Three Fingered Jack
July 19, 2003
Around 7 p.m. Friday evening we encamped at the Santiam Pass PCT trail head. Compensating for the lack of mosquitoes was a roaring generator on a nearby RV! We had a couple of hours to ponder an early a.m. retaliation before the “camper” shut it down, allowing us a bit of a woodsy quietude. We “quietly” set out at 4:50 a.m. the next day. It was warm, calm and dry at the start, but as we ascended into the recent snow melt zone our “friends” got on our case! Following the PCT we reached the start of the climbers trail by 7 a.m. Moving upward without a beak, we made the saddle on the south ridge, and continued higher. Not to be outdistanced, the mosquitoes “helped” us rig our fixed rope for the “crawl” as well as a second rope for an overhead belay at the chimney! Along with the antique piton at the overhang, there’s now a newer one driven into the surface of the outward sloping ledge just above this crux area (at least until the FS yanks it out as not being “PC” for a wilderness area). A pair of 20-somethings caught up to us at the chimney, and played on through, bare footing the chimney pitch free. They did however, avail themselves of our overhead belay rope for their descent!
We all topped out in warm, calm, clear weather, to our first mosquito free, if precarious, rest stop at 11:30 a.m. After a few good photo-ops, and high-5s, we started down around 12:15 p.m. One 70' rappel got us from the very top to the base of the chimney. As the breeze picked up, we were allowed a good lunch, and summit book break just below the crawl. From there, it was an easy, and fast descent back down the ridge, and existing scree trail to the cairn marking the climbers trail. It was 2:50 p.m. by this time, and 2 more hours of pleasant hiking, we arrived back at the TH, no worse for wear. Toasting to our success with a chilled bottle of Martinelli’s cider, we concurred that it had been an altogether good adventure; even the mosquitoes got something (of us) out of it!
Climbers were John Cooper, Larry Dunlap, Lee Schaffner, Greg Zupansic, and Chris Miller, leader.
— photos by Chris Miller