Mudslide – Leavenworth
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.
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.
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.
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.