Jefferson Park Glacier
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Bergschrund crossing, May 27 2016
From Jefferson Park ascend scree slopes above timberline to the start of the Jefferson Park Glacier. Head more or less up the middle of the glacier as crevasses will dictate the path. About two thirds of the way up the glacier the angle increases. Some parties may belay some short snow/ ice pitches. Weave around some larger crevasses as you head towards the bergschrund. It can be passed on either right or left side. Take warning: passing the bergschrund on the left side greatly increases the exposure to rock fall. Once above the bergschrund ascend a moderately steep exposed snow slope until gaining the cinder ridge. Follow the rock ridge east towards the summit pinnacle. Two exposed pitches of OK rock (5.0) will get you to the final broad ridge and the summit pinnacle. The pinnacle is a few pitches of 4th class on shattered rock. The view on top is outstanding!
Most wise parties will descend the Whitewater Glacier back to Jefferson Park. Expect the climb to take between 4-6 hrs from timberline and the descent to take just as long via the Whitewater Glacier. Don't underestimate the length of the descent (long slog). Avoid descending the North Ridge.
Starts from Jefferson Park on the north flank of the mountain. This is one of the most beautiful spots in the state. The meadows of Jefferson Park are extremely popular. Stay on the main trails. Keep impact to an absolute minimum in the park. Camp in established sites!
Jefferson Park is reached in 5 miles via the Whitewater Trail, which begins on the west side of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. Fill out self issued permits at the trailhead.
To find the trailhead from Highway 22 (6 miles east of the town of Idanah), drive 6 miles on F.S. Road 2243 until its end. The parking area is almost always full in summer, especially on weekends. Have fun!
Ice axe, crampons, glacier gear. Maybe a few pickets in early season, ice screws after August 1st. A select few pieces of rock pro for the ridge traverse. HELMET!!!
By Ben Beckerich
From: saint helens, oregon
Dec 30, 2013
rating: 5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c Steep Snow PG13
I would just point out the fact that the route does NOT follow the north shoulder of the summit pinnacle in summer conditions - unless it's completely iced/snowed over, the shoulder is suicidal rock climbing. Instead, traverse across the west of the pinnacle to a 4th class ramp running up the middle of the west face. There should be no 5th classing on the pinnacle- the rock is fucking horrible.
By Allen Sanderson
Sep 26, 2014
An alternative to climbing the north shoulder from the top of the Jeff Park Glacier is to gain the North Ridge from the Jeff Park Glacier (before one climbs the "headwall"). This avoids the lose hair ball rock on the north shoulder. However, this alternative is only good when it is snow covered otherwise it is scree.
The summit pinnacle when fully covered in rime is very reasonable climbing. Pro is another thing, pickets work best.
For descending one can drop down, traverse the Milk Creek Glacier over to the Russell Glacier, finally dropping directly into Jeff Park. This descent is typically in full sun and can be subject to wet slides. In early season it is an excellent ski descent.