August 3-5, 2001
Friday morning, August 3, was cloudy and pleasantly cool when
eight Obsidians gathered at the Whitewater Creek trailhead to
start the hike into, and past, the beautiful Jefferson Park Meadows
on the north side of Mt. Jefferson.
Despite warnings that weather conditions would “not be optimal”,
it was our hope to climb the mountain on Saturday via the Whitewater Glacier
route from a high (8000 ft.) camp on the moraine between the Whitewater and
Jefferson Park glaciers.
Despite the frequently limited visibility and intermittent rain we
took advantage of the occasional break as we hauled overnight packs and
climb gear up snow slopes, talus and scree to “The Beach”.
There is limited protections from the wind at this small, but aptly named,
sandy basin (complete with tiny lake) in the high moraine.
And wind became the element to contend with as solid gusts pushed us around
as we neared our elusive camp.
Pitching the tents required cooperation and extra staking to prevent them
from blowing away down the mountain.
Cooking was a challenge, too, with stoves tucked behind whatever sheltering
rocks were available.
After carrying a heavy pack up 4000 ft. you know that dinner will taste
good, even if everything is spiced with a little sand.
Despite all our wishful thinking the night brought no respite from the
Some of us slept better than others and those who were awake said that even
the constant popping and flapping of the tents could not drown out the
snoring of the leader.
In fact there was even some question as to the source of all that breeze!
In the morning there was no change.
Significant winds and very limited visibility seemed the order of the day
on the upper mountain.
So it was with some disappointment, but no lack of unanimity, that we
decided we were not meant to reach the summit this trip.
Instead of rising early and climbing, we slept in and enjoyed a leisurely
(if sandy) breakfast, before packing up wet tents and heading back down to
Despite being turned back it was a good outing, a fine workout and a
chance to enjoy the truly great outdoors with friends.
Maybe we’ll have better luck on the weather next time.
Would-be climbers were
John & Lisa Manotti,