On page 346 of Select Peaks, I described the summer and winter approach to the standard route on Jackson Peak, but neglected to describe the spring approach to skiing on the north face of Jackson Peak.
The north face of Jackson Peak is a great place for spring skiing, especially for the added benefit of the steep skiing training. The approach is, however, surprisingly long and vague. Here's the best description I can muster:
Park at the summer trailhead. Continue on foot past the gate on the south side of the parking area up an old logging road. When I first skied Jackson Peak in the mid 1980s, this road was open and the trailhead was another mile or so up. But the road was extremely rough. I remember taking my 1971 Mercury Marquis up there several times, and wondering why the thing always leaked gas and oil afterward. Sometime in the mid 1990s, the Forest Service closed the road, made the trailhead where it is today, and rerouted the trail to Goodwin Lake farther to the north.
After about a half mile on this road, there is a fork. You can take either fork. The right fork appears to be the more efficient route. The left fork brings you through two long inefficient switchbacks, and then requires you to make two drops to get back on track in the valley that drains the north face.
The recommended right fork takes an efficient low traverse into that valley, and connects with a series of clear cuts that rise steadily. These cuts eventually lead to easy meadows and forest below the north face.
The next three images show the entire approach in order starting at the trailhead in the first image. Red indicates the recommended route, but green works too:
This image is looking down from the north face of Jackson Peak at the red and green routes. You can see how much you have to climb if you take the green route...about 200 vertical feet.
Corrections and additions for Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone.
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