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Mount Jefferson Reconnaissance Redux

On Sunday Craig Faiman, Ed Gilman, Judith Havas and Greg Swanson made a run up the southwest ridge route in search of a high camp. At 7,750' we found a sheltered site with a base of smooth sand, a view of Broken Top through Mount Washington and running water nearby at the base of a snowfield. In decimal minutes the camp is at N44 39.531 W121 48.033. See the map below.

Easy climbers' trails take off from both the north and south ends of Mud Hole Lake. The trails converge to a single trail that follows the low terrain. After a mile the trail ends at the base of a moraine. We continued over the moraine and up the gully on a scree trail. After gaining the col we scrambled over boulders through another gully. Above that gully we found the camp. In reviewing a previous e-mail from a climber familiar with the route, I believe another option - and a better option - is to traverse east from the base of the moraine up to the east edge of the east ridge of the gully, then continue up the mountain from there. The ridge route, if there, would avoid the seven-tenths of a mile of moraine, scree and boulders below the camp.

On this second trip we hiked in from the Woodpecker Ridge trail head after having hiked the Pamelia trail last time. The higher end of the Woodpecker Ridge trail goes through some useless elevation undulations. My sense was the undulations did not amount to much. A review of the GPS log shows 50' lost and gained. The point of using the Woodpecker Ridge trailhead is to avoid the Pamelia limited-access area (see the map below). The limited-access area stretches all the way to Hunts and Hanks Lakes and includes the standard Shale Lake camping spot for climbers using the southwest ridge route. A special permit can be avoided by starting from Woodpecker Ridge and using a high camp. Also, there are many opportunities for a low camp outside the limited-access area just uphill from Mud Hole Lake.


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