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“Keeping with the J theme -Another trip with Js –Jack and Jove””

Jove Peak (6007’, p1367’)

South Face BC ski

Via Smith Brook/Rainy Pass

Jan 27, 2013

Carla Schauble, Franklin Bradshaw and Jack


I seem to be on a role with ‘J’s.  several trips with PJ, Windy Joe, Jim Hill, then a trip with Jake and Joe, now to Jove with Jack…


Day before was off Bullion Peak and Crown Point.  A sufficient covering over hard crust.  This day we decided to try the Jove Surroundings.  No takers on joining so two of us and a four legged borrowed friend.  Late arriving at Smith Brook.  Randy pulled in behind us.  He was leading a group of 6 or so and planned a similar route. 


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Late morning start at Smith Brook along Highway 2


Our late start had us leaving the car at 9am (c3160).  We followed a set of ski tracks up the freshly covered Smith Brook road.  Snow on the side was 8-11” deep and promising. 


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Sleepy, I was thinking –“ah…,  pillows...”


At the clear cut we followed an old ski/splitboard track from powder to the switchback then hardpan in the trees up to Rainy Pass (c4650’).  Signs of past Snowsled action, but looked like nothing recent. 


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View to Lichtenberg from Rainy Pass… all trees


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View of Jack at Rainy Pass… all nose


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Rainy Pass and Jack’s tail


The track lead uphill east and we headed down the untracked road NNE.  Good powder turns (depth varied 8-12+”) in the upper clearcut then glided down the road past the NF of Rainy Creek.  A Sled parked on the side and a solo splitboard track went up the regrowing clearcut (c3900’, 11:30a).  Snow depth in the “gladed” old cut was thigh deep.  Nice to have a track up. 


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More Jack                                                                                                                              Jack in track


C4400’, 12:00) we crossed a solo snowboard down track and at the top of the old cut c4950 (base of the forested area).  The splitboarders uptrack ended and downtrack started.   We kept skinning up the woods generally north.  In the woods a 4-6” light covering over a hard crust.  Each open area we passed was deeper (8-12+”) and had promise of joining the sections for a nice ski down.  Could have been deeper.  Jack (four legged friend) was over chest deep.  He’s a good sized dog, and smart enough to follow our track in the deeper snow.


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Hoar frost on the icicles


A look at the altimeter at c5200 indicated we’d missed the saddle.  We were going by map alone and the ridge was our goal, saddle, just a good target to get to the ridge.  We did several quick snow checks on the way up.  It was snowing lightly, but a strong west wind had the potential for clearing the west slope and filling in the lee.  Ascending the ridge was more open slope.  We spaced out (nothing to do with the new Washington laws) and tried so stomp tests and pondered the layers a little.  Below we saw the other group following our track.  They were pretty close behind.


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Jack waiting for us to arrive



The wind on the ridge brought our temps down.  We hunkered behind some trees (c5700’) to add layers, eat, drink and discuss options.  It was past 1:00, our late start would cost us any of the inviting laps we could see on the NE side of the ridge.  The idea of a Union circumnavigation and ski laps also seemed less inviting with the potentially wind barren crust on the west slopes.  Even if we went west around Union, we’d get some less than desirable slopes to avoid getting back in the dark.  The south slope below us became option number one with a retracing our route up Rainy Creek (FSRD 6700) and Smith Brook road.


We expected the other group to catch up, but they must have had other plans.  A quarter mile and 300’ vert to the summit, fueled and bundled up, we headed up the corniced east ridge.  More testing and travelling spread on the large open slope.


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Carla crossing the upper south face and taking in the stellar views (???)



 Tried to get sloughing, but no action. The wind had scoured the loose snow to a shallow 4-6” depth.  Maybe not the best skiing, if I wasn’t such a peakbagger, we’d have ripped the skins and skied down from 5800+’.  When conditions are promising and time enough trips feel nice having a true summit -even if not skiing from the high point.  The ridge directly at the summit snowed an old 16+” crown that we assumed was the one JM had mentioned in his TR from last week. 


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Jack watching us approach the summit


We accessed the SW ridge shy of the high point above the trees and took a break for the outstanding cascades views on the summit (covered in well over 18” of powder, 6007’)  Okay, it was snowing and low visibility, so our views were from memory. 


