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slood
Daffy Hiker



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 235 | TRs | Pics
Location: Kent, WA
slood
Daffy Hiker
PostSat Oct 09, 2010 12:59 pm 
Carne Mountain - Leroy Creek High Route, plus Mount Maude (6-7 October 2010)

Gary and JimK had been discussing the possibility of hiking the Carne-Leroy High Route this weekend to view the golden larch trees, but the weather forecast was dismal. Since the mid-week forecast was favorable, Gary sent out an email suggesting a Wed-Thu trip. Jim unfortunately couldn't get away, but Gary and I took vacation from work and headed for the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

We left Kent around 5:30 AM on Wednesday, arriving at the Phelps Creek trailhead in just under 3 hours and hitting the trail by 8:30 AM. A short distance down the Phelps Creek trail, we turned right onto the Carne Mountain trail and headed up. We quickly warmed up on the climb up to Carne Basin, arriving early enough to still have morning sunshine lighting up the larches. Much "shutter delay" ensued as we slowly made our way though the basin.

As we climbed out of Carne Basin, we took a short side trip to a saddle which gave a nice view over Willow Creek and Old Gib Mountain. Then it was back to the Carne Mountain trail, where we soon had a great view down Rock Creek, as well as getting our first glimpse of Glacier Peak. From the top of Carne Mountain, we also had a nice view of the High Route and Mount Maude. While we were having lunch atop Carne, three day-hikers joined us on the peak. We chatted for a bit, then decided it was time to continue on our way. Rather than backtrack down the Carne Mountain trail to the junction with the High Route, we chose to scramble down the ridge and intersect the High Route a little further along (a shorter-but-not-faster route).

The Carne-Leroy High Route stays above 6000', traversing through the Box Creek and Chipmunk Creek drainages on its way to Leroy Creek Basin. We saw only one other person on Wednesday: a hiker doing the entire Carne-Leroy High Route loop in one day (in the opposite direction from us).

For our first day, we chose to stop in an unnamed basin just beyond Chipmunk Creek and below the saddle to Ice Lakes. (The rock scramble down from the saddle to Chipmunk Creek was loose and crappy. Not fun.) There was a small, snow-melt fed stream for water, and a nice selection of dry, flat areas for setting up a tent. (I had my Tarptent Rainbow, while Gary chose to bring a bivy sack.) After setting up camp, we cooked dinner and watched the stars come out. The Milky Way was clearly visible, and we spent an hour or so stargazing and watching satellites wander across the sky. We also saw the International Space Station go across; it's easy to spot because it's so much brighter than any other satellite in Earth orbit (except the moon, which wasn't out).

We turned in around 9 PM, and I could tell my resting heart rate was faster than normal; my body isn't used to sleeping at nearly 7000'. I'm not sure how low the temperature got during the night, but I don't think it was much below freezing. While there was frost on the ground in the morning, it was still 37 deg F in my tent. I awoke to nature's call at 5:40 AM, then spent the next quarter-hour stargazing some more. Around 6 AM, Gary emerged from his bivy and we proceeded to heat water for breakfast as we watched the sky lighten with the approaching sunrise.

After breakfast, we left our sleeping and cooking gear in camp, stowed our lunches and jackets in our packs, and headed to 9082' Mount Maude. The scramble up the saddle to Ice Lakes is rocky and steep, but not too difficult. On the other side, we dropped 180' toward Ice Lakes, then walked a short distance to begin the scramble up Maude. While there are a couple of spots where the dirt and rocks are loose and steep, Mount Maude is a fairly straightforward walk-up with a well-worn climbers' path. Gary was ahead of me all the way to the top, and I was feeling the thinner air at this altitude. It was still a bit early for lunch when we arrived at the summit, so we had a snack and spent a while taking pictures. We eventually decided we were cold enough from the sharp breeze blowing across the peak, so we headed back down.

Back at camp, we ate lunch and refilled our water bottles. As we were packing up camp, we saw a solo hiker heading up to the saddle toward Ice Lakes and Mount Maude (one of only two hikers we would see this day). Once we were all packed up again, it was time for us to head on toward Leroy Creek.

Along the upper slopes of Leroy Creek Basin we encountered "The Ditch", a 10' to 15' deep washout with steep, loose sides full of big rocks just waiting to slip. A boot path into and out of the ditch is marked with two large cairns on one side and a smaller cairn opposite. Further into the basin, we were surprised to come across some bright patches of huckleberry. (Most of the huckleberry along the route is well past prime fall color.) From the basin, we looked up at Seven Fingered Jack and noticed that clouds were now obscuring the fingers. Our clear, sunny weather was coming to an end. As we made our way across the basin, we passed one campsite with a bivy and some other gear still set up. We speculated that it might belong to the hiker we saw earlier in the day, but there's no way to be sure.

