The Honey Badgers go flying
Tupshin Peak (8320', p1080')
White Goat Mt (7800', p440')
Devore Peak (8360', p1722')
August 5-7, 2011
Carla Schauble and Franklin Bradshaw
With guest appearances from Don Brooks, John Karpoff, John Morrow and Jake
Hot sun, 90s in Stehekin, light wind. Eves in 50s
A pre Ramble
I’ve had several trips this year up Lake Chelan. Early spring we’d ventured to ski Flora north of Lucerne. With great views north and northwest we saw that many of the other peaks would need to be melted off. And enough in the area for several trips. Don was working on topping off his T100 list with three peaks out of Stehekin and the timing was right. Well, the weather flopped to thunder storms and we almost opted to not go. Then Thursday morning the weather forecast turned to summer and the trip was on. Having used the boat each time we knew it would not allow us enough time on the first day to get a summit. The plan added in an adventure for us of a plane ride from Chelan to Weaver Point. The arrangements were an adventure in themselves. Carla talked with the Chelan Seaplanes and sent pictures of the dock. They flew over to check it out. Though in Paul’s Summit Post report it sounds like a no brainer to get dropped off there, you need to check. The current people at the float plane company had never landed at Weaver Point. They bought into the landing if… if no boats near the end of the dock and for an extra small fee.
Uplake fun forest ride
An über early 3am wake up and leaving Seattle by 4am. Surprise on Friday morning no traffic. A detour through downtown Monroe due to the highway being closed for the new off ramp. Un-eventful drive in the growing morning light til we came to a long stop at the Tumwater bridge. Signage…, prepare for 20 minute delays due to bridge replacement project… or something of the sort. A patient wait, okay since we built in extra time. At the Chelan Seaplanes dock before 8am, with nobody in sight. We prepped and checked out our ride. A yellow classic DE Havilland Beaver. Hardly looked to seat eight.
The Lady of the Lake boat dock next door was bustling and the seaplane area quiet. We met our pilot and loaded with three other passengers. The last passenger was late. Time to leave and we waited. Soon the late comer comes running down the dock and we were able to get going.
16 mph winds made for a bumpy flight (at no extra charge for the thrill. It was nice seeing a different view going uplake. Though I did miss the time I’d have to read beta on the trip. About 30 minutes the pilot circled over the Weaver Point dock and gave a thumbs up for a landing. First drop the other passengers at Stehekin then a one to two minute flight to land at Weaver Point. Quiet Weaver Point exploded with people coming out of the trees. Seems we were the morning entertainment.
32 switchbacks in the hot sun
We got past the eager crowd mobbing the pilot. A stop at the washroom –luxury… running water. Next destination, Bird Creek Camp. NW up the trail a quarter mile over a creek and left on the well marked trail up Devore Creek. The gentle up turned right then began a steep up in the hot sun. My mind had me hiking from shade to shade. Plenty of pauses to hydrate. And our first wildlife sighting of a lizard basking on a rock. XXXX feet up and 32 switchback with grand views to the lake and Stehekin. Several distractions of succulent sweet thimbleberries –YUMM! Now to follow the trail as it started up the steep walled canyon with Devore creek far below.
About a mile in a large furry creature stood in the trail. I stopped and it slowly ambled up the hill. I snapped a few pitches of the brown colored bear before it settled up the hill in the brush. It watched as we passed, maybe thinking we were crazy sweating and trudging up the hot trail. The next several miles gain an award for the most scat per mile.
Some of the trail brushed. Some covered and difficult to see the sometimes narrow near washouts. It’d be easy to step off the trail and tumble down the steep hillside. Four switchbacks in the now lush forest. Many pauses to cool and a food break. A few creeks, blueberries, nettles and into denser larger trees and two gray tents in the woods.
Now, Bird Creek camp is marked very prominently on the map. I was expecting several sites and maybe a privy. Not. A couple logs to sit on, and two good flat tent spots. We found another less used spot to set up and made camp. Would Don’s group recognize our tent and gear when they returned?
Steep heather log and rock
Summit packs loaded with water, food, rope, pro and clothes we headed direct up from camp westward. Flattish, change to gentle pitch, large log crawling then the slope started steeply up in earnest. No trail, just a brushwhack up as steep as we could, moss, heather, fireweed, rocks, blueberry bush, repeat. At a cliff band a ramp up the middle from left to right. Using occasional parts of animal paths, more steep heather slopes. Pitch easing to a boulder field for boulder hopping then up to another boulder pitch.
