tupshin peak - 8320' - east face class 5.6 / devore peak - 8360' - SE ridge class 4
This is a continuation of my report for Mount Logan. After returning back to Stehekin, eating a very good burger and making my way back to the Company creek TH, I bivied by the trailhead and started hiking up the trail around 5am. It was an initially steep hike up to 2800 feet on good trail, then it flattened out and remained easy, occasionally with a little brush overgrowing it until the log crossing. Views of the sun hitting the east face of Bonanza were stunning, and unexpected! I ran into a trail crew working on clearing out the trail and saw their tools scattered around. After a brief chat, I crossed the bridge and continued for a few minutes to the small creek draining the valley below the west face of Tupshin Peak. Just a few more minutes up the trail I began schwacking straight up the west facing slopes on White Goat Mountain. I utilized many veggie belays and scrambled small rock cliffs, avoiding most of any brushy areas. I actually went straight through the steepest section in the 4200-4600 range.
Beyond the steepest part, I started making my way rightward, beginning a long ascending traverse to the right. I crested over a small rib at 6200 feet and descended a few feet into the nice basin immediately west of Whitegoat. I continued across this basin southward and mad my way to the 7200 foot pass above Bird Lakes. This was truly a sight to behold! As I descended to the lakes, the rugged north face of Devore towered above, and I was wondering how exactly I would make it up! I rounded the lakes, the uppermost one still partially frozen, and aimed for the small 7280 foot moraine knob just SE of the lakes. Here I dropped my pack and began kicking steps in the snow to the small saddle in the lower east ridge. Once on the ridge, it was an easy ridgewalk to the base of the Bottles (the obvious double towers midway up the east ridge) around 7650 feet. I was easily able to traverse and ascend the snow on the north side of these towers to the small notch immediately west of them. Past reports in later season speak of traversing in the moat, however in early season it's east snow climbing with one short section about 40 degrees in steepness. I didn't have to lose any elevation doing this short traverse.
I then descended about 100 feet onto the south side of the ridge crossing through the notch, and followed a ledge traversing until below a long rambly Class 2-3 slope covered in somewhat loose rock. I quickly ascended this slope directly up to the crest of the south ridge, reaching it about 8200 feet where the false summit came into view not far away. I then followed cairns more or less just below the crest on the west side, utilizing small ledges to the 20 foot class 4 step. It is the obvious near vertical step right on the ride and cant be missed. I climbed it, then cut left a couple minutes on some class 2 talus until I was able to round the corner via the very exposed step around, at which point the true summit came into view. I descended maybe 15 feet and located the obvious Class 3-4 gully that leads straight to the summit. I was at the top around 1:30pm and signed the historic register. Unfortunately I forgot to bring up a replacement tube, so the register (placed in 1940!!) is still open to the elements. I didn't even have another bag to put it in, and the ones Fletcher and Radka placed are filled with holes. May not last the winter if no one goes up later this summer.
I quickly retraced my steps back down the ridge, then down the snow to my pack and began hiking back to the lakes. I would have really loved to stay here for the night, but I knew I needed to make the traverse around to Tupshin in order to make it out in time to catch the ferry at noon the next day. So I began traversing through the larch heaven in a northward direction until I was able to spot the class 3 ledges that drop right below Whitegoat Peak. This key section is hard to spot from above, as the entire area is cliffs below. Do NOT try to descend Bird Creek. The class 3 ledges bring you down from 7400 to 7000 feet through the only weakness in the cliff down to the basin below the southeast side of whitegoat. I was lucky to have a bunch of snow covering the loose talus so I made great time running down the basin, but then the sidehill traverse began. I stayed roughly at the 6700 foot range, never dropping below 6600 feet traversing the open grassy terrain until cresting the lower south ridge of Tupshin at 7000 feet where it was flat. I then entered the basin SE of Tupshin and ascended 200 feet or so to the highest larch trees and found the flat spot and the creek mentioned before. I cooked myself dinner, not planning to do anything else for the day and prepared my bivy site. I relaxed for a few minutes and took my shoes off to dry them out a little while I still had a few minutes of direct sunlight left. After awhile I checked the time and was shocked to see it was only 6pm! I thought about it for a bit and decided to just do Tupshin right then and there.
So I put my bivy gear aside and packed the rope and my rock shoes and ascended the 450 feet of snow to the obvious right trending ramp that marks the beginning of the scrambling. I was thankful not to have to ascend that talus without snow cover. I scrambled the slabby class 3 ramp which was at times covered in kitty litter, and found the short class 4 chimney. Above that it was more blocky ledges and class 3 scrambling until I hit the first crux, which Klenke describes as 5.hard. This right facing slightly overhanging flake can be avoided by scrambling out to the right, up a small ramp and rounding a very exposed corner and cutting back left on an easy ledge. A small descent is required to then meet back up with the ledge leading to the mandatory crux pitch. Here, I put on my rock shoes, and the rope on my back and left the pack. I had my harness on and a few slings in case my 30 meter rope wasn't long enough to rappel the whole crux pitch.
So I climbed, and I would agree there is 1-2 5.4 moves to get up the flake/crack. I had to smear my right foot on the rock and jam my left arm in the flake but it felt secure. A fall would have been certain death though. Above this initial few moves, I entered a wide gully and the difficulty backed off to sustained class 4 for 50 more feet or so. I passed a bomber anchor and traversed left slightly to enter the final class 3 scramble gully to the summit, which I reached 1.5 hours after leaving my bivy site. I didn't stay long, just enough to sign the register and take a few photos then began scrambling down. At the first anchor, I fed the rope through the rappelled the 4th class chimney to the top of the 5.4 crux. I was able to find an intermediate anchor here since my 30m rope wasn't long enough to make it all the way down in one rappel. So I did a second one and made it back to my pack. I made an additional 3 raps to speed tings up then scrambled back down the initial ramp back to the snow, and my stashed ice axe. I made it back to my bivy by 9pm (3 hours round trip) and photographed the sunset then crashed for the night.
I woke early again and started hiking down the basin at 5:30. I moe or less went straight down the basin until about 6200 feet, then traversed right and crossed the small ridge that is the continuation of Tupshins south ridge and descended a mix of talus, open forest and grass until hitting bird creek where I found the Devore Creek Trail shortly after. I only had a few brushy spots to deal with, the worst of which was crossing he ridge at 6200 feet making that rightward traverse. I made quick wok descending the trail, which was mostly in good shape. The sucky part was hiking 3 miles of flat to get back to the Herlequin bridge. The switchbacks at the end were also kinda maddening. I made it to the airstrip, and crossed the bridge and quickly managed to hitchhike back to the boat landing where I had 2 hours to spare before catching the ferry back to Chelan!
Bulgers #94 and 95 in the books!