|Three Fingered Jack
|Remember to get a Wilderness permit at the trailhead|
Find the climbers trail off the PCT about 5 miles in, there is a very large cairn marking the climbers trail so don't jump the gun to get on the ridge to early! Follow the climbers trail uphill onto the ridge proper then traverse the ridge uphill towards the summit plug. The trail is easy to follow and you don't need or really want to rope up till the traverse about 250 vertical feet below the summit, at this point most will rope up for the very low 5th class traverse that has some good exposure on the east side. On the traversing pitch there are two fixed pins for you to clip and the rest of the reliable protection comes from slung horns for your belays, this can be done as one or two pitches depending on rope length, 70m required to do as one. Next head up a short scree slope towards the summit plug and then encounter a short chimney/water runnel, head up the steep (5.2) chimney towards you next belay station (a slung horn) and set another belay here. At this point the rock quality improves and if you aren't unnerved by 3000 foot exposure then a short easy scramble will take you to the summit, for those without nerves of steel you can rope up for a very short, and surprisingly enough, well protected pitch to the summit. There is a slung horn on the summit to rappel back to the top of the chimney pitch. From there use the next rappel station to get you back to the short scree section before the traverse, scamble down the scree slope and set up a belay for someone to re-lead the traverse pitch. Alternately if you have a larger group or bring a second rope with you then you could have left the traverse line fixed on your way up and just have people prussik back across the traverse. The final person will regardless have to down-lead this easy, but gritty pitch.
Some would no doubt feel very comfortable just scrambling to the top, but for those who desire protection I would say a set of nuts, a few small and med hexes, and maybe a few tcus if you want them (definitely optional on the tcus though), and some extend able draws (i brought four). Like mentioned above there are two fixed pins on the crux traverse, generally protection on the whole route is poor and definitely suspect, so be comfortable on run-outs and poor quality rock. There are two fixed rappel stations but make sure to bring extra webbing/rings to add to them if need be, and extra cordage for your horn slung belays.
3 Finger Jack South Ridge Route The final bit, pebbly low class climbing on a very...
Cairn marking the climbers trail 3 Finger Jack South Ridge Route
A view of Mount Washington from the route on 3 Fin... Heading back Nearing the top
Paul Wellner on 3 Finger Jack Oct 2012 Jonathan Wellner rappin the chimney
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
May 8, 2009
rating: Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c PG13
Mike Dean and I did this back in August of 1978 when we were young and fearless. We did the approach in flip flops and then put on our running shoes to negotiate the traverse and the summit block. We had climbing shoes a rope and some gear with us, but never broke them out of the backpack. Nowadays, I'd probably be slinging every solid looking horn and pebble I could find.
As you can see from the pictures, it was a very hot day, in the 90's, when we left the car. We're from Colorado and had done most of our climbing in the SW part of that state. We felt right at home, just like we were climbing on the volcanics of Lizard Head or Chimney Rock in the San Juans. We also had just returned from a summer job working in Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. Basalt and fresh lava was coursing through our veins.
|By Erik Bonnett|
From: Nevada City, CA
Jan 24, 2011
Since I couldn't find any information online about this route in winter I thought I'd add some.
1. WHEN TO CLIMB: Despite what Summitpost has to say, the route is great in winter. It is one of the only easily accessible winter climbs in Oregon, but without the crowds of Hood. I did the route after significant rains, which consolidated west facing snow nearly into ice. This made the ascent up the ridge very enjoyable climbing and made the approach to the mountain fast.
2. ROUTE: The traverse was mostly straight forward and snow-covered, but a rope was nice to prevent slipping into the abyss. The final chimney was harder than I'd expected. Finding something solid for an anchor at the bottom is tough, there wasn't much ice in the chimney, and I pulled off several knobs perhaps because of freeze-thaw. The knobby features make for delicate (M-scary) climbing. It felt to me like M3-4, in contrast to a direct translation from the rock grade, which would be lower.
3. GEAR. I rope soloed the technical pitches and brought a few nuts, pitons, an ice screw and ice piton. I used everything other than two of the smaller nuts and the rock pitons. The crack in the chimney is good sized; about BD 0.5-1. Were I to do the climb again, I'd also bring a large nut and a cam for the chimney. I don't think there is any reason to bring a 70m rope in winter.
| || Prominent snow field is the traverse. |
| || Looking down on the chimney from the rappel sling. The upper portion had some snow and ice, but the crux (hidden) was bare. (Might have climbed easier in mixed instead of tele boots...) |