OverviewWith steep, broad slopes and no maintained trail to the summit, Jove Peak is a popular winter destination, but is easily attainable year round. The easiest route to the summit of Jove is by ascending up and over Union Peak; both summits can be reached in half a day, round trip. The up close views of some of the neighboring mountains, such as Lichtenberg Mountain and Mt. McCausland make it all worth it. Obvious unobstructed views of the surrounding Cascades top it all off.
You have multiple choices to ascend this peak. The easiest and most direct way is the Nason Ridge Saddle route. It is also possible (but not necessarily recommended) to ascend from Lake Janus on the PCT. Additionally, an interesting route could be made as a southern traverse from Minotaur Lake, just south of Labyrinth Mountain.
The Nason Ridge Saddle route follows a very faint animal path that doubles as a climber's trail. The trail itself is hard to follow in places, and at times completely disappears. However, as long as you stay on top of the ridge, you'll always be "on trail". The ridge varies- at times maybe a couple hundred feet wide, it narrows to a knife edge ridge at one point. In one spot, you'll pass an obvious old campsite (basically, an old fire circle) with amazing wide open views to the south of the surrounding mountains, as well as a beautifully framed shot of Rainier. As you near Union Peak, you'll notice an occasional old red blaze. The trail from Union to Jove is blazed pretty well.
Jove is a pretty popular peak for backcountry skiers. The winter approach is long but pretty easy compared to some of the other nearby peaks. The slopes give access to tons of untouched powder, but as you can tell by any picture of Jove Peak, the southeastern slopes are avalanche prone and extremely dangerous. Cornices form on the northeast and southeast slopes.
Getting ThereFrom Nason Ridge Saddle
From the west (Everett/Seattle): Travel SR 2 east 68.5 miles. Very soon after SR two separates, take a left on Smithbrook Road #6700. Be careful crossing the westbound lanes of SR 2!
From the east (Wenatchee/Leavenworth): Travel SR 2 west, and turn right at about a half mile past milepost 69.
After turning off of SR 2, follow Smithbrook Road for a little less than 4 miles to the obvious crest on Nason Ridge. Immediately upon reaching the crest, parking can be found on the left (west) side of the road on and near a short little spur road.
Follow the well defined spur road for .1 mile to a very faint climbers path for the start of the "trail".
For additional information, check out the Labyrinth Mountain USGS quad map, or the Benchmark Mountain Green Trail map, #144.
Red TapeSince this isn't an official USFS trailhead, no parking permit should be required. Except when snow is present for melting, there is no water available. Plan accordingly.
CampingCamping is allowed, but please note, water is not available in any place on the trail.
External LinksWeather forecast out of Leavenworth, the nearest local forecast you'll get.
Stevens Pass Nordic Center is pretty close to the area, and should give pretty accurate winter conditions.