Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Mount Jefferson/Whitewater Glacier

Very difficult to achieve the true summit

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Entire traverse is snow covered.  Summit block had a mix of rocks and some ice.

Used the South Ridge route (with a Pamelia Lake Limited Entry Permit).  Camped at Shale Lake.

Started hiking at 3am.  Red Saddle about 8:30.  I led out the first 60 meters with 4 pickets, and 6 ice screws.  Placed one screw and 3 pickets (2 for the anchor). Used one regular ice ax, and one ice tool with hammer (very useful).  Could have skipped using the ice screws.  Set 2 60 meter fixed lines on the traverse, which was still 30 meters short.  We soloed the rest of the traverse.

Myself and two others turned around after doing another 60 meter traverse on the north side when I realized we had made a mistake of using up our ropes on the fixed lines, rather than using a running belay.  4 others made the summit, utilizing a fixed line that another solo climber had brought up.  We also took up too much time on the traverse and that also played into my decision to turn back.  The others took about 3 more hours to ascend and descend this last 200'.

Regarding the summit (from Michael): "Once you circle around to the north side and ascend very steep snow to the ridge, there is a 3/4 class scramble with two places/moves that are really exposed. There is a rap station with slings in the middle. A 60 meter rap from here will bring you down off the ridge and through most of the steep snow that you ascended. I wish I had brought the second rope as we had to down climb it."

I do not recommend this as a Basic Climb, due to the hazards of the summit block.  Perhaps it is safer when there is less snow.  Rock fall is likely a hazard even then.

As a group we brought 2 60 meter half ropes, 8 pickets, and 9 ice screws, and 4 ice tools.  Next time I would skip the ice screws, maybe just a couple for insurance.

16 hour round trip from camp.


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Michael Hutchens
Michael Hutchens says:
Jul 10, 2018 12:11 PM

Trail Closures: Whitewater TH is closed. For the south routes, take the PameliaTH (permit required, and the rangers will enforce). For the other routes, folks have been taking the Woodpecker Ridge TH.