Yellowjacket Tower/East Flank

A steep and direct climbers trail leads to two, fairly short, pitches of mid-5th class rock with a bit of exposure just below the summit. Good views of Icicle Creek valley. Goats occasionally will keep you company and may cause problems. Times: 5 hr trailhead to summit.

getting there

Drive US-2 (Stevens Pass) east to Leavenworth. Just before entering town, turn right on Icicle Creek Road. Follow road 6.1 mi to a turnout on the left near a bridge.


A trail leaves the road near the E end of the turnout down to a private, metal and wood, bridge. After crossing the bridge (l670 ft) go left on the gravel road (private property) a few hundred feet to where an obvious well worn trail leaves the gravel road on its right. Take this trail to Rat Creek Boulder then slightly right and up. The trail is obvious, well worn and steep.

Follow this trail mainly up (south) until it puts you at the base of the main gully (hard hats). The base of the main gully is littered with white granite scree that leads up to a very large chock stone obstruction on its left. Proceed a few hundred feet up to beneath the obstruction. From here, scramble right out of the gully, then up and left back into the gully to get above the obstruction.

Here the main gully becomes very broad and dirty. Proceed up the main gully past several large fallen trees. Right and up toward the skyline look for a yellowish vertical wall with bubbly granite - large knobs, chicken heads, etc. This is easier to see looking W from the top of the minor pass.

Begin working your way up, right, and towards this structure. Just below its base, is a large tree where a steep hidden gully starts between the tree and the main wall. Kiss this wall and look left to find the hidden gully. Space at the belay spot ahead is limited so it may be best to rope-up here.


Scramble the hidden gully (class 2-3 except for a short section of class 4) to an obvious belay spot at a tree on the left and below a right facing dihedral on the right (4,000 ft).

Climb the 70 ft right facing dihedral and exit right past a tree and large chockstone. Then go left onto the broad base on which the summit tower sits. There are ample belay spots here.

The climb finishes on the west side of the tower by climbing a sloping ramp, a small shelf, and the a short slightly exposed 15 ft section to the top (4,140 ft). Protect this exposed section with a cam in the 1-2 in horizontal crack at its base. At the top, an old iron ring of unknown quality can be found.

Since there is really no room at the top it works well to rig the old piton (replaced with bolts) as a top anchor so that you can belay your partner from below. 


You may find that down climbing the slightly exposed section is actually easier than climbing it. Descend using one double rope rappel or two single rope rappels.


Seattle to Trailhead 2.5
Trailhead to Summit 5 2,500
Summit to Trailhead 3


Standard rock equipment.

Take a selection of eight to ten stoppers, hexes, and cams for cracks from 3/8 to 2-1/2 in with most between 0.5 in and 1.5 in.


The approach initially is through private property.  Be respectful and quiet.

The summit block is difficult to protect. Some leaders have used a #0.5 (pink) Camp tricam in a small pocket near eye level to protect the summit block.

Beware of Mountain Goats in area. They can cause rockfall on approach or climb.  Many climbers hang their non-summit packs on trees beyond the reach of the goats.

Wear helmets!

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Technical 3, Basic Rock Climb, Strenuous 1
  • Length: 2.5 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,250 ft
  • 4,140 ft
  • USGS Leavenworth
  • Green Trails Leavenworth No. 178

Upcoming Activities

Basic Alpine Climb - Yellowjacket Tower/East Flank

Climbing Trip
Basic Rock climb for Tacoma Basic Students. No iquiries until March 1 for basic participant.
Difficulty: Technical 3, Basic Rock Climb, Strenuous 1
Fri, May 10, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
5 participants
Registration opens Mar 19
Tacoma Branch

Basic Alpine Climb - Yellowjacket Tower/East Flank

Climbing Trip
Priority to Tacoma Basic Climbing students until May 1
Difficulty: Technical 3, Basic Rock Climb, Moderate/Strenuous
Sat, May 11, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
4 participants 1 leader
Registration opens Apr 1
Tacoma Branch
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