Ascent of Mount Jefferson on 2015-07-18

Climber: Michael Lewis

Others in Party:Craig Willis
Josh Lewis
Date:Saturday, July 18, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Jefferson
    Elevation:10497 ft / 3199 m

Ascent Trip Report

Craig Willis took me and my brother Josh to climb the eroded volcano in 3 days from the South Route. Very dry conditions meant no water after Milk Creek 3 miles in. Shale Lake had become a muddy puddle and we took a 4 hour nap in the heat of the day to save on water usage. As the sun set we finally got some water from snow runnoff near 7818' where we set our camp. The wind was howling making a wind chill and slightly disruptive sleep. The climb to Red Saddle was straight forward but ashy and crumbly near the top. From here the Terrible Traverse was icier than we expected given general snow conditions in the PNW on this crazy year. We set belays using Craig's 60m rope on the steep icy snow. Josh led both pitches placing in 3 pickets and 1-2 ice screws. Part-way across Josh pointed out a small fire that started up to the South. We tried to stay in the moat for the most part but occasionally had to deal with steep snow that was between 50-60°. We left the rope at the last pitch for use on our return. The rest was easy steps to a talus trail that weaved its way up the NW face of Jefferson. Josh found a class 3 route that bypassed all the class 4. The rock was solid and comfortable, not at all what I expected based on others' descriptions. Our return went quickly with fun scree skiing and glissades that had us descend 2700' in an hour. No winds meant better sleep this night. We occasionally awoke to watch the fire in the direction of Three Fingered Jack burn under the Milky Way. Luckily smoke never got into our valley. The rest of the hike out the next day went quickly with us arriving at the car shortly after noon.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:7447 ft / 2269 m
    Extra Gain:700 ft / 213 m
    Round-Trip Distance:25 mi / 40.2 km
    Route:South Ridge
    Trailhead:Woodpecker TH  4450 ft / 1356 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3/4 Grade III
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads
    Weather:Hot, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Days 12 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Days 1 Hours 

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