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North Milk Creek Glacier

4th Mod. Snow PG13, Trad, Snow, Alpine, 4400 ft (1333 m), 3 pitches, Grade II,  Avg: 3 from 1 vote
FA: unknown
Oregon > Oregon Volcanoes > Mt Jefferson


The climb:

After completing your approach the climb begins at around 6,500 elevation near your high camp option. You have the option to drop down into the Milk Creek basin, stay high or cross the Milk Creek basin to gain the West Rib which is the standard skimo winter route descent. The Milk Creek basin has serious rockfall on warm days so be aware. The safest bet is to stay high and drop onto the Milk Creek Glacier at 9,200 elevation. From here head up towards the North Ridge of Mount Jefferson. The glacier doesn't appear to have active crevacces but be aware. The slope is mostly 30 degrees and increases to about 40 degree snow as you get closer to gaining the North Ridge. The glacier ends at about 10,000 near the top of the North Ridge. There may be a small flowing waterfall here in the spring at about 9,400.

Follow the ridge South on 50 degree snow to the base of the summit Pinnacle. You have 300 feet of elevation to gain for the true summit from here. Use one of several options to gain the summit. Most options are two 50 meter pitches to the summit.

Descent: Rappel the summit block. Then descend via the North Ridge back to the Milk Creek Glacier or descend directly down the the West Rib.


The approach:

Please note that as of August 2018 the West side trail has closures at Whitewater Trail and and the 11 mile stretch along the PCT thru Jefferson Park is open but there's no camping allowed in Jefferson Park due to last year's fire damage. The southern sections of the PCT going South of here has also suffered allot of damage to the trail due to the fire and is not in great shape. Travel at your own risk.

Start at one of the west side trail heads. The approach is several miles and a few thousand feet or more depending on which trailhead your start from. You'll need a limited entry permit between the Friday of the Memorial Day holiday weekend (late May) and ending October 31 . See: "Pamelia Limited Entry Area, OR" at to reserve your permit in advance. Permits are $10 per party and often sell out in advance, especially for holiday weekends. The permit system is explained here: 

The Lake Pamelia Trail head requires a limited entry permit. If you use the Woodpecker Ridge Trail you'll be passing into the Shale Lake zone to gain the climbers trail requires a limited entry permit.  Whitewater trail is still closed due to fire damage from the 2017 fire as of June 2018.

Take the climbers trail at Milk Creek West. Take another climbers trail at the North Milk Creek Fork and follow this fork until the treeline. From here head East to a flat area overlooking the next fork of the Milk Creek. There's good bivy spots at 6,200 - 6,500 elevation near the treeline. The Milk Creek forks on each side of your camp may have flowing water depending on the time of the day and the time of the year. One can also melt snow

There's a higher small bivy ledge next to a tree at 7,500 that will fit two people and no tent with no nearby water. It's subject to winds from the South West but has wind protection on three sides.


Depends on the season: Snow pickets, ice screws, minimal rock rack. 50 meter rope to rap summit block.