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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Yellowjacket Tower/East Flank

A short climb just off Icicle creek road

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

A friend had recently climbed this and talked it up a bit, so when my  weekend freed up and the weather on the West side looked not so fun, this became an obvious first target on the East side.

This being a quick climb, we started up the trail at 8am.  The start of the approach is very clearly private property (driveways leading to houses in close proximity to the trail), so we tried to be sensitive to people’s space.

There is a small trail at the East end of the parking lot that leads down to the metal bridge.

If you go roughly straight back after crossing the bridge, you will notice a wood sign that clearly identifies the trail.IMG_20190831_153409255.jpg

The weather was beautiful, though a bit muggy leading to copious amounts of perspiration on a steep ascent.  The trail is well-worn and direct, leading all the way to the gully.  There are beautiful views of the valley and the opposite slope as you hike up.

Once in the gully between the two ridges, there’s lots of loose rock and disturbed dirt flows downhill like sand.  It made me a bit concerned about the erosion climbers are causing there, so I tried to step carefully to affect as little as possible. Once at the base near the tree and the “chicken-head wall”, I scrambled up the “hidden gully” and set a hand line for the exposed 4th class move.

We reached the base of the official 1st pitch at 10:30.  The climbing was fun, but much shorter than I was hoping.  After P1, you’re already at the summit tower, which is much smaller in person than the pictures I’ve seen.

We reached the very cool summit at noon.  Cheryl and I determined it has exactly the right amount of space for 2 butts – no more.  Hung out there until 12:45 then started our descent.

On the second rappel, the rope got stuck.  I ended up having to use the other half of the rope that we had to climb back up and free the end.  Once freed, I lowered off a rappel ring that was conveniently slung on a tree near the top of the first pitch.  Fortunately the whole ordeal only took 20 min.

After reaching the base of the climb, there are rappels that conveniently cris-cross the main gully the whole way down.  The second-to-last had no rap-ring, and webbing that I wasn’t thrilled about, so we opted to skip that one and down-scramble rather than donate my cordelette.

The hike out was a cruise and we reached the car at 3:40pm.  It was a great day.  Yellow jacket hit the spot for a first objective of the weekend.

Additional information:

Between the route description and another on, the route beta is very good.