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awilsondc
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PostWed Mar 31, 2021 10:08 am 
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This was one of those trips where it was difficult to select a destination for the day, mostly because the weather looked bad most places and there was moderate avalanche danger.  The forecast for Union and Jove looked better than most places and the route is avalanche safe so we decided to give it a go.  Trevin, Ross, Jaron, and I met up at the Smithbrook pull out and were heading out at 8am.  We stayed in boots initially hoping to make some distance on a packed surface before needing to put on snowshoes.  The surface was mostly supportive, but the occasional post hole became annoying enough it made sense to put snowshoes on.  It was much better with the snowshoes on and we cruised up the Smithbrook road to the start of the route.

Post holing
Post holing
Smith Brook
Smith Brook
Putting on snowshoes
Putting on snowshoes
Ross on Smithbrook Road
Ross on Smithbrook Road
Trevin and Jaron on Smithbrook Road
Trevin and Jaron on Smithbrook Road
Feelin' good!
Feelin' good!

Starting into the forest we followed previous tracks and quickly came across two skiers who let us pass.  We continued following tracks for another 10 minutes before we came upon a father / son who were breaking the trail.  They were so very kind to let us pass and allow us to break trail to the summit!   lol.gif  I took the lead and made my way up through the forest.  Of course it was hard work, but my goodness it felt good to be breaking trail through snowy trees and a fresh coating of snow!  After 1000 ft of gain we crested the ridge.  Apparently the skiers had taken a different route and had passed us.  We followed their tracks to the summit.  The morning had been partly sunny, but quickly turned to socked in when we reached the summit.  We chilled for a bit, the father / son arrived soon after and immediately departed for Jove.  A couple minutes later we followed them down and a bit later leap frogged again.  At the base of Jove it was apparent the skiers had dug a snow pit, not liked what they saw, and bailed into the forest to the southeast.  The open south face of Jove is a known avalanche slope and we stuck to the safety of the forested ridge.

Into the trees
Into the trees
Sunburst
Sunburst
Snowy forest
Snowy forest
A small clearing
A small clearing
Up!
Up!
Light through the trees
Light through the trees
Ross
Ross
Ross approaching the summit of Union
Ross approaching the summit of Union
Jaron on the final steps to Union
Jaron on the final steps to Union

The route up Jove was tricky!  I thought it would be a walk in the park but there were constant wind lips and drifted snow that were difficult to travel through.  We had to zig zag around wind lips that were too high constantly.  It was hard work and after 300 ft I was getting really sick of weighting my step carefully only to have it completely collapse when I tried to step up.  Trevin was kind enough to take over and break the final 500ft to the summit (thanks buddy!) and it was significantly easier following in his footsteps.  The weather was really moving in, and it was cold and windy with tree bombs falling on us left and right but we persevered and soon reached the summit of Jove in a white out.  The father and son were hot on our tails.  They decided to chill on the summit, but we decided to descended a few feet and found a perfect wind shelter and snow bench to have some lunch.

Descending from Union
Descending from Union
Lots...
Lots...
...of...
...of...
...this
...this
Union --> Jove
Union --> Jove
Trevin getting tree bombed
Trevin getting tree bombed
Finding a way
Finding a way
Jove summit ridge
Jove summit ridge
Admiring the grandeur
Admiring the grandeur
Nearing the summit
Nearing the summit

During lunch it looked like we might get some views so Ross and I decided to head back up to the summit to see it if cleared up.  It did!  For all of seven seconds.  lol.gif  Eventually we gave up on Jove views and headed down to Trevin and Jaron.  Taking off our puffy coats, things were a bit chilly but we quickly got moving.  On the way down we warmed up, and views cleared up as well.  At the base of Jove we came across a couple skiers who were on their way up.  Trevin was in the lead at that point and talked with the skiers discussing the snow conditions and how the other skiers we saw had bailed.  This pair of skiers were adamant the snow was stable and continued up.  I found out later that another pair of snowshoers had done Union, bailed on Jove, and went for Union's east peak.  They saw the skiers trigger two avalanches on Jove's south slopes, but fortunately they made it out ok.  Careful out there folks!  We re-ascended Union enjoying views of Howard, the Chiwaukum Range, and Stuart and The Enchantments along the way.  Another quick break on the summit and we headed down.

