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|Seven Fingered Jack
Mount Maude 9,082’ Seven Fingered Jack 9,077’ July 07 08 2001|
Doerte and I spent the night at the Phelps Creek Trailhead, 3,500’, so we could get an early start in the morning. There were many cars at the trailhead, but most people were heading to Spider Basin. It must be very nice there. One party of three was off to ascend the South Entiat Glacier on the North Face of Mount Maude. We took the Phelps Creek Trail until we crossed Leroy Creek where the route immediately turns right and heads up for a couple of miles to the beautiful meadows of Leroy Basin, 6,000’, that reminded us an alm in Austria and the Sound Of Music. Just before the alm, Dan caught up to us
We took the first campsite we saw, close to water and relaxed for an hour enjoying the views of Maude and Seven Fingered Jack, over 3,000’ above us.
The trail continues up to treeline through even better campsites and then turns right crossing drainages and gaining elevation. Luckily we missed the direct route up the scree to the South Shoulder and eventually topped out on a ridge above Ice Lakes. This took more time and was longer, but avoided lots of scree.
We would have to descend a 100’, then cross above the lakes to eventually gain the South Shoulder, 8,000’, of Mount Maude. It was really hot on the snow! Finally, we begin the long walk up the easy ridge to the summit. It was about 4 hours from the Leroy Basin camp to the summit. Dan, Doerte, and I enjoyed the amazing views! Glacier was most outstanding! Big Mount Shuksan with its little summit pyramid was also visable along with nearby Goode, Logan, Fernow, and Bonanza. We looked down the North Face for the party of three but couldn’t see them yet. Mount Maude’s first ascent was in July 1932 by John Burnett and Hermann F. Ulrichs.
For the descent we decided to go down the scree directly off the South Shoulder to get to the first water melted from the snow. This was one of the hottest days of the summer so far. We used the snow to descend whenever we could to avoid the dreaded scree. We were back at camp at 5 pm for a 9-hour day.
For Seven Fingered Jack, 9,077’, we started early at 5 am and used a route from the upper campsites directly up the Southwest Slope for the summit. Beckey says to stay south of the long, thin left-slanting snow gully. Dan and I stayed to north right on the loose rock and talus finally climbing the summit block from the right side, a nice little class 3. It took us 2 hours, 40 minutes from camp in the cool of the morning.
We had a fantastic view of the North Face of Mount Maude. It looked so steep! The summit register told us that Jack was not climbed nearly as much as the pretty neighbor Maude. Both registers were placed by the Mountaineers, but are now full, and need to be replaced.
We descended the main scree route until we reached the long, thin snow chute, which we took down. Plunge stepping on the solid early morning snow, I had to self-arrest on two occasions when my feet slipped out from under me. Dan and I were soon at the bottom, and filled up with water where the snow turned to creek.
We were back at camp at 10 am for a 5-hour round trip. It was nice to do Jack before the sun heated the day. We were back at the trailhead at 1 pm. The total for the two-day trip was 14 miles and 8,664’ for two big 9,000ers.