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Skiing Stevens Pass backcountry photos: Jim Hill Mountain powder snow
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This is a gallery of skiing Stevens Pass backcountry photos which appeared on the Turns All Year home page in the past. Thumbnail images on this page can be clicked to view the full-sized photos, and lead into a slide show sequence for the gallery. Thirty photos from a backcountry skiing trip to Jim Hill Mountain via Henry Creek on a bluebird day with classic Stevens smoke powder snow. With the arrival of several more groups of skiers the slopes eventually got pretty tracked out, but everyone found nice lines and had fantastic turns.
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Turns All Year CD-ROM

The complete version of this photo gallery is now available on Turns All Year CD-ROM. Below you can view thumbnail photos from this gallery.

Turns All Year CD-ROM contains over 180 photo galleries, containing more than 3200 full-sized photos, from backcountry skiing and snowboarding trips in the Pacific Northwest.

from March 27, 2006:
Jim Hill Mountain, skiing Stevens Pass backcountry,
Washington, March 19, 2006, part 1  (part 2 is here)

jimhillmountainskiing01.jpg Jon gears up while Charles, in background, delays
Jon gears up
while Charles delays
jimhillmountainskiing02.jpg David skinning in the Henry Creek forest
David skinning in the
Henry Creek forest
jimhillmountainskiing03.jpg Big trees and sunshine in the Henry Creek forest
Big trees and sunshine in
the Henry Creek forest
jimhillmountainskiing04.jpg Skinning near 4000 feet in Henry Creek valley
Skinning near 4000 feet
in Henry Creek valley
jimhillmountainskiing05.jpg Nearing 4800 feet, with Nason Ridge and Rock Mountain
Nearing 4800 feet, with Nason
Ridge and Rock Mountain
jimhillmountainskiing06.jpg Tree shadows
Tree shadows
jimhillmountainskiing07.jpg Near 4800 feet with upper slopes of Jim Hill Mountain
Near 4800 feet with upper
slopes of Jim Hill Mountain
jimhillmountainskiing08.jpg Starting up the untracked slopes of Jim Hill Mountain
Starting up the untracked
slopes of Jim Hill Mountain
jimhillmountainskiing09.jpg Jim skinning up the last bit below the 6300 foot notch
Jim skinning up the last bit
below the 6300 foot notch
jimhillmountainskiing10.jpg Jon breaking trail to the 6300 foot notch
Jon breaking trail
to the 6300 foot notch
jimhillmountainskiing11.jpg Jon skiing at the top of the first run, with Glacier Peak
Jon skiing at the top of the
first run, with Glacier Peak
jimhillmountainskiing12.jpg David backcountry skiing at the top of the first run
David backcountry skiing at
the top of the first run
jimhillmountainskiing13.jpg Jon leaves his mark in the beautiful powder
Jon leaves his mark
in the beautiful powder
jimhillmountainskiing14.jpg David trails Stevens smoke
David trails Stevens smoke
jimhillmountainskiing15.jpg David skiing the sparkly powder snow
David skiing the
sparkly powder snow
jimhillmountainskiing16.jpg David in the middle of the first run
David in the middle
of the first run
jimhillmountainskiing17.jpg Skinning toward the 6400 foot saddle and a second run
David near the bottom
of the first run
jimhillmountainskiing18.jpg Skinning toward the 6400 foot saddle and a second run
Skinning toward the 6400 foot
saddle and a second run
jimhillmountainskiing19.jpg Traversing toward the sunny 6400 foot notch
Traversing toward the
sunny 6400 foot notch
jimhillmountainskiing20.jpg Looking SW to Mt. Daniel in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Looking SW to Mt. Daniel in
the Alpine Lakes Wilderness
jimhillmountainskiing21.jpg Looking SE to the Chiwaukum Mountains
Looking SE to the
Chiwaukum Mountains
jimhillmountainskiing22.jpg Charles skiing second run
Charles skiing second run
jimhillmountainskiing23.jpg Stevens Pass backcountry skiing
Stevens Pass
backcountry skiing
jimhillmountainskiing24.jpg David on the second run
David on the second run
jimhillmountainskiing25.jpg David skiing smoky sparkly snow
David skiing
smoky sparkly snow
jimhillmountainskiing26.jpg Smokin' Jon on the second run
Smokin' Jon on the second run
jimhillmountainskiing27.jpg Jim on the second run
Jim on the second run
jimhillmountainskiing28.jpg Jim Hill Mountain skiing
Jim Hill Mountain skiing
jimhillmountainskiing29.jpg Jon hits the flats at the 4800 foot bench
Jon hits the flats at
the 4800 foot bench
jimhillmountainskiing30.jpg The aftermath: tracked out slopes of Jim Hill Mountain
The aftermath: tracked out
slopes of Jim Hill Mountain

Click for more Stevens Pass skiing photos from this trip.

