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Devin27

[TR] Jim Hill Mountain- Stevens Pass - Henry Creek Basin 1/20/2013

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Trip: Jim Hill Mountain- Stevens Pass - Henry Creek Basin

 

Date: 1/20/2013

 

Trip Report:

Ilia and I skied Jim Hill Mountain on Sunday in an adventure of varied snow conditions and interesting route finding. This “winter” ascent, felt more like a mid spring climb with light jacket weather in the basin and cloudless skies above. The sun didn’t get into the Henry Creek basin that was our approach route, but it was still pleasant all day.

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Drove past Stevens Pass and got to the semi legal shoulder (The one next to the for some reason illegal turn out near the start of the approach) at around 8:30.

 

Skinned up the closed road and up to the first open clear cut. Plenty of skiers have been up here since the last snow, but still plenty of clean runs left. We decided to follow the road across the creek and then cut straight up the hill until we found the road again.

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We eventually ran out of road and had to cross back to the West side of the creek. Wasn’t an issue as the creek is mostly covered higher up, and there were many crossings. This is where we got our first hint of the fun yet to come. The cold weather and sunshine created an perfectly terrible tree bombed ice field in the trees, of which there are a lot on this descent route. Found pretty varied snow on the entire route. Fresh light powder in the clear cuts (fun), wind affected solid snow on the open slopes (wished I had ski crampons), and of course the solid chopped up ice in the trees (joy).

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Burst out of the trees and headed towards the summit. At the summit block, we made the wrong decision by going to what looked like easier terrain to the notch on climbers left of what looks like the summit.

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Skiing off the false summit block is possible if you are a better skier than me. I had to down climb after trying to side slip and failing. Wish I brought my ice axe, because it was a little too firm and steep to plunge step.

 

After that was a sometimes pleasant, sometime less pleasant mix of the varied snow I mentioned earlier. No picture here because my camera was safe in my backpack and most of my concentration was on not hitting trees in the ice (didn’t help) and trying to turn when the snow turns from powder to solid mid turn.

 

All in all, a really great ascent with a less fun descent (should be the other way with skis). Wait for better snow before heading up there.

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Gear Notes:

Ski crampons would have helped for the ascent and a whippet or ice axe would have been nice for the ascent.

 

Approach Notes:

Follow Henry Creek until it starts to curve climbers left in the open basin. Leave the creek and follow the climbers right drainage towards the summit.

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