Forum Index > Trip Reports > Carne/Ice Lakes/Leroy, 10/4-10/6/23
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jaysway
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jaysway
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PostWed Jan 24, 2024 12:05 am 
Here is another belated trip report, a result of me having more free time than I would like as a result of not great ski conditions. My longest larch trip in the fall was a three day loop up Carne, to Ice Lakes, and then down the Leroy Creek route and back to the Phelps Creek trailhead. I couldn't have asked for better weather (warm, clear skies) and close to peak larches. I saw a bunch of people heading down from Carne as I made my way up on my first day, but then had Carne to myself for the evening. The next day I only saw a single person, and had the entire Ice Lakes basin to myself until the next morning. On my way out, I saw a bunch of people either heading into Ice Lakes or trail running the loop. Wednesday As much as I dislike driving up the Chiwawa River Road, it undeniablely accesses some of Washington's finest terrain. Even though the trail up to Carne is steep, I love how short it is: once I arrived in Carne Basin, I was in larch heaven for the next two days. I had originally planned on camping on the high route west of Ice Box, but when I got to the top of Carne I decided to cut my day short and enjoy the last few hours of sunlight at the summit. Even though my trips are considerably less intense than many that are shared here, I have been trying to slow down a bit and appreciate my time in these beautiful places more, so even though I was making my next day longer, it was great to rest and appreciate the great views at Carne.
Carne basin
Carne basin
Very close to the Carne summit
Very close to the Carne summit
Looking towards Phelps Basin
Looking towards Phelps Basin
Old Gib
Old Gib
Glacier Peak hiding under the clouds
Glacier Peak hiding under the clouds
The last light of the day
The last light of the day
Thursday As much as I don't like how short the days get by this point in the season, I appreciate being able to enjoy sunset and sunrise while getting a good night's sleep. The sky was clear, and I enjoyed lounging on Carne as the sun got higher. I was a bit nervous about route finding on the high route to Ice Lakes, but 95% of the time the route is a well-trodden trail. I saw my first person of the day on the pass NW of Ice Box, a trail runner doing the loop in a day who I had a great, long conversation with. I was really excited when I finally crested Freezer Pass and looked down onto the Ice Lakes for the first time! These lakes have been on my list for a long time smile.gif. My trek into the lakes was slow as I was constantly stopping to take pictures. The terrain around the Upper Lake has a neat, barren feeling. I decided to camp past the end of the upper lake with a great view looking down onto the lower lake. Overall, I found the lower lake to be more scenic, especially since the lower lake has such a high concentration of larch.
Glacier Peak finally showing itself
Glacier Peak finally showing itself
On the way to Ice Lakes...
On the way to Ice Lakes...
Looking back at Carne from the high route
Looking back at Carne from the high route
One of my favorite basins
One of my favorite basins
This is where I saw my only person of the day
This is where I saw my only person of the day
Upper Ice Lake
Upper Ice Lake
Tarn just before the lake
Tarn just before the lake
Lower Ice Lake from my campsite
Lower Ice Lake from my campsite
Friday I decided to enjoy sunrise from the slopes above the NE corner of the Upper Lake as I figured it would have good views of the basin. The views of the Upper Lake were indeed great from here, and as the sun rose I decided that I might as well continue climbing (class 3) until I reached the top of the 7,936' unnamed peak. From the top, I had a view down into Entiat River valley/Entiat Glacier, and to the east I could see across to the Chelan Sawtooths. From the top of the peak I descended along the NE ridge and then wrapped back around to my campsite (this route was only class 2), spotting multiple small glacier remnants. Just when I finished packing up my tent and was about to head down to Lower Ice Lake, I noticed a group of four trail runners heading down to Lower Ice Lake too. They were ahead of me and while I never caught up to them, I recognized a couple members of the group from social media. I was fairly sure that Climber Kyle was in the group, which was confirmed after I got back - you can read his trip report here (it's a way cooler trip than what I did). The hike around Lower Ice Lake was perhaps the best of the whole trip. The lake is incredibly scenic and just surrounded by larches. I continued around the lake and ended up climbing back up to Upper Ice Lake at its outlet waterfall, discovering a cool tarn that I overlooked on the map. The rest of the hike was relatively straightforward. I can't wait for the next larch season!
Maude
Maude
Ice Lakes from the summit of the unnamed peak
Ice Lakes from the summit of the unnamed peak
Looking towards the Chelan Sawtooths
Looking towards the Chelan Sawtooths
Some of the Entiat Glacier
Some of the Entiat Glacier
Notice the tiny glacial remnant on the right
Notice the tiny glacial remnant on the right
The top of a dying glacier
The top of a dying glacier
Lower Ice Lake
Lower Ice Lake
Hiking around Lower Ice Lake
Hiking around Lower Ice Lake
So many larches ::)
So many larches smile.gif
I was surprised to discover this tarn, I had not noticed it on my map
I was surprised to discover this tarn, I had not noticed it on my map
So many great views of Glacier Peak
So many great views of Glacier Peak
One of the last views before the descent to Phelps Creek
One of the last views before the descent to Phelps Creek

ejain, Kascadia, runup, zimmertr, Bootpathguy, Nancyann, Bowregard, Waterman, NWtrax, kite, dave allyn, yukon222, John Mac, Gimpilator, reststep  Comma, Prosit, awilsondc  Anne Elk, rubywrangler
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FiveNines
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FiveNines
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PostWed Jan 24, 2024 12:22 am 
Cool trip. A friend tricked me into camping on Carne summit a long time ago, before I knew what was really what. The best part, they drove to TH. Thanks for sharing your memories, and reminding me of mine.

jaysway
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pula58
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pula58
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PostWed Jan 24, 2024 9:19 am 
I'd like to do the Carne High Route some day soon!

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NWtrax
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NWtrax
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PostWed Jan 24, 2024 9:43 am 
I hope this inspires more belated reports. cool.gif This is such a great loop! I did it in reverse during larch season too a number of years ago and hardly saw anyone until getting back to Carne. Thanks for sharing with us.

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Bowregard
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Bowregard
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PostWed Jan 24, 2024 10:58 am 
Great photos jaysway. I've never spent time East of GP but it sure looks nice in Larch season.

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Anne Elk
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Anne Elk
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PostThu Jan 25, 2024 4:25 pm 
Since this trip report was put up in 2024 I wonder if the pics could be eligible for the 2024 calendar. Some of these larch pics are superlative! up.gif

"There are yahoos out there. Itís why we canít have nice things." - Tom Mahood
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