Photos by Jim Dockery and Charles Eldridge
Skiing Stevens Pass backcountry trip report:
Jim Hill Mountain via Henry Creek,
Stevens Pass, Washington, March 19, 2006

   Indecision gave way to a plan to head for the north-facing slopes of Jim Hill Mountain after David's experience Friday of great powder on north facing slopes around Heather Ridge. We arrived fairly early to the train tunnel pullout with just one car present, and as we were gearing up Jim and Jon pulled in.We found out that we were all headed the same place so, experienced bc skiers that we are, we messed around with gear just long enough to let the others get a head start, just in case there was going to be trail breaking. A brilliant blue sky day, pleasant in the sun but still quite chilly in the shade.
   Skinning up the logging road, it appeared that trail breaking wouldn't be a problem, as there was a superhighway from the day before. When we got to the Henry Creek route ("Jim Hell" in lower snow conditions), however, all tracks except Jim's and Jon's continued up the road. We ended up following their tracks for a while, but then climbed up away from the ravine a bit until we could traverse to the base of the open slopes around 4000 feet. Except for the first few hundred feet above the logging road, the snow in the trees was nice, with maybe 6 inches of loose, cold, and non-dripped snow over a firm base.
   We caught up to Jim and Jon at the sunny east-facing climb around the lower cliffs, but still managed to let Jim stay in the trail breaking lead. Jon was busy stripping down to shorts and t-shirt. The snow here was already getting moist on top, sure to crust over later in the day, but as we turned south again and skinned up the north-facing slopes the snow was still loose and cold.
   It was a beautiful sight to see the completely untracked upper slopes of Jim Hill as we reached the 4800 foot bench. The grazing angle of the sun made for beautiful lighting but prevented any significant warming of the snow, which was cold, loose, and about 12 inches deep over a much more consolidated layer (the big dump of 10 days prior?). The four of us made our way up along the edge of the best lines to a 6300 foot notch in the north ridge coming off Jim Hill's summit. It was very chilly at the notch, with some east wind but a big plume of snow blowing of the summit of Jim Hill just a few hundred feet above. I think it was about 11:30 when we started down, and another group had just caught up with us, with a couple more making their way up our skin track.
   The turns were fabulous! Everyone was trailing huge plumes of smoke as we skied the skier's left line back to 4800 feet, trying to conserve the powder for everyone else. The first couple of turns had very slight wind effect, but after that nothing but perfect powder, and we saw nothing to raise any avalanche concerns. Really fast turns produced some Cheneys, but mostly it was just one Clinton after another.
   With four other groups now skinning up or starting to ski down, we figured we'd better head right back up if we wanted more untracked lines, so we followed the now-superhighway to just below our first notch, then traversed SE up to a 6400 foot notch in the ridge east of Jim Hill's summit. A beautiful spot, in the sun, windless, with views south into White Pine Creek and beyond to the Chiwaukums, Stuart Range, and more westerly to Mount Daniel with Mount Rainier in the distance. The view to the north included the Monte Cristos, the Sloan/Bedal/White Chuck triad, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and all kinds of wintery looking lesser peaks.
   Skiing from the notch, the top 200 feet were more wind affected, slightly cohesive but very shallow (a few inches), but after that it was pretty much powdery cruising like the first run. On the lower part the scattered small trees made fun gates.
   We left the 4800 foot bench, which had now become lunch and sunbathing central, at about 2:30 and had more fun cruising through the small trees on the powdery north-facing slopes. Instead of traversing out onto the crusting over east facing slopes, we tried to stay right in shaded snow, making our way through the cliff bands via little chutes - wouldn't want to try this in lower snow conditions. Below 4000 feet the snow was at first good in the big trees, but began to get pretty stiff from the morning sun effects and tree drip in the tighter small trees as we approached the logging road. Fast glide back to Highway 2. Our only real mistake of the day was forgetting that the Stevens Pass ski area no longer has night skiing, and getting caught in the long procession of skiers returning from a day of lift skiing.
   Charles

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