OUTDOORS: Snow melt prompts rescues near Leavenworth

A snow and debris slide has closed roads and campgrounds in the upper Icicle Valley near Leavenworth, the Forest Service reported today.

The debris slide in the Wenatchee River Ranger District carried trees, mud and boulders into Icicle Creek, effectively pushing the already flood swollen waters over the main Icicle Road (Forest Service Road 7600), about 15 miles southwest of Leavenworth, WA.

The slide began as an avalanche high above the Icicle Valley, then funneled down Doctor Creek, a steep drainage near Victoria and Ruth Lakes, tearing out portions of FS Road #7605. Several visitors were temporarily stranded because of the blocked road, but all were evacuated. No injuries were reported.

Roads and campground closures will remain in place until waters recede, damage can be assessed, and repairs made. It will be late June before Icicle Creek recedes enough to assess extent of road damage.

“It is unfortunate this occurred just before Memorial Day, luckily there were relatively few people in the area, otherwise, this could have had far more serious consequences,” district ranger Vaughan Marable said in a news release. “We have no estimate on how long the road will be closed; the damage is extensive and substantial.”

Access to several major trailheads and dispersed camping along the Icicle main road are displaced. The entire Icicle drainage receives about 500,000 visitors each year.

Closed indefinitely are: FS Road #7605, at the bridge where it crosses Doctor Creek, Icicle Road #7600, at Ida Creek, Chatter Creek, Rock Island and Blackpine campgrounds.

Trailhead accesses to upper portions of the Icicle Valley are impacted.

Access via Eightmile Road into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is not affected. Updates on the road and campground status will be posted on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Recreation website: www.fs.fed.us/r6/wenatchee or by calling the Wenatchee River Ranger District at 509-548-6977.