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Mt. Jefferson Solo: Things to consider

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Mt. Jefferson Solo: Things to consider

Postby ascasson » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:17 am

Hi everyone,

I'm trying to get some beta about Mt. Jefferson and the difficulties one might encounter going for a solo attempt. Brutal honesty would be appreciated about it -- more likely in mid or late summer. Anyone particularly familiar with the traverse and summit pinnacle terrain and challenges?

ANY info would be extremely helpful...obviously.

- Anthony
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Re: Mt. Jefferson Solo: Things to consider

Postby Jesus Malverde » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:13 pm

ascasson,
FWIW, not sure what your fear factor/climbing experience is but here goes.
I did the south ridge a few years ago, so this opinion is based on that route and my memory off the top of my head (it could be a little rusty, so hopefully recent climbers will chime in). IMO, the two cruxes on the South Ridge route are the snow traverse on the west(?) side (below the major summit block) and a couple of 5.2-.4? rock moves on the summit block itself. If I remember correctly, the hardest rock move was an exposed section on/facing east right below the top.
If you are really comfortable on steep snow, you shouldn't have a mind problem on that traverse (south ridge route). I do remember thinking, if one took a fall there, it might be seriously life threatening/fatal. If snow conditions are soft, there might something of an existing trench/track from previous
climbers you can utilize or you can kick in your own boot track (slow but steady). If that traverse is icy/hard that's a different story. You should probably consider bringing an ice tool just in case (you can assess the traverse from the "hiker's summit" and always leave the tool before the traverse)
I do remember thinking that the snow traverse looked harder than it actually was, though this was after the fact.:)
FWIW, I was glad I was on a rope for the rock cruxes, but I probably could have free climbed the cruxes with a bolder attitude and in a pinch.

FWIW, I think it's doable solo for a "confident" and intermediate climber with snow/rock experience. Yes, I know that's a definition problem. :)
If you think this is you, give it a shot (only you really knows you). Obviously, The two main obstacles you face are your mind and the route conditions.
One approach is approach the climb with an open mind and to take the climb in stages.
Stage 1: a nice backpack in and nice ridge hike with great scenery
If your mind and the day feels right move on to the next sage. If you don't feel right about it, then you still had a great "hiker's summit" and you can come back at another time with better vibes (or climbing partners w/ rope, cams/nuts and a couple of pickets).
Stage 2: attempt the traverse. If you make the traverse without a mind problem and still feel confident, move on to stage three. If the traverse spooked you, then take a breather, call this your highpoint. The hardest thing left on your trip will be repeating the traverse back to "freedom."
Stage 3: keep moving around the summit block to the north side (I believe this is were the standard climbing begins for the rock climbing portion).
If I remember correctly, there's some class 3, possibly 4 moves until you get to the class 5 stuff nearer the top. Monitor yourself on this portion, if you are moving comfortably both mentally and physically, then keep going. Hell there's a summit up there and go bag it.
If you are concerned about down climbing the 3-4, I would reassess what you are doing and consider turning back because the climbing is not going to get any easier. Remember you gotta down climb that class 5 section too. :)

Really the only way to find out what it's like is to go attempt the sucker. One can talk, read and comment about routes all day online (kinda like I'm doing now. :), but only way to really know is go call your own bluff and go see for yourself. At the very least, one can come back with new information/attitude and form a new resolve/project. Mt. Jefferson is a great and beautiful peak and a nice one to have ticked off your list for sure. Alot of times it seems like half the battle of climbing is in your mind. Discovering your limits and boundaries is part of what makes mountaineering so enjoyable and addicting (and yes, sometimes scary). Remember, Mt. Jefferson is worthy of respect, just be cautious and listen to your gut.

Other considerations:
cell reception was pretty good from the hiker's summit.
Water supply might be an issue. If I recall correctly that ridge can be pretty dry. Bring lots of it.
Bring and wear the helmet above the hiker's summit
Another thought, in Jeff Thomas' Oregon High: A Climbing Guide to Nine Cascade Volcanoes in the south ridge description he quotes someone about the route. It goes something like: if I never climb that route again it will be too soon.
Rest assured, the route isn't that bad, but it does feel like a slog at times.:)

ok..enough of my banter. Time to pass the Talking Stick to someone else..EB any thoughts?

Buena Suerte,
JM
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Re: Mt. Jefferson Solo: Things to consider

Postby splattski » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:30 pm

We did the Jeff Park Glacier route without ropes.
I think you'd want to be an experienced climber, both snow and rock, and get lucky with conditions, as we did. It also helped that the bergshrund had an ice block in it, the upper bergshrund wall had calved out to create a stairway, and there were good steps kicked up the headwall above the bergshrund.
Your conditions may vary….. but that's the fun of climbing snow!
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Re: Mt. Jefferson Solo: Things to consider

Postby ascasson » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:41 pm

Thank you guys so much! A very quick outing with mostly my standard mountain running gear up Jefferson is one of my projects. Obviously there are TONS of things to consider and prepare for. I'm very lucky to have a community who willingly puts forth information to help fellow mountain lovers out. THANK YOU AGAIN!

Safety first, safety second, safety third.
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Re: Mt. Jefferson Solo: Things to consider

Postby Ben Beckerich » Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:24 am

where am i going... and why am i in this handbasket?
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Re: Mt. Jefferson Solo: Things to consider

Postby ascasson » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:53 pm



Wow! What a story. That's intense. Thanks for sharing, Ben!
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Re: Mt. Jefferson Solo: Things to consider

Postby Ben Beckerich » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:42 pm

There are a few morals to be gleaned from that TR. The main one appears to be know your fuckin' route. If that guy had done the barest research and known where he was supposed to be, his day would have gone a lot smoother. He's lucky he didn't die climbing up the north ridge of the pinnacle- that "vertical stack of broken tile" isn't the route. And for damn good reason.
where am i going... and why am i in this handbasket?
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Re: Mt. Jefferson Solo: Things to consider

Postby Brian C » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:53 am

Holy crap! That trip report is nuts.
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