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Ski Mountaineering 6

Jove Peak Early Season: Not Your Typical Ski Tour

The date was set, the plan was made; it’s late Novem­ber and Amy want­ed a long ski tour that would chal­lenge her tech­ni­cal ski tour­ing skills. Amy is get­ting ready to climb Denali next spring and is set on mak­ing sure she gets her home­work done; she wants to be the strongest mem­ber of the group. She also tours on a split snow­board set­up and wants to improve her tech­ni­cal tour­ing skills in ski mode. I had just the trip for her that would accom­plish both; Jove Peak.

Tod Blox­ham photo

We set out ear­ly on Sun­day know­ing that Jove Peak needs a full day to accom­plish; just east of Stevens Pass, Jove Peak is a tour with many options that include a log­ging road for a ski approach, a 1,200-foot south face for big wide turns, and a wilder­ness north side that includes Janus Lake, the Pacif­ic Crest Trail, incred­i­ble views of Glac­i­er Peak and a 1,200-foot north fac­ing slope with amaz­ing tree ski­ing. The caveat though, any option on Jove Peak is not a leisure­ly ski tour; you are in it for the tour, not the turns.

Tod Bloxkham photo

Amy is in great shape and want­ed a des­ti­na­tion based ski tour that would chal­lenge her, so we opt­ed for the full loop around to the north side via Union Pass and the Pacif­ic Crest Trail; we could then work on her tech­ni­cal ski tour­ing in the for­est, trail and steep­er slopes going over the ridge to Jove’s north slope. The ear­ly sea­son snow­pack added to our tech­ni­cal learn­ing with many oppor­tu­ni­ties to nego­ti­ate boul­ders and small fir trees that are nor­mal­ly cov­ered in snow. The per­fect storm for learning.

Tod Blox­ham photo

The full tour is def­i­nite­ly a chal­lenge, 12.5 miles and 3900’ of ski­ing in all with many oppor­tu­ni­ties for Type II Fun”, but Amy was up for it. As we left the for­est below and neared the sum­mit the wilder­ness views of the Monte Cristo group, Sloan Peak and Glac­i­er Peak blew us away; from Jove the views into the North Cas­cades make this tour a spe­cial place. Our plan also took advan­tage of the sun warm­ing the south face so we could enjoy snow made soft and per­fect for carv­ing turns.

Tod Blox­ham photo

Amy and I had much dis­cus­sion as to whether this tour was Type I Fun or Type II Fun; Amy set­tled on Type I+. I think she is going to do just fine on Denali.

The Fun Scale:

Type I Fun – true fun, enjoy­able while it’s happening.

Type II Fun – fun only in ret­ro­spect, hate­ful while it’s happening.

Type III Fun – not fun at all, not even in ret­ro­spect. As in, What the hell was I thinking?

~ MM Guide Tod Bloxham

Still Smil­ing! Tod Blox­ham photo