Three Fingered Jack Climber's Log

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Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Mar 21, 2004 10:07 pm

Route Climbed: South Ridge (sorta) Date Climbed: March 20, 2003

My friend Mark and I have talked about doing a winter ascent for a couple years now. Hiked in starting at about 11 pm Friday night by GPS. Road in to PCT trailhead is closed so we parked at the Snow Park and hiked northeasterly to gain the South Ridge instead of trying to follow a PCT that is about 5 feet under snow.

Brutal hike in with a 68 pound pack but that's what you gotta do in winter. :- P Finally stopped somewhat short of our goal about 2 am and set up camp. We figured the next day would be sleep late and scout the route. Morning was beautiful but we realized we still had about 1.7 miles to go to the summit. Late start at almost 11 am but we made the ridge and stashed our packs heading up only with our gear, pro and a Nalgene each. Figured we did not want to re-do this on Sunday and do the brutal hike out the same day so we decided to push it on Saturday.

Ridge was fun and easy and we made our way over to the saddle between the ridge and the main mass of 3FJ. Climbed up easy slopes to the ridge and we could see a bit of the climber's trail in a melted out area. Snow was really mushy but we did 4 pitches up the ridge to the second gendarme staying on the left side on slopes from 25 to maybe 65 degrees, mostly about 45 degrees. Got to the second gendarme and it looked like easier snow slopes around to the left instead of doing the normal route but we hit our 4 pm turnaround time so we headed back just barely short of the summit. This one looks fun and doable in winter but we made the right decision to head back as the wind REALLY whipped up and almost knocked us off the ridge on the way back.

Slept like 11 hours that night and then did the hike out. As usual, it was bacon cheeseburgers and milk shakes at Poppa Al's in Mill City. No Ding Dongs this trip but I did get some Brownie Bites in Detroit to satisfy my crapfood intake.


bc44caesar - Feb 16, 2004 1:11 pm

Route Climbed: South Ridge Date Climbed: 4 May 2002  Sucess!

Awesome bluebird day with the mountain to ourselves!


dkantola - Jul 15, 2003 9:43 pm

Route Climbed: South Ridge Date Climbed: July 14, 2003  Sucess!

A long day with a large group. The weather was good, although smoke from the Link Fire burning south of Suttle Lake obscured views to the east. The summit, a high point along a knife-edged ridge, is quite an airy perch.


cluck - Oct 8, 2002 7:34 pm

Route Climbed: South Ridge Date Climbed: October 6 2002  Sucess!

Summitted on a perfect Sunday morning.

For some observations on this climb, check out the trip report.


rmjwinters - Oct 5, 2002 9:57 pm

Route Climbed: South Ridge Date Climbed: July 1998  Sucess!

This was interesting. Final summit pitch was fun and interesting. Great weather and climbed with my good friend Scott and his wife.


Hammer - Aug 6, 2002 2:37 pm

Route Climbed: South Ridge Date Climbed: August 3, 2002  Sucess!

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.

Bob Bolton

Bob Bolton - May 20, 2002 8:28 pm

Route Climbed: South Ridge Date Climbed: Summer 1976  Sucess!

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.


Hammer - Oct 11, 2001 11:26 pm

Route Climbed: South Ridge Route Date Climbed: 8/11/2001  Sucess!

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.

Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Jul 31, 2001 4:12 pm

Route Climbed: South Ridge Route Date Climbed: 7/29/01  Sucess!

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.

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