Icicle Ridge (Apr 28, 2012)

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icicle_ridge_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: microspikes
Map: USGS Leavenworth
Area: Leavenworth
Stats: 8mi, 2725' gain (round trip)

I was getting a bit tired of snow. I wanted to head east and have dirt under my boots instead of snow. Well for the most part my wish came true. JimK was in. Besides being mostly free of snow, we wanted some sunshine and some elevation gain. I suggested Icicle Ridge. Jim was in since he's not been there in a while.

This had been WTA's trip of the week the previous week so we wanted an early start to avoid the crowds. So leaving my place on the north end, we cruised over Stevens Pass and then took a right on Icicle Creek Road. It was another 1.4 miles and then another right turn into a parking area. By 8:45am we were on our way.

There were a few flowers in bloom down low, near the TH. Lots of the early stuff, waterleaf, balsamroot, tons of spring beauty. It was a bit early (still) for a good flower show but we weren't complaining.

The trail is a nice grade. Steady and even. Hiking east of the crest is nice...the open forest is a pleasant change.

The hike started out a bit chilly but as the day progressed it warmed up nicely. As the trail headed uphill we could see where it crossed an older and steeper trail. I love finds like this! It appeared to be your typical "older" trail. More direct so shorter and steeper.

There really isn't a "destination" for this hike. No peak. No lookout. The destination is what you make of it...how far along the ridge do you want to hike?

Part way up the ridge we saw some large birds circling above us. Not usually a good sign. Turns out there were turkey vultures. I recall seeing a TR from the area recently mentioning this so it wasn't a surprise. We began to see more flowers. More balsamroot, more spring beauty, a few bluebells, and some glacier lilies starting to poke out of the snow.

At a saddle at about 3000' on the ridge, we stopped for a food break. Nice viewpoint too looking down the north end of the ridge into Tumwater Canyon. Our trail up the ridge was on the south side so we hadn't seen any snow...yet. At about 11:30 at another viewpoint we stopped for a real lunch break. The trail was still mostly snow free. At about 4000' was the start of some patchy snow on the trail. Jim went ahead while I dawdled with the flowers and in a short while returned with a report that the snow had become consistent and he was postholing to the knees. With the trail on a steep hillside, we decided to make our 2nd viewpoint my turnaround spot.
Icicle Ridge Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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