Mount Jefferson South Summit from Pine Creek
Sufficiently dissuaded from taking the standard route (due to wimpy rental car), I followed up on the reference on the Mount Jefferson page to try this route. That involved twenty miles of driving on sandy gravel roads, down Monitor Valley, following the signs to Pine Creek campground. The campground seemed quite run down, with fresh toilet paper in the outhouses the only indication that it was maintained at all. Of the twelves spots available several of them seemed in advanced disrepair. There were two people there who seemed to have taken up residence. I picked the best spot I could find, campsite #9, right across from the trailhead I sought.
I got off route very early on the next day, when the creek turned and I didn't. I followed a user trail up into boulders above the stream, then lost it. Backtracking, I discovered that the bend in the creek would need to be waded. That was the first of fifteen creek crossings I would have to do. Three of them would involve boots off/pants rolled up wading. The rest were logs and debris across the creek in official and unofficial ways. Some of the crossings were downright gymnastic, with balancing on said logs and holding on to foliage overhead. The final crossings were up toward the head of the creek near the summit bowl and mere stepovers. Once in the summit bowl the true summit is slightly to your left and up moderate slopes of talus and alpine foliage. The towers on the summit come into view pretty quickly as you ascend.
The day I was there I only saw two guys and a horse on the trail and they claimed they had seen a herd of thirty bighorn sheep. Excited at such a prospect, I was grumpy that I had run into none by the time I reached the summit. Even over the expansive view I had I saw no wildlife. However, just minutes below the summit on the descent I saw eight sets of horns peeking up over a rise. Soon I was within conversational distance with eight robust looking bighorn sheep. They didn't tarry.
Descent involved retracing my steps (clear trail all the way) and negotiating all fifteen creek crossings. 11 miles roundtrip.
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