July 17, 2019 – Hillman Peak

“I hope there’s enough snow to eek out some turns” was what Joe, John, Dan and I were all discussing as we headed north on Highway 97 with the hopes of making turns in our second state on the same day. After a pretty sweet trip to Shasta, we were hoping the north face of Hillman Peak was holding enough snow to have a little fun. A few hours later, as we entered the Park from the south, it wasn’t looking terribly promising as there only the smallest of patches remaining on Garfield Peak. A few minutes later, after fighting the crowds of tourists on the road, we made it to the pullout adjacent to Hillman.

Joe and Hillman

Although it didn’t look great, it looked like we’d be able to ski most of the peak via a connecting snow patch on the northeast side. Stoked, we headed out with super light packs. A quick hike up the ridge brought us the top of the snow, fifty or so feet from the actual summit. A quick scramble put us on top, with a commanding view of the lake….

Dan at the summit saddle
Fisheye view of Crater Lake

I convinced the rest of the crew to come to the top with me, and we all agreed the views were definitely worth it. We hung out up top for 15 minutes or so, soaking in the views, before scrambling back down to our stashed beers which were chilling in the snow…

The crew on top of Hillman
Milligram split and Wizard Island

Back down at the snow, we pounded the beers before strapping in, and Dan captured the below shot of John double fisting, which has got to be one of my favorite all time photos of the Fish!

The Fish pounding one down
The beer of choice for the afternoon

With the beers drank and stashed in our packs, it was time to strap in and rip a few turns. I dropped in first, made a few jump turns over the lip, and enjoyed some nice corn turns, before setting up to shoot a few shots of the skiers coming down…

Dan with Crater Lake as a backdrop
Joe skiing Hillman’s steep pitch

Shooting pics out to the east with the lake in the background always makes for a decent photo, so I continued snapping as Joe and John came down…

Joe enjoying the corn
The Fish, his beard, and the lake

After a couple hundred feet, we worked our way skier’s right, and were able to thread the needle on a thin patch of snow and continue working our way down without having to take the sticks off our feet.

Dan skiing the lower pitches
Looking back at the peak

Eventually we had to take the boards off and walk across a patch of dirt, but the last connector took us right down to the trail and nearly to the elevation of the road. Not too bad for mid-July.

Looking down the last patch

At the bottom of the snow, we loaded the boards on our packs, and it was a short hike back to the car via the trail.

Hiking back towards the car
Dan on the hike back

Before we made it to the car, we all agreed one more ski of the slope closest to the car was in order. It was a less than five minute hike to the top, and the turns, although short, were fun back down to the road. I captured the below shot of Dan as he dropped in.

Dan heading down for a last lap

Dan had to make one more run, while Joe, John and I headed back to the car to load gear and get ready for the drive home. We had the skis in the roof box by the time Dan came back, and he had a big grin on his face.

The parking lot scene

We enjoyed one more cold one while hanging out on the warm asphalt, and then it was time to load up and head out. On the drive home, we were all pretty stoked on the trip, and agreed that the final turns of our three day trip at Hillman were icing on the cake. Below is a parting shot of the day looking out over the lake from the summit of Hillman.

Looking out over Crater