After a beautiful day and almost perfect climbing conditions our small party gained the saddle leading to the summit. Unfortunately, a larger group had reached the technical pitch before us and we forced to wait for quite a long time as they shuttled people to the summit and back. After they had retreated we made a fast and furious track to the summit as a large gathering had grown on the saddle awaiting their turns at the summit. Once again TFJ afforded us with spectacular views of Jefferson and Washington. The three Sisters were obscured due to smoke from the many days of fire that had been in the area and you could still see areas that were smoldering.
This was so long ago that I don't remember much about it. A group of us from McMinnville, where I lived at the time, climbed it.
I had looked forward to climbing 3FJ due to it being primarily a rock route. I had only done Mt. Washington in the past and wanted to continue to develop my alpine rock skills.
Originally the climb had been somewhat crowded but by climb day there would only be six of us. This was a good thing since a sizable Mazama group left the trailhead shortly after we did at 0600.
Throughout the morning, we leap frogged their group as we made our way up the 5 miles of PCT. Once we reached the cairn marking the climber's trail we gained a sizable lead on them. As we approached the steeper scree trail we broke right and made our way up thicker underbrush. This was somewhat tedious but it afforded a qucker approach to the the ridge line.
Once we reached the ridge line, a couple that were not sure of the route, decided to tag along behind us as we made our way up the ridge. Toward the top of the ridge, we crossed some great 3rd class trail "Cliffhanger's Trail" that had great exposure before reaching the infamous "Crawl".
Our designated leader led across the "Crawl" and up some additional 3rd and 4th class rock to the base of the pinnacle. The rest of the group prussiked along the fixed line until we reached the base. Once again-some great exposure! We allowed the couple to use our rope as they made their way across also. We had beat the Mazama group up.
Once we reached the base of the pinnacle, Steve led the first pitch up the pinnacle. We all followed up climbing with a prussik safety as he made his way up to the true summit. I was the last one to climb up and being the sixth person up there, there was not room for me on the small knife edge summit. I took a picture for them and then swapped places with my uncle so he could get a shot of me and my celebratory prayer flags.
We descended the pinnacle passing the Mazama group at the base and made our way down the ridge. We reached the scree trail. As we headed down, I enjoyed some great scree skiing. The dust was thick and it was hot! I had brought three liters of water and it was not enough. Others had only brought two and they were in bad shape. After sharing the water that we had, we made our way out to the trailhead for yet another successful climb for the year.
I left with 3 others at 7 am on 7/29/01 from the Pacific Crest Trailhead and hiked the 5 mile approach through the forest. As you come to the base of the mountain, the forest clears at a scree field. There is an obvious trail up to the base of the ridge. Try to stay on that as we tried to find a better way and got into some thick brush.
Once at the ridge we scrambled up some class 4 or 5 rock to the Crawl. Here 2 of our party turned back due to the weather. It is the end of July but up here it was in the 30's or 40's and alternating rain and hail. I continued on with one other and we roped in for the traverse. Once past that we scrambled more to the summit pinnacle and he led the technical climb in the chimney. There is some webbing there already so he anchored in and I followed up. From there it was a short scramble to the actual summit. We were socked in so we did not stay long. I apologize for the poor photos I am attaching to this page. The weather was nasty but I wanted to show something on it - hopefully others will attach better ones. It's a nice climb and we did it in about 8 and 1/2 hours from the trailhead back to the car.