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Mount Jefferson

Technical ascent of Oregon's second-tallest volcano.

Alpine Climbing Difficult

33 km
2.3 km
2.3 km
Low Point
939 m
High Point
3.2 km
Mount Jefferson Map

10,495-foot Mount Jefferson ranks below Mount Hood as the second-tallest peak in the state of Oregon. "With over 5,777 feet of prominence, Jefferson is one of the 57 ultra-prominent peaks of the contiguous United States and is only one of four peaks on this list from Oregon,” writes Fred Spicker on SummitPost.org. This stratovolcano soars above the landscape and is visible from miles around, making it an attractive mountaineering objective.


While this peak isn’t quite as tall as Mount Hood, it should not be underestimated. According to SummitPost, its summit pinnacle requires "Class 4 scrambling on very steep, usually ice-encrusted rock.” Consequently, it’s considered one of the most difficult volcanoes to climb.

The Pamelia Lake route mapped here runs over 20 miles from trailhead to summit and back again. Along the way, it gains over 7,500 feet of elevation. Consequently, some climbers split this ascent into a multi-day effort, pitching a basecamp before the main push to the summit. Approaching from this side requires a permit, but it is a highly-acclaimed route to the summit.

Even before you reach the technical Class 4 or Class 5 rock climbing to reach the summit, you’ll have to navigate across several steep snowfields during the main ascent up the summit. All climbers should be prepared for technical glacier travel, technical rock climbing and mountaineering, and all manner of difficult obstacles.

Sources: PeakBagger.com SummitPost.org



The beginning of truly technical terrain which might involve pitched climbing on rock and/or ice, exposed terrain and complex route finding in ascent and descent. Equivalent to AD, AD+

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

The majority of the route is "no fall" terrain.


4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

between July and September

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Guidebooks in this area