Jack Mountain via Crater Mountain + Jerry Lakes + Jackita Ridge Trail / 傑克山

  • Reading time:13 mins read

Jack Mountain by Crater Mountain above Jerry Lakes overlooks Ross Lake by North Cascades Highway. This Washington State’s 17th peak is the highest point in South Hozameen Range before Castle Peak. Its nearest taller neighbor sits over 16 miles away on Mount Logan.

Jack Mountain in the mist
Jack Mountain in the mist

See more trip photos here.

Jack Mountain at a Glance

Access: Canyon Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 26 miles
Elevation Range: 1880′-8243′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, crampons
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

September 4-6, 2015

Day 1 – Friday, September 4
Canyon Creek Trail to Crater Mountain north basin
Night 1 – Crater Mountain moraine lake

Day 2 – Saturday, September 5
Jack Mountain
Night 2 – Jerry Lakes Peak south saddle

Day 3 – Sunday, September 6
Exit


Day 1

Canyon Creek Trail + Crater Mountain north basin

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

The Preface on Jack Mountain

I was to climb Jack Mountain the week after Ptarmigan Peak. Then the lightning-induced Goodell Fire forced a three-week shutdown of North Cascades Highway. Without access between Newhalem and Rainy Pass, I delayed my plan.

Three of my eight leftover Bulger List peaks included Mount Logan and Goode Mountain. But they, too, were off-limits due to the lightning-induced Goode Fire. So that cut off the alternative access through Stehekin.

Jack Mountain ooming high into the sky
Jack Mountain looming high into the sky

See more trip photos here.

Old Lookout No. 2

The weather on Friday looked questionable, with clouds shrouding the area by the late afternoon. Then it worsened right before going up to Lookout No. 2. So I decided to spend the night on the ridge and start early the next day.

But at sunset, the mists dissipated to reveal Jack Moutain’s ghostly sight. Then I saw the moraine lake in Crater Mountain’s north basin. Without hesitation, I packed and hurried down the scree to the 6400′ pond shortly after dark.

Star trails over Jack Mountain
Star trails over Jack Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Crater Mountain North Basin

At night, the moon and stars were in full display. But the stubborn clouds capping Jack Mountain’s top thousand feet never budged. Then I stayed up past midnight, looking at maps and taking photos before bed.

The following day, I awoke to nearly bluebird day. But the clouds on Jack Mountain looked like they never left! But for now, I’d go through Jerry Lakes Basin then up to the southeast ridge at 7000′ via Crater Creek Basin.

See more trip photos here.

Day 2

Jack Mountain

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Jack Mountain via Jerry Lakes

Jerry Glacier was nearly nonexistent as I crossed the massive talus and scree. Then from the 6600′ notch south of Jerry Lakes, I skipped the lakes by staying high. And that led me to Jerry Lakes Peak’s south saddle.

From the pass, I dropped into Crater Creek Basin and went through mild terrain to the 7000′ shoulder. Then that put me on the southeast ridge. But right then, the clouds drifted into the area, and I never saw the sun again.

Jerry Lakes Basin
Jerry Lakes Basin

See more trip photos here.

Jack Mountain Climb

Visibility wasn’t too bad on the way to the south side. But by the time I reached 8000′, I was in a foot of fresh snow and complete whiteout. Then I followed a faint trail and passed two belay stations noted in a few reports.

Because of the limited sight, I ended up on the west ridge too soon. In turn, I made several unnecessary moves through the snowy ridgeline. Then I traversed east toward the summit.

Jack Mountain summit block
Jack Mountain summit block

See more trip photos here.

Jack Mountain Summit with Zero Views

I wanted to see Nohokomeen Glacier on this trip. But glad I caught a glimpse before the clouds swallowed up the area again. The few feet of top view had made the drop-offs feel even airier.

I stayed a few minutes before exiting, but the weather had made going down even slower. So by the time I returned to 8000′, daylight was dwindling. But I wanted to reach the 7000′ shoulder before dark.

Nohokomeen Glacier
Nohokomeen Glacier

See more trip photos here.

A Change of Plans

The sky had darkened when I returned to Crater Creek Basin at 6400′. So I decided to stay the night on Jerry Lakes Peak’s south saddle with my emergency blanket. Then I would go back to camp the following day.

The SOL Emergency Bivvy hasn’t done a great job in wind protection or even heat preservation. As it reflected my body heat, the warmth would soon form moisture. So the two times I’ve used it, I shivered through the night.

Pasayten morning sky
Pasayten morning sky

See more trip photos here.


Day 3

Exit

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Back to Moraine Lake

I woke up early the next day with dark clouds and vibrant colors over the eastern sky. But behind me, the mists had shrouded Crater Creek Basin. Later I walked down to Jerry Lakes to look closer before leaving. 

After a sleepless night, I was eager for a long nap at camp. As luck would have it, the minute I went inside the tent, it rained for the next hour. On the way down, I stopped several times for photos and took a while to exit the basin.

Saudade of Jerry Lakes
Saudade of Jerry Lakes

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Outro

In contrast, the weather on Highway 20 was much better. Then as I made the long drive west, I kept looking at Jack Mountain through the rearview mirror. I had hoped to see it poking above the clouds, but that never happened.

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

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