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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Mount Maude & Seven Fingered Jack

Party of 4 climbed and summited SFJ / South West ridge and Mt. Maude / South ridge (7/29-7/30) from Leroy Creek Basin.

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
  • Started the approach from Phelps Creek TH and hiked to Leroy Creek Basin where we camped for one night. The hike on Phelps Creek trail followed by dry and dusty Leroy Creek trail was uneventful; 5 stream crossings on Phelps Creek trail were straight forward (we could cross walking through some of them or jump / walk on rocks and logs). Scramble route(s) up SFJ were snow free (there were some minor patches but avoidable) and made the right call for not bringing the ice axes with us. Poles were very useful on ascent and descent. We brought crampons and ice axes with us on Sunday though for Maude and they were useful on the steep slope (on the east side of the ridge from Ice Lakes side basin) we decided to ascent on to get to ~8000ft on the South ridge. Transition from snow to the ridge crest required a drop in a moat or walking on a knife edge next to it (both variants were manageable with extra care).

Party of 4 climbed and summited SFJ / South West ridge and Mt. Maude / South ridge (7/29-7/30) from Leroy Creek Basin. Chiwawa River and Phelps Creek Trail roads were drivable all the way to TH but for the second one (notorious for its “craters” and sharp rocks in some sections) only high clearance cars have chance for survival. Parking lot was full (lots of backpackers were targeting Spider Meadows) and we ended up parking our car at the end of a long line on the road (5 minutes or less road walk to the TH). The Camp / Leroy Creek basin was beautiful, completely melted out and we found great running water source right next to our site. We took our time and made it to the camp in 3 hours, then setup camp, had lunch, chilled a bit and took off for SFJ. Despite the heat wave we had to deal with and chossy rock conditions, we made it on the summit in about 3 hours (with some of us tagging by mistake the false summit as well). After a 40-minute summit break, we made it down before 7:15 PM ready for dinner and the fights with aggressive flies / horseflies who were waiting for us. On Sunday AM we took off for Maude, following the southward boot path (easy to lose it in places, especially on our way back later in the day) to 6,840 ft saddle. We followed the booth path all way to the 7,500 ft South ridge notch where we dropped down about 300 ft to Ice Lakes basin to regain the South ridge up higher (~8,000 ft) from its east side while ascending a steep snow slope. Once on the ridge crest, getting to the summit was an easy walk. On our downclimb, we decided to not drop back in the Ice Lakes basin (and regain the ridge at 7,500 ft to find the boot path) and followed instead the Mountaineers ascent description but in reverse. It worked but involved lots of route finding and serious scrambling (way chossier rock than on SFJ). The route finding to transition from the South ridge 7,700 ft point to the broad ridge called out in the description and downclimbing treacherous terrain added extra 45 minutes to my initial trip profile for Maude. Fortunately, our competent group downclimbed safely without any incidents. If I will ever decide to go back and climb it again, will avoid the route used to come down and stick with the route we used for ascent .