Mt. Jefferson

Jeff Park Glacier
July 4-6, 1975

Under hot skies, seven climbers headed into Jefferson Park, on the July 4th weekend. Hiking up Sentinel Hills, more snow was encountered on trail—by the junction of the Skyline it was completely covered. At our campsite just outside the park, we were sleeping on the snow.

Saturday morning before 2 a.m. we began up the gully leading toward the moraine below Jeff Park Glacier. In just over an hour we had gained 1500', in the dark. We roped up before moving onto the glacier, after being passed by a faster group. The temperature was 58° at 0430 at 7500'. The snow had not set up at all, so crampons were never donned. We were anticipating rockfall and soft snow problems near the schrund. A strategy conference indicated our route—left around the big crevasse and attack the schrund at its lower left part.

Terry Schultz attempted to climb the overhanging soft snow and after nearly being hit by a large flat rock, decided to come down. He then attempted the rock to the left, but we decided this would take too long to get the group over safely. The snowfield to the right was sloughing soft snow as we watched. Also a serac fell just 30 feet behind another group of two. While Terry and I were on the far side of the snowfield observing another party who appeared to be having trouble on the summit ridge, Steve Hall succeeded in climbing the Schrund after multiple tries. Eventually we decided that it was too dangerous to attempt to go farther and began to head down. After lunch at our camp we packed up and headed back toward the cars.

The party was fairly well matched in physical condition and climbing ability. This was no accident as the signup sheet specified an 8 minute mile run as a minimum and pointed out the snow and ice skills necessary to do the route under normal conditions. We were able to move at a quick pace—together as a group—which led to more enjoyment. The pre-qualification of climbers for Obsidian climbs should be emphasized so that all people can share equally in the enjoyment, as well as work of each climb. Not everyone who wants to climb is qualified for every trip. Selection of team members should be an important part of a leader’s responsibility.

Climbers were: Carol Enns, Steve Hall, Kevin McManigal, Wayne Martin, Barratt Scott, Terry Schultz, and leader Steve Ross.

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