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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Yellowjacket Tower/East Flank

Our team did the YJT on June 12th, 2016. We had a team of 7 people and ran this as three climbing teams. No snow present, we were about 12 hours car to car. Note, this was a backup climb from Unicorn where we were weathered out 2 days earlier.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • No snow, lots of sand and loose rocks in the gullies.

Yellow Jacket Tower – East Flank Trip report

Drive in:

The group met in Monroe at 5:30 AM, and were boots on trail at 8am. Drive distance was 92 miles.  And the parking area is 6.1 miles from the Hwy 2/Icicle road as advertised. 


The approach was pretty straightforward.  As you cross the bridge, bear left and take the first trail to the right that goes directly towards the peak in the distance.  For us, there was a cairn and some flagging.  The trail is non-descript otherwise.  The walk up the hill is steep and direct – little in the way of navigation challenges – just keep going up and bearing towards the peak.  The main gulley very loose and sandy.  Rock fall is a real danger.  We set a hand line for the traverse above the chock stone at the gulley entrance.  Make that call based on the comfort of your team.

The hidden gulley is easy to find.  It is right next to the chicken head wall which is easy to see/find.  As noted this leads to the bottom of pitch one.  We set a handline here as there are a few tricky moves.  Again, use discretion based on your team’s comfort level.


The climb is very straight forward with lots of places to put in pro.  We used a lot of natural pro.  Also a few nuts, mid-sized cams and a pink and red tri-cam are very useful for the second pitch.  Our team used boots and climbing shoes, both work well.  The final pitch is a bit tricky with the crux move involving using a hole for a finger grip with the left hand, and a somewhat small bump for your right hand followed by some grunting and heaving to pull up to the summit.  The summit is small.  You can get two on there if you are comfortable with close contact and exposure.  We send people up one at a time on a top rope.  Taller people will have an easier time with this than shorter people in my opinion.  I should note that we had a three person climbing team on the first pitch.  We tied in the middle climber on the end of two ropes, and they passed pro and drug a rope up for the final climber who cleaned on the way up.  It is possible that a single rope might have worked, but we felt that this was a faster option since we had two ropes. 


It looks as thought he rap tree has moved from a somewhat sketchy tree at the top of the first pitch, to a better one next to the second pitch.  We were not positive where this would go, and how long it was, so we elected to rap down the climbing route.  We set a single rope rap down that pitch, followed by a double rope rap off the side of the hidden gully.  We then did another double rope rap down the gulley from the base of the hidden gulley, and yet another double rap from the chockstone.  The double rope raps were nice as it made the travel down the gullies easier, but they did add time.  At a minimum, you need a rap down from the top or the first pitch.  The rest could be scrambled if your team is OK.  Personally I would not advise it.  The potential for a fall in the loose sandy, rock impregnated gullies is high.  It is also very likely to knock down rocks on your party.  I recommend staying to the sides when climbing down as the gullies act as funnels and push rocks towards the middle.