Ascent of Icicle Ridge on 2017-04-23

Climber: Sherrie Trecker

Date:Sunday, April 23, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Icicle Ridge
    Elevation:7029 ft / 2142 m

Ascent Trip Report

Chris, Bri and I initially set out for Grindstone Mountain on Sunday, April 23. However, we found the road past Johnny Creek campground impassible for my AWD Subaru. We made a quick trip to the Starbucks in Leavenworth to come up with Plan A.1. We decided that Icicle Ridge was a reasonable objective, similar in size and scope.

We made quick time up the trail for the first 2500', but once we hit snow routefinding became more challenging. We ended up skirting a ridge a little too far to the left at around 5000', wading waist deep in snow yet for some reason being too stubborn to put on snowshoes. We ascended, backtracked, ascended again, found a better gully, finally donned snowshoes, and still made fairly slow time.

We followed the tracks of two snowshoers ahead of us to the base of the summit block, where we ascended a direct path up the steep southwest face. We encountered an ice step that would have involved mixed climbing and dire consequences if there was a fall, got out our topos, and decided there must be an easier way. We skirted to the left and found a gentle path that led directly to the summit. One easy step up with a hand on the old fire lookout foundation rebar and we got to the top.

The descent was pretty terrible. By 2 PM, the temperature was considerably warmer, creating really soft snow over a combination of ice, rocks, and downed trees. We probably fell 20-30 times each as we rushed down. We tried to stay to the skiers right of the gully, as the warming temperatures caused us to be concerned about avalanches. We were all wearing beacons as well.

This was a sufferfest by all accounts, but a great one with a strong team of people with positive attitudes.

I have a GPS track but it looks like a mess from my constant falling over on the descent. You could avoid those by not going out in terrible snow conditions. Hopefully Chris posts his on Peakbagger within a few days.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4699 ft / 1432 m
    Distance:9 mi / 14.5 km
    Trailhead:Fourth of July TH  2330 ft / 710 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Snowing, Cool, Breezy, Overcast

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