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2006 Backcountry Trip Reports => June 2006 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: cascadesfreak on 06/12/06, 02:45 PM



Title: June 10, 2006; The Hamma Hamma (SE Olympic Mtns)
Post by: cascadesfreak on 06/12/06, 02:45 PM
Mt. Skokomish (Hamma Hamma Valley):

I still have never found out for sure what the native name “Hamma Hamma” translates to in English, though have come across at least one unverified anecdotal reference roughly translating the phrase as “Stinky Stinky”.  That unverified translation fits well for describing one’s scent after tackling this rigorous route.

After two previous trips to this area of the Hamma Hamma valley without skis, I figured it was high time to haul skis up here.  Skip was also eager to scope out Mount Skokomish on skis via the “Lake of the Angels” basin, though this alpine area was well guarded by a steep snow-less approach beginning at around 1,500-ft elev. and climbing ~3,000 vertical ft in less than 2 miles to reach snowline. 

All in all, we were quite happy with our ski-to-hike ratio of ~40% : ~2,000 vert ft skied after ~5,000+ vertical feet of hiking/trudging/crawling/skinning/climbing/scampering up to the top of ~6,400+ ft high Mount Skokomish.

We donned skis at snowline (~4,300-ft elev) on a southeasterly aspect, shortly after crawling our way through one of the cliffbands (http://www.cascadesfreak.com/gallery/Mt-Skokomish-HammaHammaValley-6-10-2006/DSC_0434Skip_cliffs) on the “trail” (and after ~3,000 vf of hiking).  After a portage to clear another small headwall on the “trail” the skinning was continuous (except for crossing Whitehorse Creek) up to the brilliant “Lake of the Angels” basin (http://www.cascadesfreak.com/gallery/Mt-Skokomish-HammaHammaValley-6-10-2006/DSC_0449Skip_Lake_of_the_Angels_basin) (elev. ~4,900ft) where the snowpack was still mostly over ~4-to-5 feet thick.  The clouds parted nicely upon our arrival at the basin allowing us to scope out a few additional ski  options.  We opted to continue our initial plan of climbing up Mt. Skokomish, ascending through mostly gentle terrain in the basin to reach a high pass. 

Once beyond the ~5,800-ft pass, the final portion of the ascent route led to steeper slopes (http://www.cascadesfreak.com/gallery/Mt-Skokomish-HammaHammaValley-6-10-2006/DSC_0468Skip_steeper) which had us glad we had brought our ski pons.  As the terrain on the SE face continued to get steeper (~40-to-45+ degree pitch) and more exposed, we shouldered our skis and ascended the remaining portion of our route with ice axe/pons.   

Thick clouds had rolled in reducing the visibility, but kept the snow from softening too much (foot penetration mostly ankle deep-to- (hiking) boot-top deep).  The slope steepness eventually eased-off to a leisurely ~30-35 degrees.  Stashing our skis at a rocky area a few hundred feet below the summit, we tagged the summit rocks after hacking our way up the last ~45+ degree pitch of steep snow. 

Upon returning to our ski stash, the clouds had fully engulfed the mountain for our ski down.  The camera stayed holstered for most of the descent as the ski down looked mostly like this (http://www.cascadesfreak.com/gallery/Mt-Skokomish-HammaHammaValley-6-10-2006/DSC_0476Skip_ski_descent_MtSkokomish).  Traversing higher than our ascent route to avoid skiing down a slope with a fairly exposed runout (cliff), we found a much nicer line with good corn turns and a good runout (the upper ~1-2 inches had softened enough by this time to sluff in places, but the snow beneath was still quite firm).  The white-out gave way to visibility once we descended below the lake basin where we enjoyed a ~200 vert ft steep section of excellent corn turns.  The rest of the ski was mostly traversing through the meadows with some occasional turns.  We couldn’t wait to strap the skis back onto the packs for the fun knee-jarring hike down, including crawling back through the cliffbands on the “trail”.  After about 9-1/2 hours out, we were relieved to return to sea level for apres-ski BBQ, & beer :)

Rest of the trip photos are posted here (http://www.cascadesfreak.com/gallery/Mt-Skokomish-HammaHammaValley-6-10-2006)


Title: Re: June 10, 2006; The Hamma Hamma (SE Olympic Mtn
Post by: allyson on 06/12/06, 06:05 PM
Quote from: cascadesfreak on 06/12/06, 02:45 PM
We couldn’t wait to strap the skis back onto the packs for the fun knee-jarring hike down


whoa, i bet that was your favorite part!!  ;)

sounds like you guys had some quality burly time together.  hot pics too...way to get out there where no one ever skis!!  :D


Title: Re: June 10, 2006; The Hamma Hamma (SE Olympic Mtns)
Post by: Double E on 06/12/06, 09:21 PM
Looks like a killer trip, Cass.  I climbed Mt. Stone about seven years ago, and we camped at Lake of the Angels.... your pics bring back memories, even tho there wasn't any snow there at the time!!
Quote from: cascadesfreak on 06/12/06, 02:45 PM
We couldn’t wait to strap the skis back onto the packs for the fun knee-jarring hike down, including crawling back through the cliffbands on the “trail”. 


Oh, and if you like steep approach hikes in the Olympics... I'm sure there's some sick skiing on the chutes of Mt. Constance right now!! ..... (ever hiked that trail to Lake Constance?   ;D )


Title: Re: June 10, 2006; The Hamma Hamma (SE Olympic Mtn
Post by: Kevin Steffa on 06/12/06, 09:58 PM
That 'trail' was my first ever hike in the Olympics -- Nice work making it up there despite our fickle weather!


Title: Re: June 10, 2006; The Hamma Hamma (SE Olympic Mtn
Post by: AJScott on 06/12/06, 10:06 PM
Chute 1a on Constance was in good shape on 5-21.  Stone and Skokomish were in pretty fun conditions back in February as well...kinda icy but it wasnt too bad.  I like skiing in the Olympics  ;D


Title: Re: June 10, 2006; The Hamma Hamma (SE Olympic Mtns)
Post by: cascadesfreak on 06/14/06, 10:33 AM
Quote from: Double_E on 06/12/06, 09:21 PM
(ever hiked that trail to Lake Constance?   ;D )
The Lake Constance area has been on the radar for quite awhile too, and have yet to hike that trail  ;).  The last I heard the Dosewallips Road was still washed-out ~3.5 miles from the Lake Constance Trailhead...

AJScott- Nice winter pic from Mt. Stone.  We were considering skiing a line on Stone last weekend on the way out from Skokomish, but changed our minds once the white-out rolled-in. 


Title: Re: June 10, 2006; The Hamma Hamma (SE Olympic Mtns)
Post by: Paul_Russell on 06/14/06, 08:28 PM
Nice job guys.  Love to see those reports from Cin's part of the world.  Guess I'll be heading that way on  Friday since I wasn't invited to your BBQ  ???   Sorry, couldn't help myself.

RTG HK


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