.92349, avoiding the boulders and zigzagging up to the summit, quite well cairned.

Summit area rocky, quite flat, building and small comms mast, cairn N38.75197 W116.92681 with a trig mark adjacent; USGS reference marker at N38.75205 W116.92675, very similar elevation. View across to yesterday's slightly lower Ultra, Arc Dome, just across the valley to our west.

We head back the same way with minor variations. Up in 4 hours from our rather low trailhead, 25 mins at summit, down in 3h10, round trip 7h35 from car, 4h20 from Jefferson Summit road pass.

We decide to head for North Schell Peak next. This involves heading northeast, but instead of a very long dirt road route north to the 50 we retrace steps south and west via Belmont and Manhattan then back north on the 376, a longer but probably considerably quicker route.

Backtracked a short way to tiny quirky Austin, Nevada ("So much to do you'll need a bigger bucket list"!) for fuel (Chevron station with 24 hour self service pump) and food (restaurant next door) although Eureka, next town east, turns out to be larger and may have been a better bet. Spend the night east of Ely. Wheeler Peak tomorrow.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4444 ft / 1354 m
    Distance:20 mi / 32.2 km
    Trailhead:7497 ft / 2285 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 1
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Hot, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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