Three Fingered Jack

August 6, 2000

Eight valiant and determined climbers assaulted the nefarious Three Fingered Jack. Two weeks previously, the same group had been stymied in their campaign to conquer the insolent beast. On that occasion they were defeated on the summit ridge by 40 to 50 mph winds that plastered them with cloud condensate. Though wet and contemplative, they resolved to counterattack at the earliest opportunity. Thus, upon retreating to the trailhead, plans to re-assault the summit were immediately laid down and were subsequently carried out with grim determination on August 6. The group consisted of two experienced mountaineers and six neophytes who, though having had past experience in other mountain campaigns, had never conquered this precipitous foe.

As it turned out, timing proved to be everything; the weather was warm and sunny, the mosquitoes were few and far between, and the Mazamas were late to arise, despite having established an advanced base camp three miles ahead of the line of departure (trailhead). After a rapid transit along the PCNST, we conducted a maneuver and ascent of the South Ridge, from where we had a clear shot at the summit. The “crawl” was successfully negotiated, fixed lines were established, and the column moved steadily ahead. Arriving at the chimney leading to our target objective, we rapidly deployed our gear and set up for the final assault. One at a time, in true Roger’s Rangers fashion, we infiltrated up the chimney and bam, vanquished our foe. Each climber enjoyed several moments of solitude on the summit, savoring the tremendous view, the horrific exposure, and the exhilaration of victory on a day of brilliant sunshine. Climbers were flushed with success and contentedness as we conducted a mellow, though occasionally wild, withdrawal. Exuberant summiteers fired off snowballs at one another in celebration of their success. Kristine was successfully ambushed (paid back) approximately 2.5 miles shy of the trailhead. Eventually, we regrouped at the parking lot at 4:00 p.m., 11.5 hours since departing on our campaign of victory. John Manotti spurred us to rejoice one last time with a special chant he had devised to celebrate our PMA (positive mental attitude). It had been a recurring theme throughout our ordeal Wonderful and successful climbers included Mark Slipp, Steven Still, Kristine Nelson, Benjamin Donner, Doug Nelson (assistant leader), John & Lisa Manotti, and last but not least, Bunny (our inanimate mascot), whose presence on the summit was documented by photograph by John. Thanks and commendations to all these good troopers, especially Doug for his assist, for they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Karl Kriegh, leader.

ADDENDUM —Anyone who ever has the chance to sign the summit book should take the time to review some of the touching tribute written by George Jobanek in honor of Lee Hatch, who passed on some years ago. It is good to honor those who have gone before us, for they helped blaze the trails we follow in the present. Lee’s ashes reside on the summit of Three Fingered Jack. May he rest in peace.

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