Above this a flattening to easy open walking among evergreens and thin heather. We went right side of most places for an easy route. Same of the bump c6800. This would become a theme. I’d read Matt’s report of going right when things looked ugly. At the flattish are c6800’ we heard voices. Carla gave a hoot and we recognized Don’s return hoot. By the time we got around the 6800’ bump for the grand view across the snow to Tupshin, all we saw were boot prints heading south around the ridge. Looked like they were going to try for Devore (3:15p?).
From the ridge at c7000’ a turn right across relatively flat snow and rocks into the snow basin below Tupshin. Followed the snow finger up to near the end to exit on the right on the lower of two ledges. We stashed the poles, axes and crampons and geared up for climbing (rope still in pack). Up the ramp northward mostly loose dirt and rock to some bushes with some rap slings. Then left westward up rock. We followed pretty much PaulK’s route from Summitpost with advice from Matt’s account on NWHikers. When things looks tough we looked to the right. Some interesting complex rap anchors and plenty of loose rock. Keep on it, what feels solid can break with pressure. I found this out to the tune of a massive adrenaline shot –I don’t like that.
The rock was fairly solid with good foot and hand holds in most places. Generally cl3-4 until the pitch with three options. Option one up a crack on the left looked tough. The “easy” option to the right on a ledge with an airy 4cl turn left looked exposed for free climbing. We took an option slightly right on cl4. I whined like Britney S. as the pro I was carrying would catch and snag impeding smooth progress. Well, I was nervous about the exposure and free climbing. Carla was nice to me giving encouragement and hold hints I couldn’t see. I thought she’d just laugh instead at all the whining. A little of a cl5 move and was up and over the crux. The rock is black due to so few going up this peak, so you wouldn’t know what is the route or not. It’s a stand back as you can and look for the route. It’s there.
The climbing pitch eased, but stay awake. The rubble gets looser with grit added for spice. Just follow Paul’s description… Another interesting rap station and the route options narrow. I tried staying more right for more solid rock. 40’ below the summit a steepish ramp full of grit, I was still testing every hand hold and not letting go til the next was assured. We’d had great views east and north with a respite from the sun, climbing in the shade. With the day getting late, it was nice to top out into sunshine and a chance to warm up from the cool breeze.
We treated ourselves to summit treats, “name that peak”, Where’s Don? and reading the register.
Castle, Puzzle, Enigma, Flora and Riddle
Devore and White Goat
Big Snagtooth, Silverstar and Silver Leap
Oval-Star and the Sawtooths
It’s been a long day. Only a half hour on the summit it was time to head down. It was obvious we’d be doing a little hiking in the dark. We walked down to the first rap station and pulled out the rope. Not needed coming up, but would be very nice for getting off this pile of rock. I cleaned bad tat and rebuilt many of the stations. Anyone want souvenir tat? Funny thing was several 9/16 black single tied and untied slings lying near the rap stations -even some sewn runners just lying there. Maybe someone was in a hurry? Five raps and no stuck rope got us to the ramp with a sling on a small bush. Easy footing and only loose cl3 so we walked down to the snow.
This is the crux pitch. We went more right per Matt’s suggestion And then a walk off to the snow
The snow had been shaded for some time, but air temps still warm. We figured better traction, sure footing and faster to use crampons and that proved correct. We made good time back to the ridge (c7000) and headed direct down it as quick as we could as the far mountains to the east became more and more shaded. By the time we hit denser trees only the peak tips glowed deep yellow in the waning sun. Steep heather and boulder fields take care in descending. The crux for me was getting past the ramp in the small cliffs while still light. We made that and as we entered the dense old growth darkness caught up with us. Heather, grasses, slabs, wet moss, logs… all the fun you can imagine to negotiate in the dim lamp light. Would have been nice to change out the batteries, but we didn’t want to stop for that. It would be part of the adventure. A few slips on the wet moss and reminders not to vegi belay off brush with thorns. The pitch leveled out as the trees and logs grew in size. A flicker of light ahead and “whoop”. We whooped back, then a voice, “hey, the Honeybadgers!” A few more minutes and we hit the trail 15 feet from the tent and a warm welcome by Don, John, Jon and Jake who had arrived back to camp from Devore shortly before us.
