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Three Fingered Jack, South Route

Since we have had to cancel just about everything on the climb schedule so far this year for bad weather or deep snow, we decided that we were going to do Jack on its scheduled date come hell or high water. So what if there is a little snow on the mountain. After all, didn't Bill Geibel, who was up on the east side of Jack several weeks ago, say its just a "Recent dusting on the mountain (that) will go away with a couple of warm days"

So Saturday morning at 4:00 am three of us, Dana and Rich Margosian and Ed Gillman (all of Bend), headed up from the Santiam trail head in a typical Oregon mist. No biggie, we'll climb out of it, said our intrepid leader. At around 6,000' we hit snow on the trail. Again the vastly experienced leader noted, as "mist" dripped off his visor, "no problemo, snow cover will make the scree climb to the ridge easier".

And the snow got deeper. And softer. At about 6,400 the PCT had disappeared altogether, and post holing became the order of the day. We thought, wouldn't it be good to hit the ridge a little early and avoid all this fun on the trail? Besides, we will no doubt climb above the mist. About 500' later we hit the ridge top. Miraculously, we hadn't climbed above the mist. But now we had the benefit of a gentle western breeze to help us keep our directional orientation. To make things more interesting, the "mist", aided by the gentle breeze, was now making horizontal ice stalactites (or mites?) on the krumholtz and rocks.

"Let's push on", insisted the brave and relentless leader. "No, no", whined the weak and timid followers. "Surmounting seemingly insurmountable obstacles breeds character", stated the wise and witty leader. "But we're cold and wet and hungry and tired" cried the others. Knowing that the safety and well being of his party was of the utmost importance, the sage leader relented and we headed back down after making it to just shy of 7,000'.

Thanks Geibel, we plan to blame this all on you.


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