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Trip Report    

Mount Jefferson/Jefferson Park Glacier

Early season attempt via Jefferson Park. Turned around due to rime ice on the knife edge ridge and summit block.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Whitewater trail has a pleasant grade, is well-maintained and easy to follow, except where covered by snow.  Encountered consistent snow cover at about 5500ft.  Beginning 2016, Memorial Day weekend campsite reservation system is in effect.  However, we did not find any campsite numbers, due to complete snow cover, so chose a campsite at the far end of Scout Lake.  There were about three or four other parties camping in the area. 

    The Jefferson Park Glacier was in good condition.  Traveled mostly up the left side of the glacier.  Passed one crevasse around climbers right. Headed straight toward the “V” at the base of the Mohler Tooth.  Crossed the ‘schrund on a small bridge to the right of the “V”.  Note: bridge will probably be gone in two weeks. Arrived at the top of the Smith Rock-Mohler Tooth saddle around 9:30.  The gendarme and boulder field leading to the knife-edge ridge were covered with rime ice.  Although we had ice screws and ice tools, this section was just not protectable, with severe fall hazard.  Likewise, the summit pinnacle was shrouded in rime ice. We elected to turn around here.  Note: three other parties on the mountain and all elected to turn around.

    The descent down to the ‘schrund was somewhat tedious as the snow was becoming softer and steps had to be carefully made or they would blow out. Descent down the Jefferson Park Glacier was just the reverse of the ascent.  The snow had softened considerably so made good plunge stepping.

About a 4.5 hour drive to trailhead.  Whitewater Road is signed off of Hwy 22 and is in good condition. There is a good sized parking area at the end of the road.  Departed TH at 2:00pm and arrived at Jefferson Park/Scout Lake at 5:15pm.  We elected to camp in Jefferson Park rather than higher up on the moraine due to availability of water, number of tent, etc.

Departed camp at 3:45am.  The snow had hardened overnight so departed in crampons. We climbed the snowfield to climbers right of the moraine ridge proper. It took about an hour to climb up the moraine to the edge of the Jefferson Park Glacier. Noted there were a number of small bivy sites among the rocks here. 

Turned around at the Smith Rock-Mohler Tooth saddle area around 10:00 due to the rime ice covering the route.

Weather:  Saturday was mostly sunny and clear, with some thin clouds coming in and out around the upper mountains.  Breezy in camp. Sunday was mostly sunny and clear.