Three Fingered Jack/Mount Washington

July 31-August 1, 2004

Our group of six climbers set out on our attempt to summit Three-Fingered Jack at 6:15 a.m. We hiked in at a good pace without killing ourselves and made it to the crawl by 10 a.m. There were two groups ahead of us by that point; one of eight and the other of two. Needless to say, to those who know the mountain, this caused quite a bottleneck and we didn’t get everyone up and down the chimney until 2:30 p.m. with a large group at our heels. The six of us then continued down to the crawl and were all across and unroped by 4:30 p.m. On the way down we shared an apple due to the fact that we were almost entirely out of water. Our tired group of climbers finally got back to the cars at 7:00 p.m. to wrap up a 13 hour day. We then drove into Sisters to share a dinner at Papa Andrea’s and continued on to the parking lot of Mount Washington to set up for our next day. Climbers included Jodi Brensike, Larry Huff, Jon Russell, Kim Sawyer, George Jobanek (Asst. Leader), and Andy Jobanek (Leader).

The next morning at 5:45, we started out from the PCT trail head bound for the top of Mount Washington. We trailed a group of 10 Mazamas who had left a half-hour earlier by headlamps. We kept a good pace and caught the Mazama group on the North Ridge not far from the saddle. Their leader was very nice and agreed to work together to get the two groups up in as little time as possible. Thus I set the first fixed line to the belay ledge, then went ahead to set the third line to the summit. She set the second line and as climbers ascended we alternated, Obsidian, Mazama, Obsidian, Mazama until all were on top. We were surprised to read in the summit book that the members of Wayne Deeter’s Obsidian climb of just the day before were witness to the recovery effort of two climbers who died on the west face of the mountain two days before. We were unaware of this drama until then. Clouds began to move in as we descended the summit block and down the scree field to the climber’s trail, and as we hiked out we were cooled by a light rain and entertained by thunder (though also unnerved for the Mazamas still making their way down from the top). When we reached the cars, it had been another 13 hour day. Climbers on Mount Washington were Rick Ahrens, Jodi Brensike, Larry Huff, Jon Russell, Andy Jobanek (Asst. Leader), and George Jobanek (Leader), the latter five all having climbed Three-Fingered Jack the day before.

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