Chiwawa River Rd 5/26-5/28
Marshall and I had plans to do a sort of half North Central Cascades Traverse. We hoped to drop into the Entiat Basin and go up and over Fernow, around to Lyman Lakes and then over Chiwawa.
Currently Chiwawa River Rd. is gated where the pavement meets the dirt. By the time of our exit on Thursday there is pretty much no snow on the road. A 12 mile ride got us to the turn off for the Phelps TH. We ditched bikes here planning to come back through Trinity and hiked up the final couple miles to the TH. To avoid traveling along the Phelps trail we chose to take the trail up to Carne Mountain and then work over to Maude. continuous snow started around 5.5k. After a short ski from the summit we gained the ridge that parallels the Carne High Route trail as travel was easier and generally more aesthetic. At the first high point in the ridge around 7.5k we descended and then more or less followed the route of the summer trail.
Once reaching the Maude summit ridge saddle we decided the warming forecast and current snow conditions were of concern and chose to bail on our original plans. That evening we dropped overnight gear at the saddle and skied a short but fun pitch of the Entiat Glacier to get a look at the Entiat Basin which is stunning.
The next morning we woke to a surprisingly decent refreeze. A quick climb up the south shoulder yielded a great 2k corn run back down to Ice Lake (with one short rock carry up high). We then worked over to Seven Finger Jack and worked up the SW face. About 700 feet from the summit we felt the window of good skiing was rapidly closing and decided to flip shy of the summit. More great corn brought us back to our overnight gear. We then skied down the Leroy Creek Drainage back to the Phelps Creek trail and then up to Spider Gap for the night.
Our final morning we woke to a very weak refreeze. We made quick work gaining the summit of Chiwawa and skied the southwest face into the Chiwawa River Basin. High clouds and a light breeze kept for a barely supportable crust for the first 1k which was quite enjoyable. Travel out the Chiwawa River Valley was surprisingly easy and straightforward.