Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Washington

July 30-31, 2005

Four of us set out at 6:00 a.m. from the Pacific Crest Trailhead to try and summit Three Fingered Jack. A good pace got us to the crawl by 10:00 a.m. Along the ridge we ran into two climbers who had thought that the crawl was 500 yards before it actually was. Due to their mistake we were able to pass on the clear trail to the left while they clung to a rock wall with over 2,000 feet of exposure. We fixed a line across and past the crawl. All the time we were wondering where the woman who had died on the mountain a week earlier had actually fallen, but we never found out. We got to the chimney at 11:00 a.m., and because we had a small group we were able to all reach the summit and descend the chimney in only 45 minutes. We then crossed the crawl again with great care and ran into a group of eight doctors from Salem. Luckily, they told us that a group of 12 Chemeketans were leaving for Mt. Washington, tomorrow’s destination, at 5:30 a.m. After this meeting we descended with little trouble and met Virgil and Kim in the parking lot exactly as they were pulling in. Now six strong we went to Papa Andrea’s for dinner, and then to the PCT Trailhead for the night.

We got going at 5:00 a.m. this time, in order to beat the Chemeketans up. Unfortunately, half of our group had heard car doors slam and climbers start out at 3:30 a.m. These people weren’t the Chemeketans starting earlier then expected, but rather they were a group of eight Mazamas spoiling our early start. Regardless of this though, we made it to the saddle in good time and all summited by 11:00, with some of that time spent waiting for the Mazamas. After an hour lunch break on top we alternated with the ascending Chemeketans so after one of their group came up, one of ours would come down. Descending to the belay ledge went well with only a tumble that gave me a large scrape on my shoulder preventing a perfect descent. At the belay ledge, half of us rappelled and half down climbed. The real trouble came when we had to descend the scree field behind the Mazamas. Their group acted as if the scree was molten lava and they took what seemed like a lifetime to get down. On the hike out we passed the Mazamas even though they had left an hour and a half before us. The rest of the hike out was taken at an easy pace in order to not kill our feet.

Climbers summiting just Mt. Washington were Virgil Lamb and Kim Sawyer. Climbers summiting both mountains were Wayne Deeter, Craig Renkert, George Jobanek (Asst. Leader), and Andy Jobanek (Leader).

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