Three Fingered Jack

July 6, 2002

Planning an early Saturday morning assault on 3-Fingered Jack, we rendezvoused Friday evening at the Santiam Pass PCT trail head. The official “Cascades greeting committee” was hungrily awaiting our arrival, and relentlessly escorted us everywhere, except up on the South Ridge! Following introductions, and gear organization, we bailed into our mosquito resistant tents (and car). We were awakened at 4 the next morning by a group of door slamming Mazamas. So much for our being first on the summit! North of the Santiam Lake Trail junction, snow covered most of the PCT. Route finding, at least on the ascent, was not too critical, as we merely followed the narrowing crest of Jack’s south ridge until it intersected the climber’s trail below the saddle. Returning was trickier, since we had to reacquire the bare trail, lest we miss the trail head parking lot. Due to the switchbacks, inconsistent foot tracks in the snow, and the ridge flattening out near the Pass, a map and compass proved very useful in finding the PCT. The assault on the summit proved to be much less of a hassle. The day was calm, sunny and almost too hot. Our small group was up to the exposure, and technical challenge, so we moved quickly up past the Crawl. We used the safety line already rigged by the Mazamas, catching up to them as they were descending the summit block. We topped out around 12:30. Pretty good, considering the earlier route finding delays on (and off) the PCT. Dan Hagen lead the final pitch to the top. Ed noted that a large part of the notorious “loose flake” in this pitch had broken away since his last visit. There is now an open face in the area where once there was but a crack. After heroically standing (while sanely belayed) on the summit pinnacle for photo ops, we made an efficient descent. Dan set our own fixed rope back down through the Crawl. Triumphantly returning to the cars by 8 PM, we toasted our success with a chilled bottle of Martinelli’s cider. Climbers were: Marsha Barr, Dan Hagen, Ed Lovegren, Greg Milliman and Chris Miller (leader).

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