Ascent of Mount Jefferson on 2015-06-14

Climber: Mark Smith

Others in Party:Austin D. Smith -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Glenn Campbell
Date:Sunday, June 14, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Jefferson
    Elevation:10497 ft / 3199 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Whitewater Glacier is an aesthetic climb accessible both early and late season. It involves less technical skills than the more direct Jefferson Park Glacier. Having tried the Whitewater route twice, my takeaways are:

1) The best approach to the glacier is a climbers' trail that starts from the corner where the west face of peak 6166 meets the north facing side of the mountain.

2) The summit day is really long, longer than I expected. That we started from a high camp and left camp early is why our second attempt succeeded.

3) The Red Saddle traverse in early season is a serious undertaking. At 500' in length, our 4 pickets were not enough. Debris fall from above motivates a fast pace. Lack of a run-out should you fall motivates a slow pace. Perhaps a second ice tool would have allowed a faster, and hence safer, traverse.

4) The summit block is far more difficult when plastered with snow. For early season ascents, bring plenty of rock and snow pro. We climbed the west face to the notch between the twin summit pillars, then made an easy traverse to the summit. The standard route is on the north side, but traversing to the north side would have been difficult in the conditions and the west face seemed to be a more direct and better option.
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The traverse back to Red Saddle in June of a low-snow year (2015-06-14). Photo by Mark Smith.
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Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6797 ft / 2070 m
    Total Elevation Loss:400 ft / 120 m
    Round-Trip Distance:20 mi / 32.2 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:6597 ft / 2010 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 6397 ft / 1950 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Loss on way in:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:Whitewater Glacier
    Start Trailhead:4100 ft / 1249 m
    Time:1 Days 18 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:200 ft / 60 m
    Gain on way out:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Time:0 Days 19 Hours 

Other Photos

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Finding the climbers' trail to Whitewater Glacier (2015-06-15). Photo by Mark Smith.
Click here for larger-size photo.

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