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Time to tag the top


More food, drink and discussion.  Jack had words as well (it was a real howler).  Anytime we stop, he complains...  He could hear a group far down the east ridge and also the loud noise of a snow sled ripping it up.  Sounded like NE near Jove lake, but perhaps it was SE closer to Rainy Pass (as evidence on our way out).  A check of the west slopes was hard crust with no covering.  The NE pitch toward Jove Lake was heavily loaded.  Inviting, but not worth the risk. 


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Carla and Jack checking out ski options


Our earlier observations were that near the route up (south face) was the best route.  The face below us had a thinner cover, exposed to wind clearing and too many yellow and red flags far below.  Time to go… 2:04pm.  Carla held onto Jack as I dropped heavily for a test pounding onto the upper south face off the summit.  Nothing moved.  Several more tries crossing produced nothing.  East at a clump of trees, I waited as Jack and Carla crossed and joined.  We descended down to c5700, testing and finding nothing moving, but depths shallow enough that you could touch the hard crust in a turn. 


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Jack leading his own race down the mountain


Our route would be back to the upper trees, staying to the smaller open glades.  A downward left diagonal proved rewarding.  Fun watching Jack bounding through the powder trying to keep his head above the snow.  Another glade, and another  no tracks to cross. Pure sweetness.  Rather than head west to the open we took a hit for the less desirable forest turns of thin covering over the hard crust.  Trick today was avoid large open slopes and thicker forested areas.


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Powder porn


From the Splitboarders turn-around the snow was soft and velvet.  Gentle pitches, dropping a little for easy tree dodging.  All too soon we’d landed our 2100vert descent at the road.  The sled was gone and tracks headed up road.  We’d guessed a half hour down, an hour to Rainy Pass and an hour our (with breaks) and budgeted an extra half hour each leg.  On track we started skiing the 700’ vert to Rainy pass at 2:30.  At the south fork cross of Rainy Creek we pondered the easy pitch of the road, but the direct up saving ¾ mile won out.  We skinned direct up the edge of the woods in a sled track.  Amazing how steep the up, so much that we zigged and zagged a few times.  Was fun trying to see if we could skin up as steep as the sled went up.  To our left were down track turns of several skiers in the partial clear cut.  Less than 250 vert to go in 0.6 miles then all downhill.  I was still buzzing from the stellar summit descent.


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Heading direct up


Our timing was much better going out than in.  We were at Rainy Pass an hour from starting to skin, whereas out going up the south slope earlier to the east ridge took longer than expected.  Probably due to breaking trail and stopping to let my heart rate settle. 


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Road back to Rainy Pass


The road up to Rainy Pass showed signs of a busy fun day for at least one sled rider.  Inside I was glad Skiers tend to be on the trail earlier and a chance to see the area looking pristine (at least for a while).  Even though the sled had been in at least an hour earlier, the burnt fuel smell was strong.  At Rainy Pass we took another break sheltered in the trees.


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Leaving Rainy Pass south


It was all easy slow gliding and a few turns from here out (left at 3:27p).  We glided slowly, playing with velvet wiggles in the untracked snow on the sides of the road.  A long day for a dog, we didn’t want to run him too hard.  A few openings after an area the road was covered in avy debris didn’t look inviting.  The slope below covered in chunks of debris. 


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It decided to start snowing in earnest…  Jack didn’t mind


Below 4300’ a gently slop skied a bit and looking dog friendly sucked us in.  Still velvet, sweet.  Jack had looked tired on the road, but soon as he hit the slope he came alive.  Maybe dogs like powder more than skiers, I think he had a big dog smile.  Heading out the road we passed several groups of snowshoers, cut another switchback and relaxed the long slow glide to the highway.  I arrived at the car at 3:55, Carla was ahead of me, but not there.  Having had such a fun day she just kept skiing down the road –lol.


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Fitting sign, “go back, have more fun…”


I was envious of Jack on our drive back.  He had a great long nap.  Unloading later, he was all spry and ready for more.  I was ready to relax and just remember the day.  Lucky for us no better way than a Chili cook off with a group of great skiers.  Again… sweet!


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Jack being patient while we pack up


Post note: Now I wish we’d taken time to dig a pit in a few locations to get an idea what is happening with the older layers.


Re-cap:  Much better than expected ski weekend, light snow and more than expected.  Slopes acted more solid than expected.  New boards performed better than expected.  Smile broader than expected.

Thanks Joe and Carla (and Jake and Jack too) for the great ski weekend!


Thanks for reading and happy turns!




in:  4.9m, +3676/-746, 4h45min

out: 5.4m, +746/-3676, 1h55min

Total:10.3m, +/-4422, 6h57min


Map (GPX):

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