Ice Slam + Freezer / 冰點滿貫+冷凍庫

We spent last weekend in the Entiat River Valley. Then Friday night, the pup and I drove up to the Phelps Creek Trailhead. So we could get an early start on the Ice Slam. The hunting season has just begun. So it was no surprise to see a parking lot full of big trucks.

North Spectacle Butte from Ice Box
North Spectacle Butte from Ice Box

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Ice Slam at a Glance

Ice Slam = Chilly Peak + Ice Box + North Spectacle Butte
冰點滿貫=寒冷峯+冷藏庫+北奇觀孤峯

Access: Phelps Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3520-8112′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

Carne Mountain Trail

The path to Phelps Creek Trailhead was just as rocky, if not, rockier than usual. Half a mile before the end of the road, a section of it had disappeared into a layer of dust. So it was nearly impassable in my low-clearance vehicle.

The next morning, we went on the excellent Carne Mountain Trail via Phelps Creek Trail. We were last here six years ago climbing Carne Mountain. Then three years ago, I came in to climb the Copper Slam. Soon, we made it up to the 6100′ basin.

Peaks abound
Peaks abound

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Rock Creek Basin

We passed a corral in the meadow. All three grazing horses there were on full alert of our arrival. Shortly, we reached the pass south of Carne Mountain. Then we took a long break there. I got my first view of Chilly Peak across the Rock Creek Basin. It was our first stop on this trip.

Deer hunter Andy stopped on the pass on his way out. Then we chatted a while about his unsuccessful hunting trip. He had been hunting in the Rock Creek Basin and mentioned the lack of water. Seeing I didn’t pack enough, he then offered the rest of the water from his jug.

Choss heaven
Choss heaven

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Chilly Peak of Ice Slam

Afterward, we went down to the dividing ridge of Box Creek and Rock Creek. From there, we moved north and then went into Rock Creek Basin at 7000′. In need of more water, we dropped 200′ and found a tiny stream under the rock field. This water would be our last until later in the Box Creek Basin.

We went back up to 7000′. Then we continued sidestepping while moving east on steep heather and scree slopes. Soon, we reached the west gully at 7200′. An arduous rising traverse through scree then put us up on the north saddle. Another short section of going through boulders pus us on top.

Next up, Ice Box
Next up, Ice Box

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Chilly Peak Summit

From the summit, I scouted out our next destination–Ice Box. But it still looked far away. To the north, Mount Maude and Spectacle Buttes were the main attractions. Meanwhile, the hazy Buck Mountain held up the western skyline. There was a register on this summit.

After a relaxing half-hour on top, we went back down the gully. Then we made another rising traverse while moving northwest. We aimed for the east saddle of Point 7919. Afterward, we bypassed the point from the north. Then we went down to the west saddle at 7500′.

A long way to to go still
A long way to go still

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Ice Box of Ice Slam

While on a break, I noticed a bear cub on the snowfield north of the pass. The animal slowly moved away when it heard the pup’s bear bells. So I grabbed the dog, and we quickly left the scene before mama bear showed up.

To go around Point 7800, we first dropped 100′ on the south slopes. Then we rounded the ridge and went up to the north saddle. Afterward, we traveled north while staying on or west of the crest. A section of rock bands and buttresses required us to bypass through the rocky west slopes.

Chilly Peak now in the upper left corner
Chilly Peak now in the upper left corner

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Ice Box Summit

Shortly, we reached Ice Box south saddle at 7600′. Then we made the last 500′ climb up to the top. The closer we were to the head of Ice Creek Basin, the better the scenery. The haze from the wildfire smoke on the east hadn’t obscured our views. The smoke was less of a concern than our recent outing in the Pasayten Wilderness.

We had a little over two hours before sunset. But we still had to make it up to Upper Ice Lake before nightfall. So we didn’t stay long. The connecting ridge to Freezer didn’t look conducive for crossing. So we went down the steep west slopes first. Later, we got on the Carne High Traverse Trailin Box Creek Basin at 6900′.

West face descent
West face descent

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Upper Ice Lake

We strolled through Chipmunk Creek Basin before leaving the trail at 6800′. Then we moved north up to the saddle west of Freezer. From there, we stayed at an elevation of 7400′. Later, we went up on the west rib two hundred feet below Maude-Freezer Pass. A steep path took us up to the pass. It was an excellent spot to view the Ice Lakes Basin.

At first, the basin seemed empty. But then we saw a tent right before we crossed the outlet of the lake. Later, we set up camp by our campsite from four years ago. By now, it was getting windy. So we went to bed shortly after dinner. Glad the night turned out warmer than in the forecast.

In the arms of Mount Maude
In the arms of Mount Maude

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North Spectacle Butte of Ice Slam

There was a 40% chance of rain and snow after 11 AM. To avoid the bad weather, we left early for our final goal–North Spectacle Butte. From camp, we dropped 350′ to Lower Ice Lake. Then we crossed the lake through the outlet.

Later, we went up the east-trending gully at the northeast end of the basin. The route provided direct access to the west saddle. Soon, we went up on the steep, rocky west slopes to finish the last 600′ of the climb.

Destination: North Spectacle Butte
Destination: North Spectacle Butte

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North Spectacle Butte Summit

The summit was flat and broad. Just like how it looked from other places. The view of South Spectacle Butte southeast of the connecting saddle was impressive. Buckskin Mountain, north of Entiat River Valley, looked much farther away than on the maps.

The entire lineup of Mount Maude, Seven Fingered Jack, Mount Fernow, and Copper Peak was west of here. Despite the haze, the landscape still looked stunning. The wind had been blowing since before we came up here.

Northwest view
Northwest view

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The Bonus: Freezer

On the way down, I saw a trail on the north shore of Lower Ice Lake. So we tried taking it to go back up to camp. It ended up being a much better option than our down route. We left the basin at 11 AM after packing up our gear. So glad that the rain forest never developed.

We dropped off our gear back at the Maude-Freezer saddle. Then we walked up to Freezer. For a 400′ climb, this summit offered great views into the Ice Lake Basin. We could see Chilly Peak and Ice Box to the south. Plus, North Spectacle Butte was right across the basin. Many of the Washington highest peaks were also visible.

Mount Maude and Upper Ice Lake
Mount Maude and Upper Ice Lake

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Outro

After a short break, we went back down to the pass to get our gear. Then we hiked out via Leroy Basin to make it a loop trip. Right below Leroy Basin, we met two campers and two hunters. So I chatted with them about their adventures briefly.

It started to rain past 3 PM before we went back down to Phelps Creek Trail. So we quickly moved through the last four miles back to the car.

En route to Phelps Creek Trail
En route to Phelps Creek Trail

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