July 26-28, 2002
Most of the people in this group were with me last year when we were turned back by weather in our attempt to climb Jeff via the Whitewater Glacier route. Our luck proved to be better this year. A strong group, fine weather and good conditions on the mountain, combined with persistence, got us all to the summit at last. (For one of our party, this was a fourth attempt.)
Day one was a slog, but we took our time and enjoyed the good company and great scenery as we lugged overnight packs and climb gear up to “The Beach” at 8200 ft. Mild weather and a good stiff hike enhanced our appetites and assured, at least the leader, of a good night’s sleep in preparation of the next day’s climb.
On summit day we started with the early light. From our high camp it took very little time to reach the glacier. Crampon conditions were good and, though there were some impressive crevasses opening up, route finding on the glacier and accessing the southeast ridge were not difficult. Our trip up the ridge was lengthened a bit by some backtracking due to travel up the wrong side. (Note to self: When taking along an experienced companion, listen to his advice!) When we finally reached the Red Saddle we found the traverse to be in fine shape, steep but firm, and even a short section of moat to make the going easier. A two rope fixed line got us to the shoulder, and a third fixed rope to the base of the summit pinnacle. From there it was an easy scramble to the top. (Once again, experience being key. The leader didn’t hit the easy scramble!) It is a fine view from that summit and was made especially gratifying because Deb Carver had bagged her Tenth Peak.
We were intrigued by watching the Cache Mountain fire as it spread throughout the day, adding its wind whipped plume of smoke to the brown pall that seemed to lie over the whole state. But, despite the great view and grim fascination of distant burning forests, we did not spend much time at the top, for with the summit the climb is only half finished. The trip back to camp was uneventful, the glacier’s surface had remained firm and all went well as we returned. I think the real elation of a successful climb comes as the tents come into sight.
Another peaceful evening of well-earned rest, followed by a fine lazy morning and a good hike out, completed this most satisfying outing. My thanks to all for their companionship and help on this challenging mountain. Special thanks to John Pegg for his more than able assistance, and special congratulations to Deb Carver on her completion of the Ten Peaks.
Climbers (members all) were: Deb Carver, Dan Hagen, John Manotti, Lisa Manotti, John Pegg, Brian Roddy and Doug Nelson (leader).