The steep and eroded Leroy Creek trail from the basin back down to Phelps Creek has only two good points: a nice view of a waterfall, and the end of the trail. Partway down, we passed the second (and last) hiker we'd see on Thursday. He and his dog were headed up overnight for the Mount Maude scramble the next day. I hope he got to see more than the inside of a cloud.

Once down on the Phelps Creek trail we quickly switched from "communing" to "commuting" mode (as Gary is fond of calling it), making quick time back to the trailhead. The closer we got to the car, the stronger the pull of the 59er Diner became. We were ready for milkshakes and dinner, a tasty ending to a spectacular trip along the Carne-Leroy High Route.


Hike stats (per Gary and his GPS):
"We did 18 mi. and 7500 ft of gain over the two days including the scrambles up Maude and Carne and the side trip to see Old Gib.  The Mt. Maude scramble from camp was 3.0 mi RT with a net gain of 2100' and a total gain of 2460' because of the 180' dip down toward Ice Lakes.  For the loop excluding Maude, the distance was 15 mi and a gain of 5020'."

Far too many photos (but still only a fraction of what I took):

Phelps Creek trailhead
Phelps Creek trailhead
First glimpse of Carne Basin larch
First glimpse of Carne Basin larch
Carne Mountain from the entrance to Carne Basin
Carne Mountain from the entrance to Carne Basin
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Mountain behind Carne Basin larch
Carne Mountain behind Carne Basin larch
Luminescent little larch in Carne Basin
Luminescent little larch in Carne Basin
Carne Basin with Buck Mountain in the distance
Carne Basin with Buck Mountain in the distance
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Basin larch
Carne Mountain
Carne Mountain
Ice on the trail in Carne Basin
Ice on the trail in Carne Basin
Willow Creek drainage and Old Gib Mountain
Willow Creek drainage and Old Gib Mountain
Carne Basin with Spider Meadow in the distance
Carne Basin with Spider Meadow in the distance
Along the High Route
Along the High Route
Carne Mountain trail
Carne Mountain trail
Carne Mountain larch and the Entiat Mountains
Carne Mountain larch and the Entiat Mountains
First peek of Glacier Peak
First peek of Glacier Peak
Carne Mountain trail and Rock Creek
Carne Mountain trail and Rock Creek
The High Route from atop Carne Mountain
The High Route from atop Carne Mountain
Carne Mountain larch
Carne Mountain larch
Mount Maude in the distance
Mount Maude in the distance
Looking back at Carne Mountain
Looking back at Carne Mountain
Along the High Route
Along the High Route
High Route larch
High Route larch
High Route larch
High Route larch
Along the High Route
Along the High Route
High Route moss
High Route moss
High Route larch
High Route larch
High Route larch
High Route larch
Larch closeup
Larch closeup
Bleached tree bones
Bleached tree bones
Saddle between Box Creek and Chipmunk Creek drainages
Saddle between Box Creek and Chipmunk Creek drainages
Looking back at Carne Mountain
Looking back at Carne Mountain
High Route larch and Glacier Peak
High Route larch and Glacier Peak
Backlit larch along the High Route
Backlit larch along the High Route
A glimpse of Mount Baker
A glimpse of Mount Baker
View into campsite basin from saddle from Chipmunk Creek
View into campsite basin from saddle from Chipmunk Creek
Mount Maude from the saddle between Chipmunk Creek and campsite basin
Mount Maude from the saddle between Chipmunk Creek and campsite basin
View up to the saddle between campsite basin and Ice Lakes
View up to the saddle between campsite basin and Ice Lakes
View back up to the saddle between campsite basin and Chipmunk Creek drainage
View back up to the saddle between campsite basin and Chipmunk Creek drainage
Sunrise on Glacier Peak
Sunrise on Glacier Peak
Campsite
Campsite
Lower Ice Lake from the saddle
Lower Ice Lake from the saddle
Mount Maude from the saddle between campsite basin and Ice Lakes
Mount Maude from the saddle between campsite basin and Ice Lakes
Gary climbing up Mount Maude
Gary climbing up Mount Maude
On the way up Mount Maude
On the way up Mount Maude
Orange blooms on Mount Maude
Orange blooms on Mount Maude
Blaze orange lichen on Mount Maude
Blaze orange lichen on Mount Maude
Getting closer...
Getting closer...
Gary's "Rocky" moment on Mount Maude
Gary's "Rocky" moment on Mount Maude
Mount Maude summit shot (Glacier Peak in the distance)
Mount Maude summit shot (Glacier Peak in the distance)
Seven Fingered Jack and Mount Fernow from Mount Maude
Seven Fingered Jack and Mount Fernow from Mount Maude
Upper Ice Lake from Mount Maude
Upper Ice Lake from Mount Maude
Entiat Meadows from Mount Maude
Entiat Meadows from Mount Maude
Mount Maude summit flora
Mount Maude summit flora
Looking down from Mount Maude to saddle between Ice Lakes and campsite basin
Looking down from Mount Maude to saddle between Ice Lakes and campsite basin
Spider Meadow from Mount Maude
Spider Meadow from Mount Maude
Glacier Peak from Mount Maude
Glacier Peak from Mount Maude
Lower Ice Lake
Lower Ice Lake
Campsite basin
Campsite basin
High Route larch
High Route larch
Seven Fingered Jack from saddle between campsite basin and Leroy Creek Basin
Seven Fingered Jack from saddle between campsite basin and Leroy Creek Basin
Seven Fingered Jack and upper Leroy Creek drainage
Seven Fingered Jack and upper Leroy Creek drainage
View back to saddle between campsite basin and Leroy Creek Basin
View back to saddle between campsite basin and Leroy Creek Basin
The Lone Larch
The Lone Larch
"The Ditch"
"The Ditch"
Looking up "The Ditch"
Looking up "The Ditch"
Looking down "The Ditch"
Looking down "The Ditch"
Trailside color
Trailside color
Huckleberry red
Huckleberry red
Leroy Creek Basin
Leroy Creek Basin
Streamside color above Leroy Creek Basin
Streamside color above Leroy Creek Basin
No backlighting necessary
No backlighting necessary
Seven Fingered Jack from Leroy Creek Basin
Seven Fingered Jack from Leroy Creek Basin
Seven Fingered Jack's fingers are in the clouds
Seven Fingered Jack's fingers are in the clouds
Phelps Creek valley from the Leroy Creek trail
Phelps Creek valley from the Leroy Creek trail
Leroy Creek falls
Leroy Creek falls
Leroy Creek "trail not maintained"
Leroy Creek "trail not maintained"
Pointing out the obvious
Pointing out the obvious
Carne-Leroy High Route GPS track
Carne-Leroy High Route GPS track
Carne-Leroy High Route elevation profile
Carne-Leroy High Route elevation profile

