• Mudslide – Leavenworth


    Jen on Nosy (v2) at The Forest Area along The Beach

    Generally when you think Leavenworth, WA you think of one of two things. Either the gaudy Bavarian theme that the entire town prides itself on, or the world class granite boulders, sport climbing, and trad Leavenworth has to offer.

    Unfortunately if you are planning on climbing in Icicle Canyon this year be prepared to be stopped short of several popular areas. This is the scene that greeted us this weekend after a landslide covered a 1/4 mile stretch of Forest Road 76 (Best known as Icicle Creek Road) just upstream from 8 mile campground. Several campgrounds, trailheads (Stuart Lake & The Enchantments) and the upper put-ins for kayaking the icicle are all effected.

    Leavenworth Mudslide

    Mother Nature has greatly reshaped the landscape by adding some extra trees, giant boulders and tons of mud to the crucial road. For the foreseeable future plan on only having access to climbing and bouldering areas south of 8 Mile Campground along the Icicle. (The slide can be crossed by foot which means that the JY boulders and Carnival Crag are still relatively accessible) Mad Meadows and Forestland along with several other small areas are not effected.

    The view from the bottom of the slide. (This creek is where the road should be)

    Never fear though, the Tumwater side is clear and mostly dry (the trail to The Beach was wet and snowy but the rocks were free of snow in the landing areas) and Mountain Home will be clear enough to drive up to soon, although we were met by a snowy muddy mess that sent us packing even in 4wd.

    Crossing the slide en route to Carnival Crag

    The few official estimates that I have come across suggest that the road may be impassible until fall of 2011. Crews are working to build an alternative route for the 5 or so private residences that are above the slide, but that route will be closed to climbers. All told though despite the muddy mess that stands between climbers and several key climbing areas and camping areas this is still Leavenworth so there is an amazing array of rock downstream to play on, so get out there and play.

    Lacey LaDuke

    Lacey LaDuke is an avid adventurer, photographer, and lifelong resident of Spokane, Washington. She spends much of her free time traveling far and wide to rock climb, mountain bike, hike, cycle, white water raft, backpack and just take in the natural wonders that surround us every day. She is also the owner of www.LaDukePhoto.com which helps finance her outdoor adventures.

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Discussion 11 Responses

  1. April 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks for the NW update!  I live down here in the Southeast, but visit Portland, Oregon at least once or twice a year to see my wife’s family.  I was hoping to hit Leavenworth during a July 4th trip this year…but this may push me to other areas instead.  I’ve always wanted to climb some of the classic boulder routes there, but it always seems to be the dead of winter when we’re there and its usually not the time for bouldering.  Any other spots between Portland and Leavenworth with primo bouldering (or mtn biking) I should check out?  This may be the one summer visit I get for a few years, so I want to finally get to boulder and mtn bike all the good stuff:)  Keep us updated as to the road clearing and thanks for bringing me info from my “home base” on the other side of the continent! 

  2. April 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Great pics, Lacey. I can’t believe that mudslide; looks like it’s straight out of a disaster movie. Thank god it didn’t harm any Bavarian architecture in Leavenworth!

    Kudos for hiking through it to go boulder. That’s commitment!


  3. April 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    @ Brad- Leavenworth is still the place to go to boulder within range of Portland, Maybe 1/4 of the boulders are inaccessible but that still leaves you thousands of problems to hit up. The only real issue I can see with being there over 4th of July weekend is that the place is a madhouse and there’s only one campground up the Icicle that is unaffected. There are several vacation rentals and hotels but they will be at a premium that weekend. (Also for biking near LW check out Devils Gulch or any of the trails around Cashmere) More Leavenworth Climbing Pics
    If you have access to a high clearance 4WD vehicle you may be interested in checking out Gold Bar for bouldering.
    As far as biking goes there’s definitely some good stuff within spitting distance of Portland. Look up Post Canyon at Hood River (Also stop at Bette’s Place for breakfast, best damn omelet I’ve EVER had. Dungeoness crab or smoked salmon as a breakfast food? YES PLEASE!).
    That or check out Black Rock which is right near Fall City. Lots of fun to be had at either place no matter your skill level. Here are some pics of both areas (and parts of the Umpqua Trail) Biking Oregon
    Any more questions now that I’ve bombarded you with info? :)

    • May 29, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Thousands of problems……?   Not quite.  And I can almost guarantee the road will be open by the 4th of July.

  4. April 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    If you are looking for other things to do in Leavenworth when you are not climbing, or where to stay or eat, check out our blog and website:

  5. April 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing those great pics. Don’t forget that there is plenty of climbing up the Tumwater Canyon and Snow Creek wall that isn’t  effected by this closure.

  6. April 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    My Central Washington guide book should be here any day and I plan on being in WA in about a month. Can you tell me exactly which BOULDERING areas will be closed due to the landslide….? Thanks in advance.

  7. April 24, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Eric – as previously stated everything above 8 Mile campground has been affected by the slide. When you get the Central WA Bouldering Guide it’s got a great map right in the beginning that shows everything up the Icicle. You can walk into the JY Boulders still and can hoof it a ways up the road to Carnival boulders but beyond that is quite the stretch, but never fear there are more boulders than you can ever hope to climb readily accessible below the slide.

  8. April 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    UPDATE: Rumors are floating around that they are going to try to have the slide cleared within a month. Great news for everyone who is itching to get into the inaccessible camping areas.

    • May 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      Hi Lacey – any news on the clean-up?  I’m planning a girl’s trip in 2 weeks.  Also, any concerns with the Tumwater Canyon?  Would appreciate any info you have.

  9. May 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Hello Evelyn.  The slide itself is actually cleared from the road…they miraculously accomplished this in a single workday, May 23rd. This was after some prep work of clearing large boulders in the road and hassling with the water being diverted onto the road due to the slide….they actually channeled the water with elevated tubing over the road until nature worked itself somewhat back to the original course. Yet they still need to pave the section they removed to correct the new path the stream has taken. I imagine you will have no problems and the road will most likely be open in the next few days. Also it should be noted that only a few spots were affected by the closure and the hike is a quick 2 miles to the last boulders…and Tumwater is the other canyon and wasn’t harmed at all.                Happy sending.  
    On another note: the slide actually moved two large boulders downhill and there are new problems on them…roughly 50 yards up into the slide.

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