Mt. Maude - Entiat Icefall
Len and the Entiat Icefall
The Entiat Icefall is a challenging route with true alpine
style. Approach Icy Lakes via the Phelps and Leroy Creek trails
(unmarked but there), and camp below the South Ridge route at bivi ledges.
Cross talus slopes above Icy Lake to reach the notch that allows
access to the Entiat Glacier. Rope up and descend to find a short
crossing through abalition zone on receding glacier. This crossing
is much trickier than Beckey's picture shows. Skirt below the rock
spurr and head up towards the Icefall. Working rightward under the
pictured headwall, continue through big crevasses with short vertical
steps. Above are gentiler 35 degree ice slopes to the base of the rock.
There are several ramps to start off with on this 900 foot portion
of 4th and low 5th class rock. Pick the line of least resistance
leading slightly toward the ridge crest. The rock is generally crumbly,
and protection is scarce. Running belays are the method of choice
here. There is an interesting step-across at the top of a couloir
(Yoder?). Finally a short walk to the heavily carin'd summit! Give
5 to 7.5 hours to here. Descend the South Ridge, this took 30 minutes
Mike Leading off
Mike and I on top!
August 28-29, 1999
After getting a leisurely 7:00 a.m. start from Seattle, Mike, Len and
I arrived at the Phelps Creek trail head around 10:30 a.m. The end of
the road parking area was packed with cars and people. After checking
out the Leroy Creek trails existence, we headed out in a swarm of
bugs. The approach to Maude can be a bit confusing, especially without
someone elses advise. The shortest way in is through the Phelps
Creek trail, which connects to the unmarked and well worn Leroy Creek
trail. The trail empties into a basin directly under Maude and Seven Fingered
Jack. From here, we followed a small climbers path to a notch at around
6,900 feet. We figured this was the notch at about 7,200 feet described
in Beckeys guide. This error later helped us make a long detour
in the wrong direction up an ugly scree bash. At the pass we encountered
an old man hiking up to climb Maude. He carried a old mining map of the
area and a bunch of interesting history to go along with it. I suppose
there is reason to keep old guys around. J After talking for a half hour
or so, we packed up and headed out towards the lakes. Finally, after four
thousand feet and six hours in our own personal bug cloud, we found a
great bivi spot above the South side of Icy Lake.
Our position was ideal for the South Ridge route, which was to be our
descent route. However, to reach our desired route, we had to traverse
to the other side of the mountain! The route included a long scree bash
over a cliff band to a notch. At this time, Mike told us about his knees.
We then decided on cushioney time estimates for the next days climb.
Due to the fact that both the Icefall and the North Face are committing
routes, we decided to set an early turnaround time at the notch. If we
could not make it to the notch in two hours from camp the next morning,
there would not be time to complete the route and descent to the cars.
Thus, the clock was ticking.
After two brief rain storms and thoughts of going home, we were up at
4:00 a.m. under clear skies. After most of the scree bash was complete,
Mike decided that he was having another infamous "bad hair day." But we
decided to continue onto the notch over a short snow slope anyway. By
now, I had not contributed much in the way of danger to the climb. So,
when we came upon a brief patch of ice, I decided to show off my ice skating
skills. With thoughts of sailing across the ice with a running leap, I
hopped on. Immediately I was ass-over-tea-kettle, landing hard on the
shaft of my ice ax. After rolling around on the ground for a while, realizing
the utter stupidity of my feat, I was able to get up with only a bruise.
The three of us roped and descended the Entiat Glacier, found a path
through a short abolition zone, and to the base of the icefall. We decided
on four long screws, though we carried eight total, one picket and two
flukes for the leader. Luckily, because of the extra snow this year, we
were able to take steep snow slopes off to the side, bypassing about two
pitches of the icefall. From here we began a running belay through short
vertical steps and ramps between crevasses. Soon we were above the difficulties
on moderately angled snow and ice slopes. The entire icefall, for which
we had planned at most six hours, took an hour long running belay.
After a brief break to look at pictures of the route, Mike lead off
on the first pitch of rock. In our original estimates, we expected to
do the "scramble," described by Beckey, in an hour and a half. In reality,
the rock turned out to be loose and scantily protectable 4th and low 5th
class. After four hours and 900 vertical feet of running belays, the three
of us stood on Maudes 9,082 foot summit! With some pointing and
laughing at the thunderstorms that seemed to be pounding down on the other
graduation climbs, we soon headed down for fear that we would have the
same fate. The descent was pleasantly trivial, taking only 30 minutes
to descend back to our bivi site. After the long descent, we found ourselves
back at the truck at only 6:00 p.m! A great wrap up to the course for
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