Ice lakes via Phelps creek trailhead - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2008, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
Ed
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Burnaby, B.C., Canada.
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Default Ice lakes via Phelps creek trailhead

I had the opportunity over the weekend to explore the Ice lakes in Wenatchee so I took it. Driving time to the Phelps creek trailhead from Vancouver is 4hours 30minutes, so for a change we decided to actually make this an overnight trip. We arrived at the trailhead and set out quite late in the afternoon at 1:50. The trail follows a wide path towards the popular Spider Gap area, along the way it branches off to various trails. Eventually we turn right up the Leroy creek trail which leads to Five fingered Jack. I snapped a photo of the river where it is exposed along the way. This trail is mainly in the trees and fairly steep, with some views across towards spider gap across the valley and Five fingered Jack and mount Maude ahead. There is a nice area to camp just as the trail breaks off towards Crane mountain. The trail heading towards Crane is easy to find however there is a recent washout which can be tricky to cross. It has steep sides about fifteen to twenty feet and only about ten feet across. The sides have large rocks which slide down so keep your eyes peeled for rocks from above. The trail here is exposed and you can see the saddle you need to cross over and then hang left to make your way to Ice lakes. Another ridge to cross, the trail still easy to follow but the day is turning to night. We ended up crossing the last pass into Ice lakes in the dark and made camp at 9:00. In the morning I got my first view of the upper Ice lake, mount Maude and the high rock walls around the lake. We spent the morning exploring the lake and hiking down to lower Ice lake. The lower lake has an Island on it similar to the one at Joffree and it has to be the best spot for tenting I have seen in a long time. The outflow from the upper lake has a small pool which is ideal for washing up in. Both the campsites are covered in small sized pieces of pumice. Once we were done exploring the area it was 12:45 and time to head up the ridge and home. Rather than head back the way we came, we decided to exit via Crane mountain trail. This trail in places was harder to follow and it has other trails branching off it. Once you gain the ridge out from Ice lakes stay left and go through the saddle head down past the scree and follow the base of the scree into the treed area. Here you will pick up the trail and head for the next saddle in view. Once on top of the saddle, stay right and keep the ridge on your right side, the trail is not as well worn here and almost appears to just be an animal track. This will take you down into a valley where there is another campsite with good water. Stay to the left and head back up another ridge towards Crane mountain and the Rock creek trail. Once this ridge is gained the trail will leave the saddle and part way down the valley branch into the rock creek trail on your left and the Crane mountain trail to your right. Stay right as if you head down the rock creek trail it will exit 12 miles from your start. Head back up the ridge here and the trail is once again very well worn and easy to follow. On top of the ridge stay left and head down into the valley, and once again you are n the trees. The trail will again branch off in the base of an open valley and here you will find a sign indicating Phelps creek trailhead to your right. The meadow offers some nice views but once again light was fading so I have no pictures of this part of the trail. As you leave the meadow there is another campsite with your last good water stop on the way to the trailhead. The trail switchbacks across an open slope before once again entering the trees and the trail back to the trailhead. Eventually we reach our car at 9:30 and head back to Vancouver. This area is well worth the trip and has many hiking options, however we saw very few hikers. The hunting season opened there on Monday and we saw more hunters than hikers. Here are some of the pictures of the area.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2008, 04:41 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Nice one Ed.
I guess bright coloured clothing is recommended now.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2008, 06:24 PM
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Location: Abbotsford, B.C., Canada.
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Your photos show a beautiful area indeed, well worth the trip and overnight to do this one.

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