Friday, August 9, 2013


After a month plus in Alaska, recovering from too much partying, finding a new apartment, and trying to figure out other pesky "real life" issues, I was excited to plan some alpine outings.

On a Thursday morning I met a new partner, Travis, in Sisters. We were going to climb Three Fingered Jack by its south ridge. This easy "5.2" route is standard Cascade volcanic choss... and by choss I mean a badly constructed sand castle several hundred feet high. There are some bands of more solid rock but they are so isolated and fractured that it doesn't really improve anything. I digress...

Looking west from low on the ridge.
We left the car shortly after 6am, starting at the PCT trail head on Santiam Pass. The hike went quickly and we had no problem finding the climbers trail (a lack of snow can be nice I guess). After scrambling up the ridge we figured we should actually use the rope and pro that we had brought and pitched out "The Crawl." Apparently people literally crawl across this ledge on all fours. This seems a little overly-dramatic and not very effective so we stayed upright.

Travis tackles a short step.
After that we simuled up some more easy scree and a chimney (the 5.2 crux!) with tons of knobby holds that all seemed ready to pop off. I belayed from some rappel tat thinking the summit was just above on solid looking rock. We then left the rope, which we soon regretted, and continued around the corner onto very loose conglomerate. After a step the ridge narrowed, just before the true summit. Gripping the knife edge and scooting toward the summit it felt like the whole thing was moving and was easy to believe the first ascent party's statement that the whole mountain swayed in the wind. This is confidence inspiring stuff... NOT!

Smokey views to the east.
We photoed a bit and down climbed to the rope. One rap and a reverse lead of The Crawl went fast. Then interminable scree and a hike out (which always seems longer than the hike in) got us to the car around 12:30. Yay! Now I still have time to move more stuff into the new apartment.

Travis approaches the summit on a sketchy knife edge ridge.

The south ridge from the summit, Mt. Washington in the distance.

Jefferson to the north from the summit.

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