Observations on this climb as follows:
1) Easy lead in trail hike
2) Climbers trail to the South ridge is very straight forward.
3) 3rd class scrambling on the west side of ridge up to "the crawl" is pretty safe, even though there are common portable hand holds & foot placements along the way
4) "The crawl" seems to be over-rated as far as fear factor is concerned. In fact, some places on the "cliff hanger" trail leading to crawl felt more exposed to me.
A the point where "the crawl" goes under the overhanging rock face, the ledge is nearly 10' wide and has plenty of room to walk, rather than crawl.
The second piton at the end of the crawl is well positioned to protect the only climbing move that felt exposed.
Unless you are inexperienced on rock, very tentative about exposure or the "crawl" is wet or icy, chances of a fall in this section are low. However, consequences of a fall are dire, so be safe, establish a fixed line and reduce your risk.
5) Summit chimney is a fun low 5th class climb, easily protected and supported by a very solid top belay/rap anchor around a huge boulder.
6) We climbed to the summit above this anchor point off the rope. Certainly made the traverse across the short knife edged ridge to the summit feel a bit airy and left a few tentative moves downclimbing back down to the rap anchor. But the choice to protect and belay this short scramble versus the time required to take this precaution is a judgement call best left up to each climbing party/individual member of the party.
Since our climb day was warm, dry, totally lacking in wind, snow or ice and perfectly clear, I feel certain our assessment of this climb as "pretty easy" might differ considerably from someone who caught the South ridge of 3FJ in less than ideal conditions.
Overall, we enjoyed the climb and would recommend it highly to those who have basic outdoor rock climbing skills, have enough gear to protect a few key areas, a team member who is competent leading the chimney (low 5th class) and no party members who are going to freeze up in the wrong place due to fear of exposure.
Final observation..... get started early if you are climbing on Summer weekends. We hiked in and camped along the PCT to insure we had a head start on climbing parties coming in from Santiam. Good thing too, as we started climbing the summit just as a group of about 15 people from Portland Mountain Rescue hit the crawl. Had we been behind this group, we would have had a very long wait to reach the summit.
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