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 Oregon Mountaineering Association
oma@i-world.net

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OMA Annual Climb of
Three Fingered Jack and Mt Washington

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Our entire class/climb program is currently on hold.

Alternatives

Commercial (See the guides page) - As far as we know the only commercial permit holder for this is Timberline Mountain Guides. They have one-day climbs of Mt Washington scheduled at $210. We assume privately arranged climbs are possible, probably at a higher rate. (Our cost was $75 if done alone or $125 for both Washington and Three Fingered Jack. We did this once per year for at least five years with a perfect success rate.) It may be possible to directly make private arrangements with other guides/services in our listing.

Clubs (See the links pages for the websites) - The Mazamas schedule climbs of these two peaks for either a very low cost or free (as a member). They seem to be doing Washington frequently and Three Fingered Jack much less commonly. They are known for large group sizes which climb slowly and many other parties try to avoid these peaks when a large group like this is known to be climbing. The Obsidians in Eugene have been known to do these peaks once in a while, and when our group passed them one year they appeared to be well prepared and had a small group.

Outlook for Future OMA Climbs

None. As much as this trip was anticipated and enjoyed by both participants and leaders over the 5+ years we did it we simply see no way to continue. Both mountains are owned by the Forest Service and they obviously don't want us there.

It remains possible for any OMA member to organize an unofficial trip with fellow members using the website. The group must have its own equipment and the OMA cannot officially provide logistical support, promotion, or equipment. To do so would open the door for new potential problems with the US Forest Service. A few members have attempted to organize this, but without scheduling it with certainty and requring a modest fee it seems that people are too non-committal and it just hasn't come together.

Original Information from our Trips

The Climbs:

These two peaks are a bit different from most of the other higher volcano climbs in Oregon. These climbs are both suitable for beginners with no other experience or background. (Given appropriate guidance and leadership. Otherwise some previous experience would be wise.) Both are about a 3000' climb from the trailhead to the summit and are reasonable one day climbs. An alpine start (before sunrise) is not necessary. An early one is. It is possible to register to do either one of the peaks or both, with most people opting to try both.

Neither involves any snow or ice travel. Both involve some rock climbing, but it is not technically difficult (about 5.0-5.1 in reality, although sport climbers used to wearing rock shoes and not accustomed to a mountain environment often estimate the difficulty at 5.6 or so). There are sections of climbing on both peaks which are very exposed where a rope will be used to belay each climber. Each peak involves at least one rappel on the descent.

The route on Three Fingered Jack is on the South Ridge and gets a lot of sun. The route on Washington is on the North Ridge, which can be quite a bit cooler depending on weather conditions.

Our success rate on Three Fingered Jack is 100%. On Mt Washington we have had 2-3 people, total over the years, who have decided not to continue on the technical upper part of the mountain. In the case of early season snow or ice Mt Washington can be much more difficult and intimidating due to the northerly exposure of the route. One year a retreating Mazama party reported hopeless conditions due to verglass covering everything leading to the saddle but our team was able to safely summit anyway. Another year we tried a second climb a bit later than our main one to accommodate some interest within the club and were unable to make adequate progress in the new snow. Even with these occasional challenges the vast majority of our members who have tried the climb have made it.

Prerequisites:

None. This climb may not be appropriate for those uncomfortable with exposure (i.e. scared by heights). The most exposed areas will be protected with the use of a rope, but both routes have long and direct views down steep terrain.

Location:

Both of these peaks are near Santiam Pass on US Hwy 20/22. Each can be climbed in a day from a car camp in the pass. Pizza and beer in Sisters the night between the two climbs has been an OMA tradition.

Cost and Registration:

The OMA is a nonprofit organization. We do not price our courses for profit. In order to provide the highest quality of service to our members, the courses must support their share of direct and related expenses. Most of the work to develop and support our educational programs is done by dedicated and hard working volunteers. This helps to keep costs down. Details on the cost, registration policy and climb date(s) will be provided upon request to OMA members.

Included:

All group equipment. Logistical support. Not included are transportation, food, and personal equipment (which can be rented if necessary).

Group Size:

Limited to four per leader.

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