ATTRACTIONS. The Jay Creek area provides snowshoers, telemark skiers, and Alpine-tourers a long but moderate climb out of the Icicle River Valley up to the views of the Icicle Ridge. This broad ridge, gladed with ponderosa pines, Douglas firs, and spruces, generally has lower avalanche risk than many other climbs up to the ridge crest. It also offers inspiring views across the Icicle River at Mt Cashmere and the Enchantments. Finally, the route catches the wintertime sun. The sun feels good on the ascent and, on the descent, gives crud skiers the joy of skiing sun-affected southwestern slopes rather than the tedium of skiing the powder you’re likely to find on the opposite side of the Icicle Canyon.
Skill Level: 2 (intermediate)
Fitness: 2+ (strong intermediate)
DISTANCE. Leavenworth locals often use a snowmobile assist to eliminate the flat terrain along the Icicle River leading to the ridge. Even without the snowmobile assist, tourers on lighter tele or AT gear can make short work of the initial miles because the road is well packed by snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers. One-way distance from the parking area to the true start of the climbing just past the Johnny Creek Campground is 2.8 miles. From here you’ll skin about 3 miles (one way) up to the 6,280-foot peaklet capping the top of the ridge.
ELEVATION. Parking area: 2,075 feet. High point: 6,280 feet. Gain: 4,200.
ACCESS. From the east end of Leavenworth, take East Leavenworth road 3.5 miles to the Icicle Road. Turn left and then follow Icicle Rd to the end of the plowing (usually just past the turn to the Bridge Creek Campground, 6 miles past Sleeping Lady Resort).
–Ski the main Icicle River Road about 2.25 miles. Just before the Johnny Creek Campground take the road on the right and follow it uphill for 0.8 miles. Note: The second road marked on our topo map (the one shortly after Johnny Creek) has signage noting private property.
–Shortly after the road crosses Johnny Creek, leave it, following the bearings as noted on our topo map.
–Descend by roughly following your up route.
MAP. See our topo map below or the 7.5-minute Series: Cashmere Mountain.
HAZARDS. Avalanche hazard along this route is generally fairly low. Still, in unstable conditions, skier’s beware. Also, the bottom part of this route often does not get or hold a lot of snow. Furthermore the snow that is present can be funky in consistency. Ski gingerly and carefully amidst the thinly covered rocks and fallen trees.
PERMITS. None needed.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. The Jay Creek area is a good portal for accessing longer tours in the Icicle Ridge environs. It gets you high efficiently and fairly safely. From the top of the ridge, you can tour back toward Lake Augusta or under Icicle Ridge on a number of different multi-day tours.
TRIP REPORTER. Andy Dappen 1/15/2007. Updated 2/11/2010.
Leave It Better Than You found It: This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash others have left behind, pull noxious weeds along your route, disperse fire rings found at campsites (they encourage more fires), throw logs and branches over spur trails and spurs between switchbacks (make it harder to do the wrong thing than the right thing).
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Things change and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes, fail to give complete information, or may not know all the issues affecting a route. So forget about finger pointing: If things go wrong, you are completely responsible for yourself and your actions. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.