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Date:  February 15-16, 2005

Location  Whitewater Snow Camping

Where:  Mt Jefferson Wilderness


 During Monday's ski trip, John and I got quite pumped up on skiing, and began to discuss making an overnight trip into Jeff Park. We knew we had to make definite plans to do it or it would just slip by. I had to work Thursday, so if we were going to do it this week while the weather was good, that left Tuesday and Wednesday. After several cell phone conversations with Lon Carlson, we decided on taking the Whitewater Trail route, and then hurriedly we packed our snow camping gear Monday night, and Tuesday morning we left Salem to drive up Whitewater Road as far as possible. We drove as far as we thought prudent, which was about 3500 ft elevation, about 2 miles short of the Whitewater Trailhead. Skiing up the rest of the road was not a problem, and arriving at the Trailhead at 4100 ft, we took a break in the warm sunshine.

Jim at Whitewater Trailhead

The next section of trail went fairly well too, but as we gained elevation the snow deepened, and more effort was required to break the trail. Eventually we were pushing 10 to 12 inches of snow, which soon took its toll on us with no other skiers to share breaking the trail.

John breaking trail

It became evident that we would not make the Park, and we began to think of an alternate camping site. We ended up stopping in the saddle of the Sentinel Hills ridge at about 5500 ft to make camp, where we had a view of Mt Jefferson through the trees.

Jim & Mt Jefferson in evening light

After setting up camp and having dinner we took a stroll up the trial to an unobstructed view of Mt Jefferson in the fading daylight. By 6:00 we sought the shelter of our tents, and the warmth of our bags, to wait out tomorrow's light.

I'd like to report that the next morning the trip back down to the car was a breeze, but snow conditions had deteriorated, with some areas of icy crust, forcing us to walk a good part of the way.

snow camp