Marion County High Point Trip Report

unnamed point on the north ridge of Mount Jefferson (9,000+ ft)

Date: August 9, 2003
Authors: Bob Bolton and Dean Molen

We met at the town of Detroit and drove to the Whitewater Creek TH (see Ken Jones' report). The weather was iffy with swirling clouds obscuring Mount Jefferson for most of the day, however the views from the trail were spectacular. We arrived at Jefferson Park in good time, then headed south per Ken's report.

There were many use trails all over the scree/talus slopes, all of which converged on the north/south lateral moraine leading to the toe of the Jefferson Park Glacier. The scree is loose, but the footing was adequate, making the ascent not too difficult. Where the two ridges converge near the glacier, we turned southeast toward the north ridge of Jefferson. We reached that ridge just north of a hump which was directly above our approach ridge. As the boulders on the north ridge got bigger, we moved around to the east side and ascended the much easier snow to the saddle about 0.1 mile north of the HP. As we approached the county line we touched everything in sight until we were sure we had climbed well into Linn County.

On the descent we dropped from the saddle down the west side of the north ridge on wonderful scree, then connected to our ascent route by descending a snow arm of the Jefferson Park Glacier. Farther below we tried a different use trail than the one we had ascended, and when it petered out in a draw filled with close growing young conifers, we moved to an adjacent wooded ridge where we found our way down to the meadows near Whitewater Creek, then on to the trail, returning to the cars just before needing our headlamps.

We believed that the total elevation gain was over 5,000 feet, but there's no way to prove it because the TH and the trail itself is not the same as the one on the USGS quad. This is a big effort, and doing it in two days, camping at Jefferson Park for a night, would make lots of sense.

photos in my Oregon County Highpoints album