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Author Topic: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier  (Read 6346 times)
skykilo
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April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« on: 04/28/05, 06:21 AM »

Ross planned something really stupid.  Absolutely retarded.  These are complimentary adjectives in my vernacular, so I was honored to accompany him.  The best part is I hadn't even looked at a map, I just knew Jack was a really big, impressive mountain.  Did I check with Beckey?  No, I don't have time for a girlfriend.

Canyon Creek trailhead lead to a raging creek that we just didn't think we should ford.  Encouraged by the more outrageous prospect, we proceeded to the East Bank trailhead which would add an additional 3.5 miles to the already outlandish day.

It was a long hike to 5,400 feet where we skinned to a 7,000' notch on Crater Peak.  Then we skinned up and down, over passes and along ridges, around lakes, until a long time later we found ourselves at another 7,000 foot notch above Jack's NE Glacier.

We skied an intimidating 50-60 degree slope above a bergschrund, with a short hop at the bottom, to access the glacier.  I don't know what kind of screwy goggles we were wearing, but from below we thought we could skin the thing.  With evaluations of such quality, nothing seems impossible.

Mid-icefall I anxiously changed to crampons and an ax.  The snow throughout was mid-metamorphosis: not fresh, not the death mush, and not corn.  It was fairly well-consolidated, approaching corn, but not quite with a softer layer below and crust here and there.  

The headwall hadn't looked that big, but DAMN it was big.  It just kept going.  It had some nice runnels, and lots of generally undesirable features.  Initially I was worried about things getting too soft, but that was definitely not the problem.

We hit the north ridge just below the summit rocks some time in the afternoon.  Neither of us had a  watch, but we felt it was a pressing concern to find our shoes before dark, so we neglected the short rock scramble to the true summit.  We were at the highest skiable point, which is 9,000 feet or slightly above .  (That's a guess.)

Given the icy, crusty, 50+ degree nature of the top thousand vertical feet, I skied with one pole and one ice ax.  I made a turn here and there to verify the abysmal nature of conditions, and performed copious sideslipping and self-belayed sidestepping elsewhere.  Ross made a few more turns than me, demonstrating cajones grandes con corazon on his super-light skis and tele gear.

We found a few slopes of really nice mush elsewhere, enjoying high speed carves with the grandiose Jackground.  It took a long time to go up, down, across, up, down, across, and up to another notch on Crater .  It was a high speed, icy cruise to the gorgeous lake with gigantic waterfalls.   We found our shoes just before dark, perfect!

The exit hike saw my eyelids the heaviest they've ever been at the end of a big day.  I kept thinking how it seemed quite likely I could close my eyes and stumble down the bank into the creek during the bonus 3.5 mile exit to the bridge.  

What were we thinking?  23 hours later I sit in Ross' truck, so exhausted I instantaneously pass out with door ajar and headlamp still shining.  I think it took 45 minutes for Ross to realize the door was open and ask me to close it so he could return to his repose.
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Salal
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #1 on: 04/28/05, 06:45 AM »

Burly......Sounds like a no jack-off adventure. Nice job!!
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Jason_H.
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #2 on: 04/28/05, 06:57 AM »

Ross wrote me about doing this last week. I didn't hear back, which was probably a good thing. Rad line man. Way to go get it.
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jt
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #3 on: 04/28/05, 07:04 AM »

Right on, nice enduro-trip! Brings back memories of trying to climb Jack. Big, broad mt. Jack is. After spending the better part of a day just getting to the base of the actual climb, we gave up neither wanting the 23 hour day nor knowing exactly where we were due to thick clouds and fog. I'll have to go back someday to bag the summit, but I'm not sure you're description inspires me to bring my skis.
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jt
Amar Andalkar
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #4 on: 04/28/05, 11:41 AM »

Quote
The exit hike saw my eyelids the heaviest they've ever been at the end of a big day. I kept thinking how it seemed quite likely I could close my eyes and stumble down the bank into the creek during the bonus 3.5 mile exit to the bridge.

What were we thinking?


Thanks for the entertaining report, Sky. I'm glad you managed to avoid the creek.

Are you saying that this was your hardest-core trip yet, or did you just get soft the last couple weeks down in New Mexico? I think you guys would have had more fun if you had just carried your skis the whole way instead of trying to ski on them, though.

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skykilo
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #5 on: 04/28/05, 01:05 PM »

Amar, I know you have the maps so I'll let you figure the numbers if you want something quantitative.  But I will say that this makes a day trip skiing Frostbite Ridge on Glacier Peak (from the pre-washout trailhead) look like a hike from the Space Needle to Queen Anne.

And I'm a big soft teddy bear, don't you know?  A big, cute, cuddly, soft teddy bear.  Somebody give me a hug.
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philfort
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #6 on: 04/28/05, 02:24 PM »

Wow... good job, in a day no less.  Crusty 50 degree slopes and 60 degree slopes above a bergshrund sound like more than I can handle so I guess I don't feel too jealous :-)

That NE side of Jack looks huge and Shuksanesque. It's a 5500ft drop down to the bottom of the face.

How did the south face look?
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sb
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #7 on: 04/28/05, 02:50 PM »

Very impressive (if nuts).  I've looked at that both from Devil's Park and on a map and thought it should be possible, but difficult to get to and difficult to do.  But never did I consider it as a day trip.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #8 on: 04/28/05, 04:32 PM »

Congratulations on your descent. That route has been on my list for some time. I guess I'll wait for the pictures to decide if it stays on my list. It sounds like conditions were not ideal.