Seven seconds worth of views on Jove
Seven seconds worth of views on Jove
Alive!
Alive!
Moody
Moody
Finally some views!
Finally some views!
Descending from Jove
Descending from Jove
Through the trees
Through the trees
Howard
Howard
Looking back at Jove
Looking back at Jove
Chiwaukum Range
Chiwaukum Range
Stuart and the Enchantments
Stuart and the Enchantments
Hiking out through the meadow
Hiking out through the meadow
Totally unscripted
Totally unscripted

The steep forest back to Smithbrook Road sucked!  The snow was really getting soft and was difficult to plunge step in and prone to sliding.  It was a tedious descent.  To add to the experience it started raining, not from precipitation from the sky but from snow melting off the trees!  It seriously felt like it was raining and we got a little wet.  We were happy to get back to the easy travel of Smithbrook Road, but it was a bit of a slog out.  Still, it was an awesome trip that exceeded my expectations.  It may be spring, but it was nice to have one more trip hiking through snowy trees where it felt like winter.  Great trip, I'm sure I'll be back for McCausland!
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kitya
Fortune Cookie



Joined: 15 Mar 2010
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Fortune Cookie
PostWed Mar 31, 2021 2:51 pm 
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Nice. Any snowmobilers on the road?
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostWed Mar 31, 2021 6:42 pm 
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kitya wrote:
Nice. Any snowmobilers on the road?

Actually, no!  I was dreading it after reading your report and others, and the road was definitely tracked out by snowmobiles... we even heard a couple when we were up high, but none passed us on the road!  I feel super lucky.  smile.gif
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rocknclimb
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PostWed Mar 31, 2021 7:33 pm 
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Hey!  Thanks for breaking trail for my dad and myself up.gif Was a great day to be in the hills.  Was my 2nd time on Jove with unlucky views.  Nice to meet you.


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When asked "Why do you climb"?  Simply respond "Why don't you"?
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RichP
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here and there
PostWed Mar 31, 2021 7:47 pm 
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That's great trip in summer too.
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mtn.climber
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PostWed Mar 31, 2021 7:53 pm 
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So glad you guys took over our trailbreaking duties.  Made the rest of our ascent much easier.

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Reach for the sky, cuz tomorrow may never come.

Live the life of love.  Love the life you live.
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MangyMarmot
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PostWed Mar 31, 2021 9:03 pm 
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Nice trip guys. Cool photos.
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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PostWed Mar 31, 2021 9:03 pm 
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awilsondc wrote:
Finding a way
Finding a way

Love this shot. It tells a story like a good photo should.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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Magellan
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Brutally Handsome
PostWed Mar 31, 2021 10:23 pm 
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Nice work, all of you
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostThu Apr 01, 2021 7:17 am 
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rocknclimb wrote:
Hey! Thanks for breaking trail for my dad and myself up.gif Was a great day to be in the hills. Was my 2nd time on Jove with unlucky views. Nice to meet you.

mtn.climber wrote:
So glad you guys took over our trailbreaking duties.  Made the rest of our ascent much easier.

I KNEW it!!!  You two looked way too familiar somehow, I should have figured I'd seen you nwhikers but I couldn't place it.  But yeah, nice to meet the two of you!  Glad we could help make the day a bit easier.  smile.gif  Nice day out there, I really enjoyed it.
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Off Route Randy
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PostThu Apr 01, 2021 8:08 am 
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Thanks for the TR! I'm working 7 days a week 10+ hours a day until I'm laid off with a severance package in 11 days. Comforting to know it is still a wet suckfest out in the mountains!

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"Bagging Peaks and Clapping Cheeks"- Ricky Bobby's Mountain Obsessed Cousin
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Union Peak and Jove Peak 3/27/21
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