Dinner, stories, deserts and talk of tomorrow. Was a general good time. The desert tasted good, but looked suspiciously like the scat I’d seen earlier, “Blueberry crumble…” It’s been a long day with my 3am wake up, but with the chatting and prep we didn’t hit the hay til nearly 11pm. Tomorrow would be another long day with a somewhat early start. We had hopes of at least two peaks and maybe three if the routes went efficiently quick. We’ll see. For now just happy the bugs were minimal and the pad soft. Eyes closed and maybe seconds before I was in dreamland. Tomorrow we’d head in to Devore and White Goat… zzzzzz.
Bird Creek Camp
Every which way
Morning with glimpses of another nice east side day. Don and the Jo(H)ns would head to Flora and Carla and I back up the hill to Devore and either White Goat or Wy’North or… The Devore group suggested we hike to about 5700’ and traverse. We left Bird Camp at 7:15 for me to only return a short bit later for my camera. Then off again taking the same route from yesterday up to 5700’ in 45 minutes (.6m) to start a traverse SW. The traverse started well, then we found ourselves tangled in a cliff band. 2-300’ lower would have been good, or 500+ foot higher.
An hour and 45 minutes of full Honey Badger concentration with vegie belays and other creativities brought us to flat terrain and the middle of the large meadowed Bird Creek basin (1.4m, c5865’, 9:44a). We put aside the loss of over an hour due to bad route. We’d learned a bit about getting into the basin though not expecting to come back this way. You’d think we’d have learned some for getting out –life is about learning.
Looking south across the small creek was the obvious gulley with two large larch at the top. Matt’s report had him going up the west side of the waterfall. We went for the gulley with the large larch at the top, the waterfall route looked “challenging”. We played “Scottish” games and tossed a log to bridge the creek (1.5m, 10:00). Then up the heather and loose rock (and wet ground up higher to the two large larch at the top of the gulley (1.7m, c6470’, 10:24). Now what? Nice scenic area, but nowhere near where we needed to be. Up a snow basin getting off the snow as much as possible and staying more right of the snow/gulley area. In a half hour we topped off with views of Devore and the wide flatter east basin where a humming bird took much time checking me out –or was it a giant mosquito? Now to decide the Plan-O-the-Peaks at a break on a dry island of heather (2m, c7100’, 11:10).
Got our Goat
The day was young and seemed like plenty of time for peakbagging. Clear skies and we were sitting there in one of the most stunningly beautiful basins ever. We both agreed this was a very destination worthy basin. White Goat from the map (and visual) looked to be about a quick mile or less away. Flattish heather and larch treed meadow and some talus slope to get to the base of the climb.
Devore and northern basin
View to White Goat very large “mosquito”
The only beta we had was a picture from When Jim, Fay and crew visited.
White Goat playing peak-a-boo Tupshin from the south
Looking back to Devore White Goat and Tupshin
After an enjoyable walk north of Bird Lake and through the heather and larch we crossed around the east side of an intermediate point and to the lower east end of White Goat.
Further north the terrain dropped. As we racked up and looked around we realized this did not look like the picture. Carla explored SW and found a way though rough rock to a ledge a pitch above where we were. Now this looked more like it. A rig to start at, loose climbable (?) on the south and a more chimney like feature on the north. Time to climb, this was not going to be a scramble (3m, c7754’, 12:35p).
I started leading up the southeast side of the eastern rib. The pitch was not tough, just everything I grabbed was loose. Cracks for placement plenty, but nothing that didn’t move. Foot and hand placements also a plenty, but none I’d trust with any weight. Moving a bit what I had checked as a solid foot, broke off –oh, shit. Carla was smart and the belay was away from the route. Hmmm, pondering. I downclimbed then moved north around the narrow rib to the north side and a more solid and challenging looking pitch. Proved good and solid. Some cracks for placement and at the top of the first 20-30’ Carla found a piton. I cruised by it looking for placements not even seeing it. Sometimes these puppies blend in.
