The high point in the South Ridge of Three-Fingered Jack is a nice off-trail
hike in the summer, and a popular ski destination in winter.
Routes: South Side (Grade I, Class 2, moderate ski descent)
|References: Jeff Thomas, Oregon High Keep Climbing Press (Portland, OR 1991)|
Party: Dietrich Belitz solo
Time: 3 hrs 40 mins from Santiam Pass to Summit; 2 hrs 5 mins from summit to pass, 6 hrs 35mins roundtrip
Comments: Little trail breaking, some ice
I started from Santiam Pass Sno Park around 9:30am and followed a good skin track up the ridge.
A slow-moving storm was coming, it was cold, and a strong wind was blowing. The ridge was icy,
and impressively corniced. After two hours I reached the traverse above Summit Lake and mostly
continued to follow the pre-existing skin tracks. This party cannot have been far ahead of me,
the tracks were at the very most 24 hours old, but I never saw any trace of them, nor did I
find any descent tracks. As I climbed, the views got more and more impressive, and the wind
stronger and stronger, and on the summit I was immersed in formidable spin-drift blizzard.
There was a sustained wind of at least 25mph, with higher gusts. I dug a small trench, got
the stove going on the third attempt, made some lunch, and enjoyed the view. The snow was not
ideal for skiing; it somehow was both sandy and heavy, turning was hard, and my skis tended to
catch at the end of each turn. It did not help that I had neglected to put some fresh wax on.
After the traverse I put my skins back on until I reached the meadows, and then had an
enjoyable glide back to the sno park. I did not meet a soul on the entire trip, not even a bird.
For earlier ascents, click here .