|Peak:||"Hassell Peak" (13er)|
|Route:||Northeast Ridge from Butler Gulch|
|Date of Info:||04/04/2021|
There's a superhighway from Butler Gulch Trailhead to treeline. "Hassel"'s northeast ridge is visible from treeline. We snowshoed below the saddle with the ridge, where things dried out slightly, but ultimately kept our snowshoes on until the snow became too steep and canted north to remain safe. At this point I brought out the ice axe; Heather put on microspikes. She did not have the former, I did not have the latter. I kicked steps up the sometimes soft, usually rock hard snow knife edge all the way to the ridge. The last 100 or so feet were very steep, highly exposed, and the snow was super hard. I'm sure the steps I kicked will remain for several days if not longer. The rest of the ridge to the summit was easy with some minor scrambling and minor postholing.
To descend we went down "Hassel"'s broad, snowy east ridge to a flat-ish spot on the ridge, then went north avoiding the cliffs. The approximate route is hard to describe in detail but it can be viewed from the saddle on the northeast ridge almost all the way to the summit, so just make a mental map of your descent route. We then snowshoed back up about 200 vertical feet to the saddle, then back to the trailhead.
I found an ice axe useful for the snow on the upper ridge; Heather found microspikes useful. Bring at least one, either traction or an ice axe, since you will not want to be without, even with pre-kicked steps. Snowshoes were useful but probably not necessary, especially with hard snow. Most of our snow was icy but you will obviously find very variable conditions this time of year.
Photos (click for slideshow):
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