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Ascent to Jim Hill Mountain-North Slope on 2006-04-01

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Hans
Peter
Robin
Jake
Terry
Olivier
Date:Saturday, April 1, 2006
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Point Reached:Jim Hill Mountain - North Slope
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:6250 ft / 1905 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was my second Mountaineers backcountry ski trip of the winter. We met at a park-and-ride in Bothell in the pouring rain, and our leader Hans expressed confidence that it would turn to snow up in the mountains. Sure enough, Stevens Pass was a raging blizzard and I appreciated the winter driving skills of Terry as he drove up and over to the parking area, a few miles down to the east from the pass.

We got prepared and took off at about 9 AM. We crossed US 2 to the south side, and found a logging road that gently switchbacked uphill for a few minutes. Then Hans carefully picked a spot and we struck off into the woods. In the thick trees the snow had not accumulated much, and the snow was crunchy. It was challenging to ski up through the trees, but nowhere near as bad as my trip the previous December.

After some uphill and kick-turns, we made a long, gently rising traverse through nice forest, crossing slide paths where snow was still falling heavily. Soon we came out into more open terrain in the Henry Creek valley, and headed more directly uphill. A tricky section of forest was passed--many of us had terrible problems with sticky snow collecting on the base our ski skins. We all borrowed some skin wax from Peter (I think) which helped.

The last part of the ascent was in beautiful, open meadows. It was not quite a white-out, but still snowing and very overcast, and visibility was poor. I was keen to make the summit, but it was not in the cards at all. We finally halted at about 6250 feet, about 500 feet short of the top, and prepared for a ski run in the foot of new powder snow.

It was great skiing. We were all on randonee gear, except for Peter on a split-board. But my old skis were not the newer "fat skis" and I had problems with the deep stuff. Eventually I got the hang of it a little, but still fell more than anyone else.

After skiing down to the base of the meadowed area, about 1000' down, we skied up again for another run. I usually don't like to yo-yo, but the snow was worth it and the climb the second time in our old tracks was easy--we didn't even have snow-glop accumulation problems.

I fell even more on our second run, and even though there was some sentiment for a third, it was getting late. So we continued down, through the forest, more meadows, and then the traverse. The snow got heavier and heavier as we went down, and it was true "cascade concrete" by time we entered the woods for good. The snow was now rain, and we were thoroughly soaked to the skin by now.

The traverse was OK--easy cruising between trees without turning--but the final descent through tight trees on crusty, icy crud to the logging road I found pretty miserable.

We were back at the cars by about 5 PM, wet and tired, but the turns in deep, untracked stuff up high had been worth it. We did not see anyone else on the entire trip.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4350 ft / 1326 m
    Elevation Loss:4350 ft / 1326 m
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Skis, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:4350 ft / 1326 m
    Extra Loss:1000 ft / 304 m
    Trailhead:US 2-Ventilator Station  2900 ft / 883 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3350 ft / 1022 m
    Trailhead:US 2-Ventilator Station  2900 ft / 883 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
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