Three Finger Jack Climb

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Sep 9, 2011
Activities Activities: Scrambling
Seasons Season: Fall

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My first attempt at a trip report so bear with me. I am writing this months after we climbed TFJ.

First, I'm new to this climbing mountains, Mt Thielson and Mt Hood were ones I did in August. Old Snowy (which qualifies you to join the Mazamas, but Thielson doesn't ??) I don't really call a mountain climb experience.

Back to TJF, we drove up on a Friday night and laid out bags at the parking lot about 11 pm. for a 5 or 6 am start.

First part is your standard hike on the PCT. Well graded and easy to follow. I was hoping to head up the hill before we hit the Cairn marking the climbing trail. I missed the place I wanted to head up so we went up the traditional trail to the first saddle. There were 7 of us that day.

I had been up as far as the crawl a few weeks before by myself and chickened out going across. So I knew the route up from there, it was socked in fog that day. All day in fact. I liked it though it adds a different dimension to the climb. The rest had never been up here and maybe I shouldn't have but I would say" You can't see it but its about a 1000 foot drop here" at times.

Before the crawl there is that one little section that has a name that escapes me right now. We stretched a rope here for some of the newer climbers. It was funny becuase on the way down no one even blinked when they crossed it the second time.
Here 2 guys decided it was as far as they were willing to go. THe rest of us continued on. Magnus the leader of our group started putting up protection at the crawl. He easily crossed to the other side and fixed the line for the rest of us. We crossed, some using prusiks and some just caribeeners attached. No real incidents here but some had a little difficulty with that one rock.

From there we free climbed to the summit block, time and the cold was beginning to be an issue. Magnus decided to climb up and set up a top rope so we all could get up look and belay right down. At the top it actually cleared just a bit for a veiw.

On the way down is where it got interesting. Maybe we should have strung rope all the way from the crawl for the level some were at. Its exposed a lot and with the fog perhaps it was unnerving for some. Especially if you have fear of heights! One of the group became very apprehensive and almost was at the point of freezing up. We finally got back down and across the crawl. I lead the the bulk of the group down the mountain from here and then started wondering what happened to Magnus and Rommel who were last tending to the rope. I started back up and finally could see them coming down in the fog. THe rope had got hung up and it took a while to free it.

The trip down was pretty slow, some were being very cautious down climbing.

Sum it up, I thought this was a great climb and mountain. I have seen it on a clear day and on a foggy day. Both were just awesome. This year I plan on doing it and Mt Washington on a weekend. Might see you there!


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