The thing I like about Jack (besides the aesthetics of the peak) is that it's actually a ski trip to get there, not just a backpacking trip. I'm glad it went as a day trip, but I'd prefer camping closer to the peak so you can climb the face earlier in the day. That face catches the sun immediately in the morning and I think it may often be rotten by mid day.

Good eye, Ross.
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curmudgeon
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #9 on: 04/29/05, 03:18 AM »

Congratulations on your descent -- and ascent! Guess we can now close the books on Cascades ski mountaineering!

I bailed on that route as a solo ice climb about 30 years ago.  Seemed like no place to be alone on that particular day. I've idled about it as a possible ski route since.  Glad I can now let it rest!

Oh, yeah.  Nice touch with the day trip thing!
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skykilo
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #10 on: 04/29/05, 05:37 AM »

Here's a photo from John Roper.



I got a lot of photos but the slides will be a few days.  The south face looks very good... for another year.  Both that and the NE Glacier we skied would make wonderful descents in the right conditions.  I'd say the same about NE Face of Mt Fury.  But what do you do?  Go hoping for the best, then take what you can get.

I made an error above when I wrote that we skied from the highest skiable point.  Look at the photo and we could have skied from a little higher on the left, but there was a bit of a cornice there and we didn't particularly need to press our luck.
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #11 on: 04/29/05, 06:24 AM »

Quote
I made an error above when I wrote that we skied from the highest skiable point. Look at the photo and we could have skied from a little higher on the left, but there was a bit of a cornice there and we didn't particularly need to press our luck.


Sky, when we were discussing which volcanoes are skiable from the summit, you told me that the highest skiable point is always the true summit (or higher if snow is piled up above that). If Mt Jefferson or Washington (OR) is skiable from the summit, then so is Jack Mtn. Something to try next year, I guess . . .

I assume there is a lot more snow now than in Roper's July photo (and 1984 was a bit below average snowpack in the North Cascades). So how much has the NE Glacier receded in the 2 decades since then, are the icefalls more broken now? Do you know where he took the photo from? Based on the map, it looks like Devils Dome/Ridge would have that straight-on view from only 3-4 miles away. It's at least a 40 mile round-trip (about the same as a loop) on trail just to get to that photo spot, maybe you should consider it for your next training hike with skis on your back.

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TeleRoss
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #12 on: 04/29/05, 09:43 AM »

Here's a shot of the S face.
[img]http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-1/615535/3988Jack_Mtn_4-27-05_002.jpg
[/img]
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TeleRoss
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #13 on: 04/29/05, 09:48 AM »

Sky skinnning the icefall, shortly before switching to crampons.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #14 on: 04/29/05, 09:51 AM »

Quote
Guess we can now close the books on Cascades ski mountaineering!


Heavens no, there's plenty of other things to do. Even routes that have been "done" could be improved upon. Plus if a route is really worthwhile, it's worth doing again even if it doesn't count in the record books.

I like Phil's observation that the NE flank of Jack goes way down to 3400 feet before leveling out. If you camped next to the peak (the basin below the east ridge is lovely) you could ski all of that, make the summit, and who knows what else.
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skykilo
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #15 on: 04/29/05, 10:37 AM »

I absolutely agree with Lowell.  There's a lot to do.  I'm not ready to quit.  I haven't even begun.  We're just stretching our legs getting ready for the track meet, eh?

But for Amar, I will go ahead and call this summit unskiable.  Mt Washington in Oregon is quite different.  Sure, the top is craggy and cliffy, but once you get below that you're in a mellow open bowl.  In the right conditions you do a little sidestepping and billygoating on top, take a 20-30 foot huck, and then cruise the bowl.  (I do not mean to belittle the accomplishment of the Oregonian who skied Washington, good job man!)  Jefferson is not nearly so bad either once you get off the top, heading to the west/northwest.

So you've been to the top of Washington?  And how close have you been to Jack?  My impression is that the exposure is much bigger on Jack.  There is no direction off the top of Jack in which I would even like to contemplate the possibility of a fall.  The best you could do is a thousand foot tumble down the headwall to the Nohokomeen.  

I don't really think it's impossible, but close enough that I'll throw the word out there in hopes that someone could prove me wrong.  It's impossible.  

Now someone prove me wrong and make me look bad, here's the beta!  Climb Jack with your skis.  Huck the summit rocks to the NW and straightline it down to the Nohokomeen.  Ski the glacier, kayak the creek to Ross Lake, swim to the Ross Lake Resort, hike a mile to Highway 20 and give me a call.  The beers will be on me.

« Last Edit: 04/29/05, 12:01 PM by skykilo » Logged
Jason_H.
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Re: April 27, 2005, Jack Mt, NE Glacier
« Reply #16 on: 04/29/05, 11:30 AM »

I agree with skoog. Last weekend I was in a new area (for me) and I could see a dozen or more peaks that begged to be skied, let alone by how many routes.

Edit to add: I just read your post Sky. You make me crack up! If anyone would prove you wrong, it would be yourself. In that case, I'll buy you a case and if I live maybe I'll even take a drink.
« Last Edit: 04/29/05, 11:35 AM by Jason_H. » Logged

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