Old Snowy from White Pass

December 27, 2000

1 day

Jason, Ben, Josh

Author: Jason Hummel


Traversing above Shoe Lake. Old Snowy is the highest peak in the background above the three large trees.


Outside it is raining and Ben sends me an email asking, "What do you want to do? It sounds like it might rain, but I think they are just lying." I told him that I didnít care and whatever he dreams up is fine by me. Big Mistake! The plan goes something like this: wake up at 1 am, meet Ben at the top of White Pass by 2:45 am, from there hike/skin 13+ miles of snow to the summit of Old Snowy, ski back 13+ miles, and be home in time for dinner. "Sounds good," I told him. Often I think Ben climbs with us because we are the only ones who will do anything.

About 10 pm that night Ben gives the go ahead with a short email.

At 2:45 am I find Josh and myself sitting in our car at the top of White Pass, it is pissing rain, 45 degrees, and nobody is getting out of the car including Ben whom we had yet to speak too. He was in his Mazda. Josh and I in our Jeep. A minute or two later Ben gets out of his car and says, "Well?" We all laugh, but continue packing. Nobody will call it. Instead of being home in a warm and cozy bed sleeping like most people we are skinning up White Pass in the middle of the night.


Taking a quick break just below the ridge.


Soon we were off of the resort and within the trees. To me the eerie forest seemed a single organism and we just vermin infringing. Only Ben had a light and he was in the lead. Josh and I followed.

We were making good time, but decided to stop and wait out the weather in the trees below Hogback. When we started our trip it was 45 degrees and now Benís thermometer said it was 25 degrees. We spent two hours in a snow pit that we dug to escape the wind. By that time dawn had come along with some blue sky. Hopes were rising.


Sitting down for a break after taking our skins off so we can ski down to Shoe Lake and the PCT.


We quickly made our way over mountains and over ridges, down valleys and up valleys, across flats and across flats. We were within an hour of Tieton Pass, but we were also running out of energy. From Tieton Pass it would take us over 3 hours to reach the summit. We decided to go back a different way and climbed up some lower mountains and followed a few steep ridges.


Josh and I climbing back up from the valley bottom. Old Snowy is the highest peak that can be seen above us.


Atop one mountain we had lunch, took our shirts off, and appreciated the view. It was one heck of a day. The sun was bright with not a cloud in the sky. We decided to hang out and enjoy the view, the warm sun, and the cool wind. Yes, one of the true joys of climbing -- sitting.


Josh and I with Rainier in the distance.



Jumping on our way back through the Hogback.


We were unsuccessful although our desire to return outweighed our regrets.