The North Face of Mount Maude

I left the south end with Andy Johnson (AJ) a little after 5:00 PM on Saturday. We planned to meet Sergio Verdina and Andy Ball at the Phelps Creek Trailhead for a trailhead bivy and a relatively early start the following morning. AJ and I stopped at McDonalds for a healthy meal where we ran into Sergio and Andy B. They had passed on the "Fruit Buzz" and opted for the Big Macs and large fries as AJ and I had. I figured that the yogurt in the fruit buzz was exactly the same thing as the cheese on the Big Mac (just a different artificial color and a little dairy product thinner) and that the fruit was as fresh as the lettuce on my burger...

Since both vehicles involved were unequipped with a parking pass for the trailhead, we had little choice but to stop at the store near Wenatchee Lake. We were now officially on our way to the trailhead where we lounged around for a while before calling it a night. The skies were clear.

We awoke at 5:30 the next morning and were underway after stuffing down something that resembled a breakfast and drinking down some caffeine enhanced beverages. I chose a Starbucks Double Shot... it hit my stomach and doubled back a couple miles up the relatively flat Phelps Creek trail, hence the name. I was off to a bad start but things could only get better.

At c.3 miles we crossed Leroy Creek, which had changed noticably since I was last here, then started up the trail to Leroy Creek Basin(Carne Mountain High Route) which climbs steeply to Leroy Creek Basin, but that had not changed. In a little over 2 hours after leaving the trailhead we arrived in Leroy Creek Basin below Seven Fingered Jack and Mount Maude (c.5 miles from the trailhead, c.6100’).

After a short stop we continued up the path of the Carne Mountain High Route for less than a quarter of a mile before finding an easy and more direct route into the upper basin below Mount Maude (a gully with a small waterfall). Once there we decided to put on crampons as the snow had frozen solid in the clear night. We arrived at the Seven Fingered Jack/Mount Maude Col (c.8150') around 10:00 and began looking for the best way down. I roped up with AJ and Sergio roped up with Andy Ball.

Approaching the Seven Fingered Jack/Maude Col

The North side of Mount Maude from the Col

The best option was to the left of the col as you looked down toward the Entiat River Valley... or to the right of it as we began a 100’ face in down climb to a moderate bench below. After traversing a couple hundred yards and fully coming to the conclusion that the snow was not the frozen snow we had encountered above Leroy Creek basin we were again force to descend before we could continue traversing toward the North Face. After another forced descent and more traversing we arrived at a steep snow slope under an overhang. The snow here was as steep as we would encounter on the route... 60 degrees for the first moves on it then moderating. We had descended about 400 feet from the col before the face came into full view and the going down was over... at least until we reached the summit.

Traversing toward the North Face of Mount Maude

AJ and I ascended to a rib on the right side of the face and took a short break while Sergio and Andy B. caught up. We weighed our options for the last 800’ to the summit ridge. The snow was very soft and we had concerns about sluffs, the cornice at the top of the face and more POSTHOLING. We decided to stay on the right side as there was little snow above and we would be out of the way of the cornice if it released. This would leave us with a short traverse below the cornice and the final pitch or two to the summit ridge which was reported to be about 60 degrees. AJ broke trail about half way up then I took over. After yielding the right of way to a small sluff AJ and I pushed up the final short section of 50-55 degree snow to the summit ridge. Sergio and Andy B. started moving fast when a chuck of the cornice fell and swept across our tracks behind them. Yeah, we probably should have been on and off the face sooner than we were.

AJ about halfway up the North Face of Maude

Looking down the face at AJ, Sergio and Andy Ball

Approaching the summit (Photo by Andy Johnson)

We arrived, safely, at the summit ridge and hiked to the summit. We relaxed on the summit for nearly an hour. AJ had skipped out on his first Father’s Day to go climbing with us but brought Nora’s (AJ’s daughter) stuffed elephant along for the trip.

The DaKobed Range from the summit of Mount Maude

Babar longing to climb Bonanza Peak and Mount Fernow but happy with Mount Maude (Photo Andy Jonhson)

At about 3:30 we started down the south ridge then down to pick up the Carne Mountain High Route path. We reached the trailhead just before 7:00… about 13 hours round trip.

Mount Maude from the Leroy Creek Trail (aka Carne Mountain High Route)

Cascade Alpine Guide, Volume 2, 2nd Edition; Fred Beckey; Page173-174, 175
Selected Climbs in the Cascades, Volume 2; Jim Nelson and Peter Potterfield; Pages 90-94