Fernow, 7FJ, Maude - Speed Climb Date:
I speed climbed Mount Fernow, Seven Finger Jack, and Mount Maude in 11 hours, 13 minutes roundtrip out of the Phelps Creek Trailhead/Leroy Basin. I started with Fernow because I figured this was the most involved and physically taxing mountain and ended with Maude so I could walk off the easy South shoulder at the end of the day. This climb was less on the mileage (~25 miles) and more on the elevation gain with an estimated 13,000 feet of gain and four separate climbs! I found that the key to climbing the Entiat Mountains fast is to find (and stay) on solid rock as much as possible. Since this was my first time in the Entiat, I made a few routefinding errors that cost me some time, but it went smoothly overall. Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time
Trailhead (3,500 ft) : 0
Leroy Creek turnoff (4,100 ft) : 28.01
/ 06:48 [Col west of 7FJ (7,700 ft) : ~1:50 elapsed, ~08:10 real time]
Arrive Fernow Summit (9,249 ft) : 3:51.21
Depart Fernow Summit (9,249 ft) : 4:06.41
Col west of 7FJ (7,700 ft) : 5:51.27
Arrive 7FJ Summit (9,100 ft) : 6:47.28
Depart 7FJ Summit (9,100 ft) : 7:02.47
Arrive Maude Summit (9,040 ft) : 8:55.01
Depart Maude Summit (9,040 ft) : 9:13.30
Leroy Creek turnoff (4,100 ft) : 10:48.34
Phelps Creek Trailhead (3,500 ft) : 11:13.11
I departed Sammamish at 3:30 am and arrived at the Phelps Creek trailhead at 6 am, setting off at 6:20 am after some breakfast bars. The first 3.7 miles were easy and I ran it in 28+ minutes. The trail is in much better shape than the access road! From here I turned up the Leroy Creek trail and began the power climb, going from 4,100 ft to the 7,700 foot col west of Seven Finger Jack in 1 hour, 20 minutes. From the col, you must descend an annoying and loose 1,200 feet to the old moraine of the Gloomy Glacier to begin the southwest route. On the way to Fernow, I had to avoid snow since I left my crampons at home so I went down to the small lake and around the buttress on its south side. On the way back I ascended to the col directly from the moraine on snow/talus slopes on the north side of the buttress (the snow had softened some). The route up Fernow was surprisingly solid and the slabby rock had natural steps cut into it making a 2,000 foot staircase and allowing for a fast ascent. I was elated to reach the summit of Mount Fernow 3:51 after starting at the trailhead.
It was a gorgeous morning and coolish temps were great for moving fast
The deep blue skies in the morning were spectacular!
Dakobed Range close-up panorama.
North Face of Mount Maude and Seven Finger Jack.
Seven Finger Jack and Mount Rainier from Mount Fernow.
Bonanza and Ptarmigan Traverse Peaks. Notice smoke from fire near Holden.
View from along the descent of Fernow.
What's left of the Gloomy Glacier.
Route up the snow/talus slopes to the 7,700 ft col west of 7FJ from Gloomy glacier moraine.
Rugged Entiat Crest from Seven Finger Jack to Mount Fernow.
Small Lake below 7,700 ft col
The walk back up to the 7,700 ft col from the Gloomy moraine was tiresome and the trail shoes were not getting great traction on the harder/steeper snow. However, I knew the most taxing part of the day was over. After a break, I climbed up the slopes from below the col to the right skyline of 7FJ and then up the standard slog route, arriving at the summit of Seven Finger Jack 6:47 after beginning.
Seven Finger Jack from 7,700 ft col.
Entiat River Valley from the summit of Seven Finger Jack.
Bonanza and Ptarmigan Peaks from Seven Finger Jack.
Mount Fernow from Seven Finger Jack.
North Face of Mount Maude from Seven Finger Jack.
I descended 7FJ via the standard route, arriving at a nice snowmelt stream on a bench below 7FJ where I drank and ate. This was the first running water since Gloomy glacier moraine so I was thirsty! From here I continued up the West Slope of Mount Maude which featured enjoyable class 3 scrambling on solid rock. A nice walk through the tundra meadows brought me to the summit 8:55 after beginning.
View from below Seven Finger Jack at a snowmelt stream.
Summit of Mount Maude with high clouds streaming in already!
Me with 7FJ and Fernow in the background.
View to 7FJ and Fernow from Mount Maude. A traverse between Fernow and 7FJ looks feasible, but hauling the requisite gear would slow everything else down!
From the summit of Maude, I made my way down the upper south shoulder easily, but somehow missed where to descend on the lower portion into Leroy basin and ended up forging my own pathway through larch trees and cliff bands. Once I hit the trail, it was cruise control down Leroy Creek to Phelps Creek. I had some hop to my step at the bottom so I picked up the pace and ran the last 3.7 slightly downhill miles in 24 minutes.
I saw lots of people on the trail on the way out, but I had the mountains to myself all day. A great climb! Gear Notes:
Axe Approach Notes:
Trail in great shape; road could be better. Super fast elevation gain up Leroy Creek.