Thursday, March 17, 2011
Hike: Mount Jefferson
5,712' @ 12 Miles
Everyone has their white whales in life and Mount Jefferson has been one of mine. Sure I've hiked it many times over the years but it's the winter ascent that has haunted me since December 2005. It was March of 2006 when I announced and celebrated my completion of the "48" peaks in winter. However, for personal reasons I've never been satisfied with the effort. The main theme of that personal reason is Mount Jefferson. So heading into this winter, with plans to move to Boulder, I made it my one and only serious "MUST DO" goal of the winter to return to Jefferson and stand atop it's rocky exposed peak.
Timing is everything. When you start trying to come up with a plan to hike a peak such as this, you need a free day (rare these days) and the perfect weather window. Last week I told my classmate Pat that, whatever day the window falls on over Spring Break, we're going up. He agreed, excitedly, and as the weather story unfolded throughout the week we figured it out. At first it looked like Wednesday was our day but as a weak disturbance rolled though we switched to Thursday. The valley forecast called for temps in the upper 40's (it was 64 back home) and the higher summits forecast still told a vastly different story. When I woke up the day of our hike and looked at the Mount Washington Obs. higher summits forecast I told Pat we had a D.F.U. situation. "What's that?" he asked so I told him. High's in the uppers 20's with winds in the 35-40mph range with high gusts. Clouds rolling in in the afternoon with winds rising to near Hurricane Force with gusts near 100 and rain over night. "Don't F&@* Up."
After our lunch time break, we put our packs back on and touched the top. I raised my hands in celebration. Where the common theme here on my blog is redemption, that's exactly what I got this day atop Mount Jefferson. I'd made it to the top of my white whale and made a personal wrong a right. I was emotional yet it was too cold to cry. I knew my tears would freeze to my cheeks so I opted instead to just start heading home.