Peak(s):  Whale Pk  -  13,078 feet
"Hassell Pk"  -  13,215 feet
Date Posted:  04/12/2018
Date Climbed:   03/30/2018
Author:  eskermo
 Hassell and Whale   

Hassell Peak 13,215'
Butler Gulch to North Ridge ascent
Northeast Slopes and Halfpipe Gully descent
Jones Pass TH
7.4 miles, 3,100'

Starting at the Jones Pass TH, we followed Butler Gulch above Halfpipe Gully until we reached the last notch on the ridge line extending east from the Continental Divide. We followed the ridge, and then the Divide south to the summit. We were able to ride directly off the summit and enjoyed great turns down Hassell's NE slopes. We traversed hard skiers left toward our ascent ridge, missing the perfect bowl down to Hassell Lake, which looked delicious. This did, however, allow for a short climb ( about 100' vert) back to the ascent ridge separating Hassell Lake drainage from Butler Gulch. We dropped back into Butler and enjoyed perfect snow down Halfpipe Gully before rejoining the road down Butler and back to the car.

Skinning high in Butler Gulch

Most of the remaining route after gaining the ridge

Jake about halfway up the ridge

Looking west up to the Divide

Looking south toward the summit and Hassell's northeast slopes

About halfway along Hassell's North Ridge, summit just beyond the saddle

Looking North from the summit

Pettingell's North Face and in the distance, some unimportant, boring range that should never be visited

First turn



Looking back after the short hike back up to the ridge

Dropping back into Butler Gulch

Topo via CalTopo

Whale Peak 13,078'
Gibson Creek and Northeast Slopes ascent
Whales Tail descent
Gibson Lake TH
11.3 miles, 3,450'

Hall Valley Rd had some snow. So we walked the road almost 3 miles to the Gibson Lake trailhead before skinning. An old trench featuring some pleasant 4 foot deep, snowshoe-less post holes led us up to Gibson Lake. Passing the lake on its north side, we managed to skin to 12,900'ish before booting to the summit.

After hiking down to the saddle, we strapped in and traversed to the lower angle ramp entering from the S side of the Whales Tail. The north side of the Tail featured a cornice. After a couple turns but before entering the gully proper, I released a thin slab originating from the cornice, a few inches deep, that ran the length of the line. We quickly got out of there, cutting skiers left above the Gibson Lake cliffs, and eventually riding it out back down to the Gibson Lake TH. From there, we managed to ride most of the road, except for a few hundred yards of dry patches here and there.

Whale from Hall Valley Rd

Nearing treeline

High on the slopes northeast of the summit

Looking down Gibson Creek drainage

Why do people ski there? I'll never understand.

Looking at Whales Tail entrance from the summit

Looking up the Tail from above the Gibson Lake cliffs

One last look

Topo via

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

04/17/2018 12:16
I hope to be skiing both of these peaks in about a month, so great timing for some beta!


Thanks for the TR
04/18/2018 08:09
I went and skied Hassell Monday. Fun, quick route.

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