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My Flickr Photos
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JimK
Member



Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5555 | TRs | Pics
Location: Ballard
JimK
Member
PostSat Oct 09, 2010 2:37 pm 
I'm sorry I couldn't get away and join you folks. I am glad that after missing the Cutthroat Pass backpacking trip you did get in a good larch trip. Thanks for all your photos.

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Hiking Northwest
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DRSpalding
Probably riding MTB



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 458 | TRs | Pics
Location: Redmond, WA
DRSpalding
Probably riding MTB
PostSat Oct 09, 2010 3:39 pm 
Nice trip.  I was up there on the 7th too and I think I saw you as I was getting ready to leave the TH on that interminable drive back down the Chiwawa River Rd.  Was one of you wearing a hunter's orange vest?  I decided against the 59er Diner and opted for the Alpen Drive-in in Startup instead.  For the length of time it took, (it sure wasn't "fast" food!) I might just have well had a sit-down meal at Cole's Corner instead.

I envied the sunshine you had on the 6th and the morning of the 7th though.  When I got to Carne Basin (Larches con Carne - 10/7/2010) it was cloudy and while I got good light for landscapes and such, the larches didn't really blaze up.

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slood
Daffy Hiker



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 235 | TRs | Pics
Location: Kent, WA
slood
Daffy Hiker
PostSat Oct 09, 2010 3:56 pm 
DRSpalding wrote:
I was up there on the 7th too and I think I saw you as I was getting ready to leave the TH on that interminable drive back down the Chiwawa River Rd.  Was one of you wearing a hunter's orange vest?

Yeah, that was us. Gary was wearing a vest (and had a 2nd on his pack).

This was my first trip to Carne and Maude, and I must say I wasn't disappointed. What a gorgeous place!

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My Flickr Photos
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