Chumstick Mountain Slope Site


Chumstick Mountain

Chumstick Mtn is a former fire lookout at 5810′ elevation. This peak is one of the principal summits on the SE end of Entiat ridge with 1000+ vertical over immediate local terrain.

Posted by Chris Erikson on Oct 25, 2002, 23:43






Chumstick Mtn
Copyright Chris Erikson 2002

12 miles NE of Leavenworth, 10 miles N of Cashmere

Driving Time: about 3 hours from Seattle direct to summit. (once you have the dirt roads figured out)

Wind: NW to S to SE.

Weather site: Wenatchee

Access: Road direct to site, open mid July to late Oct due to snow.

Background: Chumstick Mtn is a former fire lookout at 5810′ elevation. This peak is one of the principal summits on the SE end of Entiat ridge, a large geographic structure composed of a single continuous ridgeline over 40 miles in length.

The flying site is directly on the summit of the peak, a pleasing open site with a nifty small flat top and a road ringing the summit. The N face is covered with small alpine trees but the flying side of the hill is completely open.

Alpine environment with incredible 360 degree view : Enchantments and Mt Stuart, Icicle Range, Lake Wenatchee area, Glacier Peak, Entiat valley, Chelan butte and portions of Columbia Gorge, Columbia Plateau, Mission Ridge, and on a really clear day, Mt Adams.

Vertical Relief:

1000+ vertical over immediate local terrain (1 mile), but is very locally prominent and catches prevailing winds directly. Relief relative to western valleys is well over 4000′.

The Chumstick Mountain slope

Typical Weather:

Typically W to NW winds which pick up in late afternoon. Stalled high pressure systems on guaranteed nice weather days often result in light eastern winds and thermal conditions, moving to NW in afternoon. Best flying is usually on days when weather is stacked up on west side of cascades resulting in strong NW prevailing winds, a common situation for all eastern Washington flying sites.

Hey Baby!

Slope Terrain: Entirely open, large, steep W to SE slopes. Dirt with flowers, heather, small alpine trees beneath summit to W. Lightly wooded N slope, no trees project above summit.

Flying: With a W wind, the lift is extremely vertical and very large. On calm wind days, thermals reliably come up the hill primarily from S, wooded slopes below treeline provide good heat reservoir for thermal generation. Due to local prominence and relatively wide usable slope, flying instead of waiting is the rule, but bringing a light air ship is a good idea. In even OK wind conditions anything is flyable, lift is large and consistent.

Due to altitude temperatures can vary widely, I’ve been snowed on one day and putting on shorts the next. Bring warm clothing and gloves just in case.

Landing zone:

Approach entirely open in all directions, go rounds are simple and safe. Landing area is mostly dirt and gravel, some tall grasses on tricky frontside pocket are reachable with practice. No large rocks, it’s also possible to land on road.


Fantastic 2-3 car site directly behind slope. Can be very cold here. More moderate conditions found on lower slopes near Swakane Spring/Derby Canyon road junctions, numerous meadows and pullouts provide scenic campsites on any access road. All sites unimproved, no water no facilities. Please clean up after yourself and pay attention to fire restrictions, this area gets very dry.

Road Conditions: 15 miles of dirt on shortest but roughest route, 20 to 25 miles of dirt on two easiest approaches. A car can make almost any approach, but good clearance is nice. No rocks, usual obstructions are ruts, seasonal obstructions are mud, blow downs, snow.


Another fine day at Chumstick Mountain





Getting There:

Chumstick is in the midst of a major road network, there are at least 5 ways to get to the top, all of which boil down to driving the final summit ridge from either the N, or SE, on a road which traverses Entiat ridge for miles. Any forest service map will show the peak and road network and by choosing an approach and sticking to obvious main roads it is not difficult, but there are numerous junctions and being good with a map is definitely a plus the first time.

The following major approach directions should work with map in hand:

  1. From Leavenworth, take Hwy 206 2 miles N. Turn right onto Eagle creek road, continue to end of pavement. Turn left onto Van creek, follow this road to French Corral intersection on ridgeline, then S on ridgeline for quite a few pretty, but twisty miles to Chumstick summit. Road is OK but prone to blow downs which may not be cleared in early season.
  2. From Hwy 2 near Peshastin, take Derby Canyon to Swakane Spring ( a pipe sticking out of the hillside dribbling water), pass the spring to ridgetop intersection, take left then NE to summit. Road can be heavily rutted but is usually OK, this is probably the safest bet for a car.
  3. From Hwy 2 by Cashmere, take Nahahum canyon road N to dirt, hard left at obvious multiple junction at top of valley in wooded pass. Follow badly rutted road several twisty miles to intersection with Derby Canyon road, turn right and proceed past Swakane spring and then to summit as per Derby Canyon. This is the most direct route and the one I use.
  4. From town of Entiat and Entiat river road (13 miles N of Wenatchee), take Mills Canyon road to Entiat ridge and proceed NW along ridge some miles to summit. Road usually OK.

Contact Chris at

Nahahum Map


Chumstick Mountain topo
Chumstick Mountain aerial closeup
Derby Canyon
Chumstick Mountain location

One thought on “Chumstick Mountain Slope Site

  1. Thanks Chris for documenting this site! I just flew/camped it on 8/10/12 and had a blast. This is an incredible place to fly and not bad for meteor watching either. Both of my planes survived my first real slope flying experience (whew!). I look forward to trying the other Washington sites you wrote up.

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