Mt. Jefferson 2012 Mar 4
Fred Knight and Mike Gates

mapWe started early, found the trailhead behind the cog railway station, and did a great hike up to Mt Jefferson. Three and a half hours later, as we broke out of the trees before the final 800' ascent to Gulfside Trail, we got the 360-degree view of the Presidential Range, cog railway, and valley below. After reaching the Gulfside Trail, with only a little wind and temperatures in the late teens or twenties, we took 90 minutes to get to Jefferson, losing the trail on the final ascent. After a 15-minute break, we returned, taking 3 hours to reach the bottom and arriving back at 4:45.

On the way up we used snowshoes most of the way. Only a little snow at the start but drifts and more depth made the snowshoes the right choice. We were passed by a Dad and his two teenagers, on their way for Dad to complete his winter 48. We thought there was only one set of footprints ahead of us, but it turned out to be two Canadians, who turned around due to the diffculty of climbing without snowshoes. The snow is ~3' deep at higher elevations, but the trail is pretty well packed---only a few post-holes from off-trail missteps. We doffed our snowshoes at 4700' and had no trouble with microspikes (Fred) or crampons (Mike) until coming back down. Descent was at a healthy clip as the new snow gave a superb cushion. I only took a couple tumbles. Total time: 5 hrs up and 3 hrs down.

Across the ridge, there were some groovy snowy rock formations. We met a few other hiker pairs. We had to bushwhack up Mt Jefferson when we lost the trail, but the only impediment was the 1200' elevation gain. A few drifts but mostly crusty snow that allowed us to stay on top. Wind picked up in the afternoon, but nothing blustery. I tried a few different mittens for some cold-weather tests adn found the heavy wool ones from Natick Outdoor Store out-preformed the others. If there is not moisture, the wool is great.

Snow started as we reached Mt. Jefferson and continued until we got back to the car. Before that, no blue sky but high clouds---great contrast for the snow-covered peaks. No hint of snow in Twin Mountain on the way home.

Summary: ~12 miles RT, ~8.25 hrs, 3800' total elevation rise (incl. 1200' up Mt Jefferson)

--Fred (aka tarpman)


Trail views.
Click once to get full field; click again to get higher resolution and pan across image.
jewell jewellPS
Note: Photoshop on right panorama with Steve Smith's method: Photoshop>File>Automate>PhotoMerge... Auto, Blend, Vignette Removal, Geometric Distortion Correction. hugin for left.
previous next Fred's Home 21 images
Mike tries on the microspikes
Mike tries on the microspikes
Snow depth started at a few inches, with a few drifts.
Jewell Trail near the base
Jewell Trail near the base
Drifting started in open areas.
Footing fine with microspikes
Footing fine with microspikes
Switch to snowshoes
Switch to snowshoes
Ice caked from West
Ice caked from West
But very little exposed ice; hkers wore microspikes, cramons, or snowshoes
Toward Mts. Monroe, Eisenhower, Pierce
Toward Mts. Monroe, Eisenhower, Pierce
Emerging from the trees gave us this vista south; see panorama as well
The father and 2 teenagers passed us
The father and 2 teenagers passed us
Dad was completing his WInter 48 with Jefferson; we missed the celebration.
View of Eisenhower and Pierce (left) and cog railway.
View of Eisenhower and Pierce (left) and cog railway.
We started at the base parking lot.
P1010443
P1010443
Still closer to Gulfside, ~5000'
Still closer to Gulfside, ~5000'
The last 800' up to Gulfside Trail is a slog; we bushwhacked as soon as we saw the cairns
Mts. Mike, Monroe, Eisenhower, and Pierce
Mts. Mike, Monroe, Eisenhower, and Pierce
I had just started the bushwhack to Gulfside Tr.
P1010446
P1010446
P1010447
P1010447
P1010448
P1010448
P1010449
P1010449
P1010450
P1010450
P1010451
P1010451
P1010452
P1010452
P1010453
P1010453
P1010454
P1010454
P1010455
P1010455