Jefferson Park Glacier
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This is one of the most scenic routes in the book, if not on the entire Pacific Crest. Don’t have your sights set on the summit unless you are an expert mountaineer and rock climber; the headwall, knife-edge ridge, and summit pinnacle are technical glacier and rock climbing. For the best combination of good turns but easy approach, go in summer when the snow is melted from the approach trail and Jefferson Park area.
Because of the long approach and the long, steady climb up the glacier, this is best done as an overnight. You can sleep at the trailhead and make it halfway up the snowfield and back in a day—but it’s a long trip. The descent will likely be in afternoon slush, and you will miss the beauty of camping at Jefferson Park. Better to plan two days, and camp at Jefferson Park. You can ski all three routes included here (Routes 32–34) in a long weekend and explore the area.
Start Point: Whitewater creek trailhead, 4100 feet
High Point: Jefferson Park glacier, 9000 feet
Trail Distance: 14 miles
Trail time: 10 hours
Skill Level: Advanced
Best Season: Summer
(Trail description courtesy of Backcountry Ski & Snowboard Routes: Oregon by Christopher Van Tilburg)
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A related Trip Idea
The Jefferson Wilderness is just north of Santiam Pass, with a burn area that stretches for miles and has an eerie quality to it. The stark white trees stand tall and sterile against the sky, bright green and yellow vegetation growing abundantly…