Carla happy to be climbing The nasty ass summit ridge
Up and on the rib a meager tattered rap station that was dangerous then on up for more issues with loose crap. Balderdash…! moved up slowly being über careful of loose –even the solid or large stuff was loose. Pitched out the 50m rope to a rap station almost at the summit ridge around a large boulder. Carla came up, then being the whimpy climber I am, belayed me westward on the ridge to the summit. I didn’t like that at all. Each block was loose. Felt like a sneeze or misplaced footing would send the whole sharp ridge tumbling. Once on the we tied off both ends of the rope best we could as a safety line. Carla made it to the summit not finding the usual solid peaceful landing (White Goat summit, 3.1m, 7800’, 1:45).
Riding the Goat
Good sights, impressive cliffs of Tupshin to the NE and the north wall of Devore in our face to the south. We couldn’t see any action on Flora. Wondering how Don and crew were doing. A few more peaks and Don would be done with the T100 x 400p Bulger list. Many more distant peaks and a few munchies distracted me.
Tupshin Dome, Sinister and Spire
From Dome (Ptarmigan Traverse) to The Sawtooths
I found the original summit register and also an old rusty can. Was the paper was in the aluminum tube with pinched ends and a loose cork? Would anything be left? I gave a go with knife to pry out the cork. Like Christmas finding the original paper dry and in good condition after all these years. From the entries (first entry Sept 20, 1940, led my Eldon Metzger (Mazama’s), we were the 11th group to ascend and the 27 & 28th person to record in.
Sept 10, 1940
Came up from Maria Lake
by southeast face – Climbed Tupshin
yesterday + just relaxing today
…basin… little pinnacle is this
if it is small –
Eldon Metzger Led up here +
by right of first ascent hereby
Names This peak –
“White Goat Peak”
1- Everett L Darr – Portland, Oregon, Mazamas Wy’east
2- Ida Darr – Mazamas, “ “
3- Joe Luithold Mazamas – Wy’east, “ “
4- Eldon Metzger – Mazamas – Gresham, Or”
White Goat Original Register
What a treasure, the original entries an 33 year gap til the third party ascent and another 13 year gap… After climbing we knew why it was not often climbed. To me more scary than aesthetic. This one would not be on my return list. I replaced the register with some more paper in a new 2” diameter PVC screw top tube. I hope it protects the record well.
None to soon, we exited this rotted peak (2:15p), back across the treacherous ridge then cleaning the rap station rapped down our ascent route, built another station and back to the base (3:15). It was amazing how slow and how much time for this short peak. I hoped Devore would go smooth. I’d never hear the end of it if we came all the way up and missed Devore –yikes!
Summit Wildlife Back along the ridge
The Sound of …
They couldn’t have found a better setting for a film than the scenery on our return to the NE side of the Bird Creek Basin (east of the lake) (4.1, c7160, 4:05p). We restocked water and our toys into our packs and headed south up the rise to the east ridge of Devore on snow. Pitch increased and I finally found a pace to make it up the steepening hill to the ridge… kick… kick…kick…kick… (4.4m, c7435’, 4:30).
Crampons off for the loose scree and dirt traverse west on the ridge. And up to cross snow on the north side of a rock formation dubbed “The Bottles” (by Matt or ?) (4.6m, c7600’, 5:00). A small most cross to rock and now a traverse on the south side of the ridge that rose to be Devore proper.
Cl3 scrambling up and still working west. We stayed east of a snow gulley reaching its top at a higher ridge. We’d been warned of false summits so kept heading east. Over a ridge and down a spicy downclimb we went around the south of on the way back. Now a traverse heading more West to NW in another dirt/loose rock depression…
Cl 4 up from saddle
At a saddle the crux (not to be confused with the normal route finding crux) of a cl4 15-20’ rise with adrenalin pumping after a tested foot hold broke.
We took the dark vertical looking gulley in the middle
Ahead what looked like a gulley cross to the summit block. Other’s had mentioned a nasty gulley. We opted for a cleaner chimney on its right (east) that connected with the gulley near the top (and rap slings). A few more feet up and we stood on the summit of Devore (5m, 8360’, 6:05p).
North –White Goat and Tupshin
East – Castle to Riddle
Time to De-Peak
What a beautiful day! We’d expected to be up here much earlier. It was apparent we’d be having another get to camp at dark day unless everything went smooth going down.
Devore summit shot
Munchies, reg browsing and taking in the sites cut to a short 20 minutes and we were heading back to camp.
Oh, the register was another Wyeast Climber reg (#5) with a few lightning hits. And the original paper from July 28, 1940. And evidence of the rivalries for first ascents.
