Of note: per Kalet-Climbing the Northeast Ridge via Copper Mountain ski area is illegal without a Copper Mountain ski pass when Copper Mountain is open.
Round trip distance-6.60 miles
After parking at the fenced off portion of the feeder road, hike about 200 yards south down this road past the beaver ponds. From here, locate a slope that ascends up a minor drainage and begin an easy bushwhack up the slope. This is not the actual Copper Creek Drainage, but a minor slope just south of the real Copper Creek Drainage. Ascending this slope will help bypass the very steep and rugged lower portion of Copper Creek which is very narrow and choked up with plenty of down fall.
Hike about a quarter mile up this slope, generally keeping to the right. Soon this slope veers into the Copper Creek Drainage; you may have to hike down into this drainage from the slope. From here the rest of the route is straightforward. After about a thousand vertical feet in the tree-laden drainage you should pop out into upper Copper Gulch. The steep hiking relents here and gives way to a wide-open basin with minimal tree cover. The snow covered ground here is also the south slope of Union Mountain, a mountain within the Copper Mountain ski area boundary. You will soon pass a couple of chair lifts as you continue on to upper Copper Creek Gulch.
At about 12,200-ft, 2.5 miles from the trailhead, the upper slope of Copper Gulch easily merges with northeast ridge of Jacque Peak. From here the ridge begins to narrow and become much more obvious. The last 900 vertical feet is a nice ridge hike that affords excellent views. The hiking here never exceeds Class 2 all the way to the summit.
For your descent, I recommend just following Copper Creek all the way back down to Hwy 9. Getting down through lower Copper Creek is much easier than coming up.
When you finally come to the end of this drainage, locating your car parked by the fence-off feeder road will be easy.
In winter, Ice Axe and crampons are not necessary, but good snow conditions are necessary. Start at 5:00a.m. or 6:00a.m for an ascent in the winter or early spring.