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

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Hans S.
Peter P.
Robin C.
Terry J.
Olivier F.
Date:Saturday, April 1, 2006
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Point Reached:Jim Hill Mountain - North Slope
    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
    Total Elevation Gain:4350 ft / 1325 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4350 ft / 1325 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Skis, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4350 ft / 1325 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3350 ft / 1022 m; Extra: 1000 ft / 304m
    Loss on way in:1000 ft / 304 m
    Start Trailhead:US 2-Ventilator Station  2900 ft / 883 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3350 ft / 1021 m
    End 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
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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