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[TR] Jack Mountain & Crater Mountain - Nohokomeen Headwall & South Ridge 05/26/2018

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Trip: Jack Mountain & Crater Mountain - NohokOmeen Headwall & South Ridge

Trip Date: 05/26/2018

Trip Report:


Fred and I had amazing plans for a (for us) heroic trip... The Great Jack Off. Along the East Bank Trail, up the Nohokomeen Headwall of Jack, down the south face, with Crater to boot. The trip reports we read from the party on the Nohokomeen on the 12th helped with the scant beta a lot, thanks! This route isn't even in Beckey if you can believe it!


For purity of the trip we hiked car-to-car the loop starting from the East Bank Trailhead at Panther Creek. Other reports have enough info on the approach I figure so I'll keep it to the basics. Not much brush - none really by Cascades standards; the hillside to gain the May Creek Basin was brutal though. We pushed on and camped at about 7600' on the Nohokomeen Glacier. This made it about 12 miles and 7100' vert of gain on day 1... whew!

Forest uphill from the East Bank Trail:



Our first view of the headwall from near the toe of the glacier was not encouraging, but we knew we had to take a look at least.


Headwall from camp:



Hozomeen from camp:



It got cold that night, there was frost on the tent and the snow was very solid. We left camp at 0600 and had only a short walk to the base of the wall. We found a route up, over a bridge in the 'schrund and through the manky rocks. My calves were killing me so Fred led the whole wall both of us soloing. It felt steep! It's amazing how the slope changes when the snow is frozen and you can only get front points or an inch of boot at the most. It was definitely about 600' of "don't look down" terrain for me. Softer snow would have mage it a lot more secure and easier, but we made it.


Approximate route, it looks like a lot more traversing than it felt like. Maybe it's just perspective:



We were on the summit by 0800 I think. It was breezy but not bad. We were worried the downclimb on the south face would be too solid so we waited around for a while identifying peaks and enjoying being off our feet.

Down climbing the much softer snow on the south face was a piece of cake after the Nohokomeen; until we got to the cliff band at about 8000'. We didn't know the route and had only a 30m rope so it took some looking but we nailed it. We did two 15m rappels off a crappy loose boulder with like 10 pieces of tat on it down onto snow again where we could traverse out to easy ground on the SE ridge. We took a loooong lunch break and rested our brains in the warm sun.

Basically all the ground from there until 4800' on the Crater Mountain Trail was snow covered with the exception of the Crater scramble section. We camped at Jerry Lakes early on day two and had a leisurely afternoon. Day three was a tame snow walk and easy 3rd class scramble up Crater and a slog out down the trail and along Ruby Creek to the car. We could have hitchhiked the last 3 miles or so but we are purist and completed the loop - my shoulders were pissed.


Tarn near Jerry Lakes camp:



Lake and waterfalls below Crater Mountain. We gained the trail shortly after here:



Maybe Fred will post some more photos, he was a lot better about taking them than I was.



Gear Notes:
30m rope glacier gear 2 axes aluminum crampons trail shoes celebratory brandy

Approach Notes:
All the trails in the lowland were in good shape, a bit of blowdown on the Crater Mountain trail. Lots of creek crossings, all dry on the East Bank Trail, one ford on the Crater Mountain Trail. Crews were out working on the trail near Granite Creek.

Edited by geosean
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That's a huge effort in three days!  Nicely done.

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2 hours ago, JasonG said:

That's a huge effort in three days!  Nicely done.

Praise from Caesar, thank you.

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That Headwall route is on my list after seeing all the TRs of late.  I've stared at it for years on our family Ross lake trips, might as well make it happen one of these springs!

South Hozomeen next for you @geosean?

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Here are a few shots to round out Sean's great writeup.


The most sun we saw since reaching the glacier.



The headwall at night.



Sean bringing it home.  The wall steepened another few degrees for the last ~25' and required some extra care kicking steps.  





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Hey! I was one of the guys up there on the 12th! Nice work man that sounds like a great trip adding on crater mountain. I'm surprised the headwall lasted until now it was melting out fast!

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