Mount Jefferson - Jefferson Park Glacier, May 2007
I had hoped to have written a report for a successfull climb of Jefferson by now, perhaps using photos from my failed attempt in May to augment those taken during a follow-up June or July attempt even. Alas, this has been a frustratingly slow start to the climbing season for me - one plagued by consistently rainy weekends, schedule and partner challenges. Now that the Jefferson Park Glacier route appears to have fallen out of condition for the season...at least for my tastes, I'm going to have to wait another 10 or 11 months before entertaining a return trip. Until then, this report will serve as a reminder of unfinished buisness in the Oregon Cascades.
Inspired by the description in Kerney's Classic Climbs of the Northwest, Tom and I set out to climb a route that many label as one of the finest alpine routes in the Oregon Cascades - the Jefferson Park Glacier. As with most volcano routes, we figured that well-iced early season conditions would be preferable to the choss and rockfall typicaly encountered in summer. Sure, the rime would make the knife-edge ridge and summit pinnacle more sporting, but we'd hopefully be able to bypass the notorious 'schrund without any issues. Pick your poison. In any case, we picked a 'good' weekend in May, loaded-up Tom's Escape and drove south. A seemingly endless 5-hour drive finally saw us to a snowy impasse about a half-mile shy of the trailhead. Hiking in white-out and drizzle did little to bolster our enthusiasm, but I had confidence in the forecast - it was supposed to turn partly cloudy on Sunday. We hiked to about 5500ft before making camp under a canopy of evergreens. Exhausted, I passed-out without eating dinner only to wake-up to the pitter-patter of rain falling on the tent. Rain, then snow conspired against us later Saturday night and early Sunday. Our wake-up call was promptly ignored and we stayed in the tent and caught a few more hours of sleep. Hours later, having had more than enough rest Tom and I began to stir. We packed-up and were moments away from returning to the car that morning when the fog started lifting and patches of blue sky started poking through. Go figure, eh? It was already 7:30 at this point. We decided to head on up to the glacier to 'check things out' anyway. (more...)
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