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obsydian

Jack Mtn - TR

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Jack Mountain, 9,066', 15th highest mountain in the state, not many folks get back into this one. Need steep snow protection of 3 to 5 pickets for summit block traverse, a few pieces of rock protection for final exposed pitch. We did the North Ridge route July 19, 20, & 21. One of the high end all-around alpine routes around, offers a little bit of everything. Took the boat up to May Creek campground at 10:30 am, allowed time for leisurely breakfast at Marblemount (can reserve a boat with pickup and return times from Ross Lake Resort - $60 RT). Hike up the trail from May Creek, turn right (South) when joining the main trail that goes along the lake, find a boot path about 200 yards on the left that goes up hill. Traverse to the North, occasionally following a boot path, many times not, stay to the right of May Creek, sometimes the hillside is steep, yellowjacket nests exist. At 2,300' (last water until glacier), ascend as best you can uphill (East), avoid rock bands, climbing is very steep, occasional boot path activity. At approximately 4,000', traverse underneath rock bands to the right, should see visible boot path in dirt areas, want to gain the rocky ridge on left, will then have first sighting of the summit, stay on the ridge until 5,000' when a tough traverse through the woods for 1-1/2 miles ensues. Traverse staying near 5,000' elevation, lots of mosquitoes, lost of bushwhacking, eventually exit the woods, if no snow present, have a bushwhack to get to the moraine (water found here). Eventually come to the glacier bed, nice flat bedrock, plenty of water and mosquitoes, we camped at 5,200' just below the Nohokomeen glacier, we took 7 hours to camp.

 

Early start on day 2, clouds moving in but no rain. Easiest ascent is through the glacier rock bands to avoid brush and loose rock in creek bed (which is an alternate route to the left), traverse to the left and gain moraine ridge. Continue up until hit snow patches and finally glacier (last water), crampon up here is conditions warrant. Traverse on gradual rising ascent to the left, pick path between icy patches, target is ridge to left of glacier, we didn't rope up. Stay to the left, but on the glacier until about 8,000', gain the ridge on the left with the help of a snow finger (don't be tempted to continue up glacier to bergschrund, could spend a lot of time working around and up on that route). Follow ridge to summit block, very narrow at times. One notch to worry about, loose rock at notch, careful descent and ascent, very exposed, some will want a belay. Visibility lowered to 200', but we just followed the ridge. Very exposed ridge, left side goes to valley 3,000' below, ridge narrows and has very sharp sections at times requiring butt belay. Eventually came to summit block, here is the steep snow traverse to the East to gain the East Ridge. Visibility was so poor that we couldn't see the destination of the East Ridge, but it turned out to be about 250' across. Traverse very exposed 50 degree slope, protect with pickets, can traverse in moat as conditions allow. Early season will be turned back here by cornice on the East ridge. Gain the East Ridge, now a single pitch to the summit on the Northeast face, class 3 and 4, but very exposed, some free climb, we protected. Loose rock everywhere, test every handhold. Will pass a rappel sling, another one on top.

 

We were the first to register in 2003, looks like about 6 parties a year sign in, most are after the Cascade Classics peak pin or the top 100 peaks in Washington. We did two single rappels, hear some down climb, but one slip is fatal, so we rappelled, kind of tricky as need to traverse instead of straight down, two rappels get you back to the East Ridge, where you reverse your route. As we descended, clouds started to break up and we could see the summit block, very impressive views. Rappelled down the previous mentioned notch (15'), there are rappel slings present, made way back to glacier and followed route back to camp. 12 hours on route, which included an hour resting at water hole at bottom of glacier to stay away from camp mosquitoes. Hiked on out the 3rd day to catch our boat appointment at 11:00am, took us a bit under 5 hours. Took a skinny-dip swim in the lake, found some soap on shore, water was cool but pleasant, felt good to clean up. Boat messed up our pickup time, had us down for 1pm, some other boaters came by to talk, at about 11:45 gave us a ride back to the resort, very friendly folks up there. Would be fun to have a boat or canoe and explore the lake, lots of maintained campsites up and down the lake, very little traffic, calm lake.

 

Again, an all around alpine experience, nothing extremely hard and technical, but every move counts, including route finding, snow protection, rock protection and dealing with exposure and remoteness. Won't likely see another soul for 3 days once you leave the lake.

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rockband.gif

congrats! I'll have to try the North Ridge next time. We trundled around through the soft snow and choss on the South Face on Saturday before turning around at 7500'. Nice TR!

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Nice job obsydian! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

 

I just posted some info on the Jack's north ridge here a couple of days ago and a picture of the summit block. It's a nice scrappy climb.

 

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/showphoto.php?photo=1453&papass=&sort=1&thecat=504

 

How steep would you estimate the snow was on the steepest part of the traverse (going over the cornice remnant to the east ridge)? I got that lead and it felt like it was steeper than 60 degrees, but sometimes my judgement is clouded by the intensity of the moment (i.e. fear). I'd like to hear what you think?

 

You guys didn't happen to find my altimeter laying in dirt in the cliffbands at 4,000 feet did you? I miss that thing and would pay handsomely to get it back.

 

Anyways congrats.

 

 

 

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obsydian said:

Jack Mountain, 9,066', 15th highest mountain in the state, not many folks get back into this one.

 

Not too many do it twice.

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How steep would you estimate the snow was on the steepest part of the traverse (going over the cornice remnant to the east ridge)? I got that lead and it felt like it was steeper than 60 degrees, but sometimes my judgement is clouded by the intensity of the moment (i.e. fear). I'd like to hear what you think?

 

We estimated 50 degrees, although it probably is a bit steeper on the last 15' up to the East Ridge. The snow was soft and held steps very well. Nice picture, we never saw the whole thing until way back down a ways!

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On Monday near the summit of Buckner there were some patches of leftover fresh snow. You could possibly find some of that on shaded surfaces near the summit of Jack. But other than that, there's no iciness to be worried about. There may be some snow whales clinging to slopes and ledges but these will be easily circumambulated. The peak's South Face and final ridge traverse is on bare rock.

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Freezing level for Osoyoos and eastern Cascades is reported as 1700m/5500' today.

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Fresh snow does not equal iciness, at least not from my experiences at this time of year. It may be slippery but not icy. Semantics I guess. Usually the fresh snow you simply trudge through...wump wump wump.

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Speaking of semantics you say "fresh snow....OTHER THAN THAT no iciness" wave.gif

 

I was pointing out that there might be more freshiez than there was on Monday.

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