West Face / Southwest Ridge

Page Type
Washington, United States, North America
Route Type:
Snow/Ice; Rock Scramble
Time Required:
A long day
Class III-IV

Route Quality: 3 Votes

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West Face / Southwest Ridge
Created On: Jul 28, 2003
Last Edited On: Jul 28, 2003


From Leroy Creek Basin, follow the unmarked north trail that initially appears to head directly toward 7FJ. This trail will turn south, and run almost parallel with the Maude massif. It is a loop trail that eventually hits the basin on the east side of Carne Mountain. However, before the trail gets to Carne, it will cross a small perinnial stream, then after about 1/4 mile, it turns east and opens up into a wide open section of Leroy Basin that is directly below Maude's west face.

Route Description

The approach is made from the upper Leroy Creek Basin. There are several possible variants to gaining the southwest ridge, including from the ice lakes to the east, but this specific route heads up very steep west face and rock bands that begin at the middle basin between Maude and Carne Mountain.

Cross the perinnial stream (usually still frozen during the summer), and head up the west col. When you reach the top of the col, traverse to the NE above and somewhat parallel the top tree line, to the west face. From here, head directly up the west face until you gain the wide southwest ridge. From here, turn left and continue up the straight forward southwest ridge to the summit.

It is very important to note that when this route is done during the summer, you should be careful not to get trapped following a mass array of different trails. Chaos and confusion reins here, as people have become lost or confused by this route, and the numerous boot paths that lead to a dead end and turn around are testament to this route finding issue. There are countless trails and cairns that lead to nowhere, and at the same time, there is more than one route along the west face / buttresses that is ligitimate. Expect routefinding challenges, irregardless of cairns and seemingly intermittent boot paths.

During the early spring, this route variation can be much more direct, but during the summer, the large loose rock and overwhelming scree keeps it fairly indirect. NOTE: For a more scenic descent option with some almost guaranteed solitude (and you didn't leave camping gear back at Leroy Basin), head south on the Leroy High Route" (FT 1512), and descend down Carne Mountain Trail. The direction will put you much closer to the Phelps Creek TH than the standard route down to Phelps Creek Trail from Leroy Basin.

Essential Gear

Bring ice axe and crampons for early season. For a summer trip you will need, trekking poles, as much water as you can carry, and plenty of deet to feed the mosquitos and biting flies.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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bizweasel - Oct 20, 2005 5:54 pm - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

I wish I had this photo when I headed up to try the "West Face" as described in the Goldman route. Hers is a terrible description. I wasn't sure which gully to do and just went by feel. I tried gullies and buttresses further south and these cliffed out. However, what I'd like to point out is that all possible navigational difficulties can be completely avoided by taking the true SW ridge route from the Ice Lakes side. I discovered this after retreating to Ice Lakes col after my aborted try. SW ridge from Ice Lakes side described briefly as follows: go past the gully indicated, remaining on Carne High Route to a saddle just as traversing out of Leroy Basin. Here, routes split, take the uphill one towards Ice Lakes. For the most part this route is just as obvious as the Carne Route itself. After crossing the col, the S/SE side of Maude is in plain view. Descend on talus N dropping approx 200 vf to a small rocky basin, then continue contouring or climbing talus until beneath a small gully and notch that goes through very minor cliffs and gives access to the SW ridge at about 8000 foot level, just slightly above where the West face gully joins this same ridge. In early season there may be some cornices here. Except where the talus blocks are big, most of this route has traces of a trail and occasional cairns. It's linearly longer, but rockfall danger is nearly nil, and routefinding issues under normal visibility also nearly nil, and it's not even clear that it's any slower of a route. I'd particularly recommend this as a way of getting down from an Entiat Icefall or North Ridge climb when you're tired and don't really know the West ridge route well and don't have time for mistakes.

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