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Jove Peak – Lake Janus

This route starts off slowly (three miles of roads to slog up), but then climbs to ridges and peaks with stellar views out over the North Cascades, Glacier Peak, Mt Baker, the Stuart Range, and Mt. <st1:placename w:st="on">Rainier. The route is not only beautifully scenic, it’s also tests your route-finding abilities, which is always fun – especially if you get lost.

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General Region: <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Stevens <st1:placename w:st="on">Pass Area.
Skill Level: 2+ (advanced intermediate).
Fitness Level: 3 (advanced).
Distance (roundtrip): 11 to 12  miles round trip depending on the return route.
Elevation Gain: About 4,400 feet.

Winter Access:
Drive Highway 2 west of <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Leavenworth until you’re about 4 miles east of Stevens Pass. Park on the north side of Highway 2 at milepost 68.9 about .2 miles before the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Smithbrook Road. The shoulder is plowed extra-wide here for winter recreationalists using the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Smithbrook Road. If you’re coming from the west, go about 6 miles east of Stevens Pass to the Stevens Pass Nordic Area, turn left on the road that cuts across the median and leads to the westbound lanes of Highway 2. Now drive about 1.5 miles west and use the parking area described above for the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Smithbrook Road.

 Trip Instructions:
Note: these instructions describe the route as a circle that passes over Jove Peak. To do a shorter, easier  trip to Janus Lake and back, piece together the first two and the final four steps of these instructions and disregard the climb of Union and Jove peaks. For the longer, harder circuit  here are the complete instructions:

--Ski west along the shoulder about .2 miles to the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Smithbrook Road (elevation 3,160 feet).
--Turn right on the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Smith Brook Road and follow it 2.8 miles up to the big switchback below <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Union <st1:placetype w:st="on">Peak and Union Gap (el 4,040 feet).
--At the switchback follow a true bearing of 323 degrees up toward Union Gap to 4,500 feet. The terrain is steep here, the trees are thick, but if you hit it right, there is a trail switchbacking up this area. Follow the trail if possible, it’s easier than blazing your own route.
--At 4,500 feet, follow a true bearing of 35 degrees up a steep rib to an elevation of 5,200 feet where you’ll hit the prominent SE ridge of Union Peak. This is a steep slope with some avalanche potential. In firm snow conditions it’s also tricky to skin up and you may want to remove the skis and boot your way uphill.
--At 5,200 feet, follow the SE ridge (true bearing of 323 degrees) to the 5,700 foot summit of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Union <st1:placetype w:st="on">Peak. Depending on the day, enjoy the views or the howling wind.
--Ski or snowshoe a half mile down the north ridge to a 5,180-foot saddle before ascending the SW ridge of Jove Peak. When the avalanche hazard is moderate and above, don’t venture very far out on the open slopes to your right as you climb the ridge – they are convex, load up with slabby snow, and avalanche frequently.
--The summit of Jove (6,007 feet) is even more spectacular (and windier) than the last.
-- Link turns off the summit of Jove, following moderate-angled slopes downward and following a true bearing of 291 degrees. The trees will thicken as you descend, but it’s not difficult to find open lines and fun skiing all the way down to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Janus <st1:placetype w:st="on">Lake (4,146 feet).
--At the lake, turn left (south) and contour until you hit the Pacific Crest Trail.
--Turn left on the PCT and follow it for 2 miles as it contours steep hillsides in a generally southerly direction and then climbs to Union Gap (4,700 feet). Most of the slopes here are forested and are protected from slide hazard but, when the avalanche hazard is high, there is some danger along short segments of the trail.
--At Union Gap, follow a true bearing of 133 degrees back to the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Smithbrook Road.
--Descend the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Smithbrook Road to the car.

Parts of the ascent and segments of the return trip options expose you to avalanche hazard. Small adjustments to the route described above you to tweak the line followed and avoid most of these hazards but the route is best avoided when the hazard is high.

Recommended Season: Winter and spring for skiing and snowshoeing.
Uses Allowed: Skiing, snowshoeing. Snowmobiles allowed on the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Smithbrook Road.
Other Maps: USGS 7.5-Minute Series: <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Labyrinth Mountain, <st1:state w:st="on">WA.
Land Ownership:  <st1:place w:st="on">Forest Service.
Fees/Permits Needed: No permits needed for the route or parking.
Trip Reporter:
Andy Dappen, 12/18/07

More Backcountry Skiing: Details of over 100 regional tours in our on-line guidebook.

Leave It Better Than You Found It:
 This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull some noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over unwanted spur trails, don’t ride or walk wet trails when you’re leaving ruts/footprints deeper than ¼ inch…

Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change and those contributing these reports are volunteers--they may make mistakes or not know all the issues affecting a route. You are responsible for yourself, your actions, and your safety. If you won’t accept that responsibility, you are prohibited from using our information.