Yellow Jacket Tower

Page Type
Chelan County
Trad Climbing
Spring, Summer, Fall
4100 ft / 1250 m
9332 Hits
71.85% Score
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Yellow Jacket Tower
Created On: May 31, 2010
Last Edited On: Jun 4, 2010


Yellow Jacket Tower is a small summit located on a ridge right above the Icicle Creek in Leavenworth.
First climbed in 1948 by Pete Schoening, Herb Staley, and Fred Beckey.

Getting There

Drive through Leavenworth and take a left onto Icicle Creek Road at the Shell station. Continue six miles and park in one of the big turnouts on the left side of the road.
The Bridge

Cross the metal and wood bridge to the south side of the creek and veer left at the T in the road. Veer right underneath the prayer flags and continue until you see a large boulder 100 feet distant and a nice trail through a meadow on the right.
Turn off into the meadowTake this trail, YJT is barely visible in the upper right.

The approach is steep and direct, the trail will eventually lead you to an obvious gully in clear view of your target. When you get a hundred feet or so above a car sized chockstone stuck in the middle of the sandy gully, look up to see a gorgeously colored and featured chicken head wall. Directly under it is the second hidden gully that leads to the first belay.
Chicken Head WallThe 'hidden gully' that leads to the climb, 3rd class with an exposed 4th step.

The Climbing

Leading outThe 1st pitch;

The first pitch consists of fifty or so feet of fun mid fifth class (5.3-5.5?) up a corner with plenty of footholds to the right of the cracks. You will be tempted to belay from a healthy tree under the roof at the top of the 1st pitch, instead clip it and climb above the roof to a large ledge and build an anchor there; it will make the belay for the summit block much safer.
Anchors above 1st PIgnoring my own advice. We used the anchors on the tree and scrambled up to the summit block for another short belay.

The second pitch is a scramble up to a ten foot section of low fifth to gain the summit block, with one nice horizontal crack that will take a one inch or .75 cam. There is also a pretty shallow but clean hole that most people place a tri-cam into, but it just didn't look worth the effort.

James on YJTThe summit block.

Anchors on YJTLife is full of choices; some are rusty and deadly, others shiny and safe.
YJT Topo
Rat Creek GroupLast but not least; the view. L to R. The Duolith, The Mole, The Shrew, and The Blockhouse.


The protection was solid the whole way up the first pitch. Plenty of great placement for nuts. Strangely enough, I ended up using my two largest and least used nuts(BD 12 & 13). The summit block protects nicely with a .75 or 1 inch QCU in a horizontal crack.

Yellow Jacket Tower

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