Ascent of Mount Jefferson on 2016-07-30

Climber: Connor McEntee

Date:Saturday, July 30, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Jefferson
    Elevation:10497 ft / 3199 m

Ascent Trip Report

Climbed Jefferson in a day from the Pamiela Lake TH via the South Ridge. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, but even after two weeks of warm weather there was substantially more snow on the traverse than I was expecting. I went with someone whom I'd never climbed with before. Unfortunately, even with carrying all of the group gear, rope, two pickets, etc. our paces weren't well matched. My phone died after 12 hours of recording, but it said that my moving time was only 6 hours. Pace was only a concern because we started at 6, and I was worried that the snow might get too soft by the time we got to the Red Saddle to effectively protect the traverse.

Anyway, the trail to the PCT is very easy and then the PCT up to Shale Lake is an easy grade. We were originally going to take the SW Ridge but it looked like an unpleasant bushwhack. I figured that it would be faster to add additional milage but take the easier to navigate South Ridge. We did and went in and out of trees from Shale Lake until we found open country and switched between snow and talus slopes. Down low there were a fair number of mosquitoes making it annoying to stop. At various points I thought I saw people on the traverse from down low, but was never quite sure. We eventually got to the Red Saddle at which point it was clear that there was another group on the mountain. They had placed a fixed line across the traverse, which was about 90m across steep snow. I tested self arrest on a section with a safe runout to a big rock, and there wasn't a chance that I could stop myself. I was only carrying two pickets, which meant that I could only protect a portion of the traverse. If we wanted to place protection, we would need to do a running belay with a 30m rope. I placed a picket and it could hold my body weight, but it wasn't bomber. I was uncertain if it would really hold a dynamic fall.

Just as we were about to cross the other group was coming back. They were willing to let us go across on their fixed rope, 2 60m ropes tied together anchored with 6 pickets. However, they would come back across first and the rope would be gone by the time we got back from the summit block. If we had been there 30 minutes earlier we could have gone both ways, oh well. The other team crossed, one girl fell and maybe went 10 feet down the slope before the slack was gone and the anchors caught her. Their system held, which was good. We then crossed and gained the summit, which was pretty easy. Just small patches of ice in various places, a fairly trivial class 3 scramble. Then we came back to the traverse. I planted my picket and used my ice axe as a deadman and belayed my partner a full rope length. She did the same and we went back and forth a couple times until we crossed back.

The descent is easy but long. Lots of great scree skiing and boot glissading.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:7512 ft / 2289 m
    Round-Trip Distance:22 mi / 35.4 km
    Route:South Ridge
    Trailhead:2985 ft / 909 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Time:8 Hours 5 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Connor McEntee
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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.

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