February 9, 2016
Stevens Pass, WA
Jove Peak is by no mean a significant summit, but it does tower above its immediate vicinity thus, offers some nice panoramic views north of Stevens Pass along US-2 corridor. Due to the fact there’s no trail leading up to its summit, Jove Peak is more often done in winter when the (thick) snowpack covers the dense underbrushes. Thank to the recent warm temperature I couldn’t do anything overly aggressive and this peak was selected to be my 500th summit, after successfully traversing up and over the nearby Union Peak earlier in the day.
Immediately after dropping down Union Peak’s north ridge I met the previous snowshoeer (on his way back) who broke the whole set of tracks. After saying “thank you” to him I resumed the traverse. The north ridge was a little bit steeper and more corniced than I was expecting, but there’s always the option to go into dense forest on skier’s left. The track stayed more or less on the edge of the forest and I plunged down to the col in no time.
Up the other side the terrain was again, a bit steeper than I was expecting. After a while I broke out of the trees again and the direct ridge (or climber’s right side) was threatened by a huge slide path. Given the solar radiation I followed the tracks into the dense forest on climber’s left side. There’s some minor bushwhacking required and the ridge seemed to drag on for a long while. Eventually the grade tapered off and I arrived at the summit plateau. The view was incredible towards each direction with the most remote Washington’s volcano – Glacier Peak and the “Matterhorn of the Cascades” – Sloan Peak stealing the show.
After staying more than half an hour I figured it’s time to go home. Plunging down Jove Peak’s SW Ridge was fast and fun and I stayed entirely on the edge of the ridge crest this time. The soft snow had provided some extra bit of gliding for every step forward (less impact on my knees) so it was pretty pleasant. Lower down I merged to the uptracks into the forest. I wasn’t looking forward to re-plodding back up Union Peak’s north ridge but once actually on the ridge it was pretty fast going. I skipped the break on the summit of Union Peak and resumed the descent immediately. At this point I had noticed that one of the bolts on my right snowshoe’s binding was ripped off. Given the fact I didn’t bring any repairing gear I took the rest of the descent easier and slower (so not to rip off the second bolt). Once back to Smithbrook Road I took off both of my snowshoes. The rest of the return was easy, albeit tedious.
All in all, Union Peak to Jove Peak traverse turned out to be a great introductory to the Stevens Pass area in the heart of the Cascades. The entire area seems more of a “winter destination” as most peaks in the immediate vicinity appear small in nature, and thank to the US-2 they are all fairly easily accessed. I’m sure I’ll be back for more winter trips but what actually makes me excited is the summer mountaineering potential. Objectives like Sloan Peak had for sure grown much higher on my list now… And thank to the low gas price my round trip cost was less than 20 US dollars.