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Mount Jefferson, Oregon (10497 ft)

Mount Jefferson from the Whitewater Trail
Mount Jefferson
Jefferson Park Glacier bergschrund

Willamette National Forest
The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs

Route: South Ridge via Pamelia Lake

Start at the Pamelia Lake Trailhead (3100 feet) off of Oregon Highway 22 east of Idanha. Take the Pamilia Trail east along Pamelia Creek to Pamelia Lake and follow the trail along the north shore. At a trail junction turn left and head north towards Milk Creek and the PCNST. Along Milk Creek at the junction with the PCNST turn right and climb south above Pamelia Lake. At 7 miles from the trailhead you will pass along the west shore of Mud Lake. Just beyond this is Shale Lake (5900 feet) which offers many pleasant camp sites. Note that this is a limited access area, so you will need a special permit available from the Willamette National Forest to hike and camp on this approach route.

The climb begins by following a climbers' trail as best one can towards the South Ridge. Aim to reach the South Ridge just north of Goat Peak. Take a compass bearing towards camp or record a GPS waypoint at camp to facilitate finding camp on the return.

Climb the South Ridge towards the summit. At about 9000 feet the ridge steepens and the footing becomes less firm, but higher one can find rock outcroppings for better footing. This leads to the Red Saddle (10250 feet), just below the South Summit Pinnacle.

From the Red Saddle traverse north below the rocky summit pinnacles. Early in the season the traverse will be on steep snow, and may pass below ice hanging from the summit rock. There may also be deep runnels in the snow and the snow may be soft from its western exposure to the afternoon sun. Consider traversing high on the snow to take advantage of any moat that might be forming between the snow and the pinnacle rock.

Once across the snow traverse continue traversing east below the summit rock. You should find a "trail" leading up shattered rock to just below the summit. Here traverse right to find an easy ramp leading to a short, exposed scramble to the summit.

Descend the same route as your ascent. Take a bearing towards camp before leaving the South Ridge, especially if darkness is approaching.

Mount Jefferson's South Ridge
Traversing from the Red Saddle
Setting a fixed line to the summit
Traverse - Early Season Descent
Traverse - Late Season Descent


  1. Thomas, Jeff, Oregon High: A Climbing Guide, Keep Climbing Press, 1991.
  2. USGS Volcanoes, Mount Jefferson: http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/Jefferson/

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