Old Maid Mountain + Ferry Peak in Lake Chelan-Sawtooth / 老女傭山

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Old Maid Mountain in Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness sits just west of Sawtooth Ridge. It’s at the confluence of Prince Creek’s middle and east forks as well. Then over three miles to the south lies Ferry Peak above Safety Harbor Creek.

Old Maid Mountain in the mist
Old Maid Mountain in the mist

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Old Maid Mountain and Ferry Peak at a Glance

Access: Summit Trail @ South Navarre Campground
Round Trip: 23 miles
Elevation Range: 5320′-7882′
Gear: microspikes, ice ax
Route Info: Craig Weiland
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Old Maid Mountain and Ferry Peak

This weekend, we wrapped up our visit to Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness. It was our fourth trip this season as we continued working our way down Sawtooth Ridge. But for this outing, we started from South Navarre Campground.

I had sworn off Summer Blossom Trail after our previous visit. The last few miles past Cooper Mountain Road was in horrible shape with deep ruts. So it made driving on the lower Grade Creek Road feel like a walk in the park.

Almost South Navarre Campground
Almost South Navarre Campground

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Summit Trail via South Navarre Campground

The 40-mile bumpy drive was clear of snow to a quarter of a mile before the campground. So I parked before the one fallen tree and a snow patch. Then we proceeded to walk to the trailhead.

In keeping with the theme, we entered another burn area from the 2017 Uno Peak Fire. As we walked on the road, I could see massive charred trees in the basin. Though, I was mentally ready for what was to come.

Uno Peak Fire 2017
Uno Peak Fire 2017

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Miners Basin

The downside about starting from South Navarre Campground is the downhill walk into the basin. So I knew I wouldn’t look forward to coming back up from the bottom on day two.

The trail crew had put lots of work into clearing the down trees from the disaster. So we could stroll down to Safety Harbor Creek. But along the way, we found lots of logs over the switchbacks from 5600′ down to 5400′.

Through Miners Basin
Through Miners Basin

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Horsethief Basin

The sunny morning didn’t last long before clouds slowly moved into the area. Later it flurried a bit as we made our way up Miners Basin through snow patches. Then the visibility was weak around Point 7551 into Horsethief Basin.

Later the mist cleared up a bit as we rounded Point 7524 onto Deadmans Pass. We looked for a flat spot behind trees on the high point but couldn’t find any. So we ended up camping on the windy pass.

Through Horsethief Basin
Through Horsethief Basin

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Deadmans Pass

We hiked through Deadmans Pass on the way to Sunrise Peak in July 2017. By then, the place was mostly free of snow. Unfortunately, though, we had a heavier snowfall this year. So there was still quite a bit of it.

As luck would have it, clouds rolled in again as I set up camp. Then it was back to the flurries. I didn’t want to go anywhere in this condition. So we chilled inside the tent for the weather to improve.

Sunset Basin view from Deadmans Pass
Sunset Basin view from Deadmans Pass

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Old Maid Mountain Climb

I got a much-needed nap and then woke up just as the mist had lifted. Then we quickly made our way down into Sunset Basin toward Old Maid Mountain. Too bad I decided not to bring snowshoes.

I’d posthole 50% of the time in a few feet of snow. So it wasn’t as enjoyable as it would be in the dry season. Later we went up to the 7100′ pass east of Old Maid Mountain’s long ridgeline.

This way to Old Maid Mountain
This way to Old Maid Mountain

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Old Maid Mountain East Ridge

From the pass, we made a rising traverse to 7400′. Then we rounded Point 7820 from the south and reached Old Maid Mountain’s east saddle. Later we went through a series of talus and krummholz below the crest.

Apart from bypassing the broken crest, I also wanted to avoid snow. So we stayed on dry ground as much as we could. Soon, we went up through the snowfield below the bouldered summit and reached the top.

The rocky finish on Old Maid Mountain
The rocky finish on Old Maid Mountain

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Old Maid Mountain Summit Views

By now, clouds to the south and the east had lifted high enough to show the nearby peaks. I had hoped to see places like Star Peak and Oval Peak and the Chelan Mountains. But the mist in those directions wouldn’t budge.

I wanted to make it back to Deadmans Pass before dark. So we didn’t spend much time on top. After soaking in some views and watching the pups rolling in the snow, we headed down the mountain.

Sawtooth Ridge view on Old Maid Mountain
Sawtooth Ridge view on Old Maid Mountain

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Back to Deadmans Pass

In hindsight, on the way up, we should’ve traversed lower on the ridge. So we did just that on the way back to the 7100′ pass. It, in turn, had let us avoid the dense forest and most of the talus.

On the way back, going through the basin in soft snow was just as annoying. We ended up reaching the bottom of the pass as the sky darkened. Then we slowly climbed back up to camp as the wind began to howl.

The morning after
The morning after

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En Route to Ferry Peak

What a windy evening it was! The gust continued through the night, and it didn’t stop pounding until 6 AM! Soon afterward, we enjoyed a quiet morning and a cup of Joe (thanks, Moa!) before leaving the pass.

It was crisp yet overcast morning. But the exit wasn’t dreary like yesterday in the clouds. Soon, we were back at the old burn through Miners Basin. Then we aimed for day two’s goal–Ferry Peak.

Next stop, Ferry Peak
Next stop, Ferry Peak

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Ferry Peak Southeast Ridge

Once again, clouds rolled around noon. But thank goodness, the trail was largely dry until we were below the southeast saddle. I only needed to use my ice ax here because of a section of steep snow.

I wasn’t sure of the standard way to the top. But one usually couldn’t go wrong with the south approach. It began to snow soon as I stashed my pack. Then it continued for the next few hours.

Ferry Peak up ahead
Ferry Peak up ahead

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Ferry Peak Summit Without Views

The climb ended up being very direct. We stayed below the southeast crest and went through mostly open terrain. Before long, we were on the summit looking at…nothing.

The snow came down even harder later. So we only stayed a few minutes before making our way back to the saddle. Then we proceeded to hike out as snowfall continued.

West ridge
West ridge

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Outro

It stopped snowing in the afternoon. But it turned to rain as we dropped altitude in the basin. Then we reached the lowest point at 5300′. But I sure did not look forward to going back up 1000′ after that.

Later the rain ceased as we slowly walked up the switchbacks past the junction. Then we rounded the ridgeline and continued south through the broad gully. Soon, we were back at South Navarre Campground.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

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