Devore Peak – 8300 Feet
Saturday – July 28, 1940 –
This party having found no
Evidence of previous climbers –
Claim first ascent of this peak.
Six hours from Devore Creek at
Bird Creek Fork – Route up
Devore Creek + up ridges + obvious
Ways to summit by west ridge
1- Abigael Avery – A M.C. Plymouth, N.H.
2- Stuart B Avery “ “ “
3- Jane Foster McConnell – Northampton, H.H
4- Grant McConnell –Wy’east Climbers –Portland
5- Paul Parker – New York City
6. Ida Darr – Mazamas –Portland, Oregon
7- Everett Darr – Mazamas Wyeast Climbers, “ “
Along with Everett’s business card from “The Mountain Shop”
Ridge to Wy’north
We retraced our route back making use of the rap station for a short rap off the cl4 crux –I was still a little wary of the breaking foot holds. Back on lower on the southeast side under a cliffy area I found a track more on the ridge proper that avoided much of the south face scrambling. Down, onto the snow, past The Bottle, down and east on the scree ridge to the snow lip we’d ascended (5.5m, c7525’, 7:25p).
Now basically down the snow, traverse north to find the entry to the basin with the Two Large Larch Gulley on the lower left via more snow and steep heather (6m, 7:45). The 2LL gulley was more challenging going down than up being loose, wet and steep. We landed in the Bird Creek basin just after 8. Would we make our way out before dark? Across the creek we found a good trail a few hundred feet north of the creek that helped for good progress. It seemed to not lose elevation. In retrospect I’d have taken it to the slope we ascended in the morning (and used for Tupshin).
The trail vanished to be found again. We wanted to head down creek and out similar to path described by Stefan’s report. We stayed north of the creek, the treed terrain flattened to some ponds then down again. We followed a creek gulley then crossed. Wheh! We were making good time. Weeelllll, there I go jinxing the descent. The trees opened and we were planted firmly in slide alder. Tried to stay above then a weekness and some creativity, off a rock cliffy slab, into a creek bed and out… I grabbed a tree that towered above me to find it was just a giant bracken fern. Now back to the woods with a little underbrush being careful not to slip on the occasional rock slabs under the brush. It was dark now as we trudged on. I was pumped from the trip and sites of the day at the same time feeling tired and ready for camp, food and sleep (in that order).
Ahead some lamp light and a heartfelt welcome back to camp (7.5m, c4215, 9:30p, 14h15m day). Everyone had a good day and had arrived back safe and sound. Tired from a long day we chatted, ate and off to the sack.
A more relaxing day. We were thinking of sleeping in, but how can you in the outdoors? We broke camp and headed in good spirits.
It got hot fast, an hour to the switchbacks and at the campground in an hour 35 minutes (4.6m). We headed to the north of camp for the pirate boat and Jake and John prepping Don’s IK. Carla and Jon snagged a power boat ride to Stehekin from a couple heading to church(?) so I ran to catch up. This saved several miles of extra walking. And being Sunday I was feeling lazy. “Town” was empty, we hung out in the warm morning on the deck with chips and salsa.
“It’s Stehekin…” now that’s Jon’s story…
A seaplane landed and rather than wait another four hours to get out of here I managed a ride out. Comfy ride and in a half hour we were sitting on the dock at the seaplane port enjoying a before noon cold beer. Seems Carla had stashed a few in the cooler and luckily pilots can’t drink and fly :)
Our ride out
What can I say? Perfect weather, great group. Good entertainment –that’s Jon’s story. Ask him about “It’s Stehekin”… last I saw him, he was peddling a bike to the bakery…
Thanks for reading.
Day 1: 8.2, 7310 12h
Day 2: 7.5, 4815 14:15m
Day 3: 4.6, 0 1h40
Total: 21.3m, 12125vert
White Goat Peak register entries
Sept 10, 1940
Came up from Maria Lake by southeast face – Climbed Tupshin yesterday + just relaxing today…basin… little pinnacle is this if it is small –
Eldon Metzger Led up here + by right of first ascent hereby Names This peak –
“White Goat Peak”
Everett L Darr – Portland, Oregon, Mazama Wy’east
Ida Darr – Mazama, “ “
Joe Luithold Mazama – Wy’east, “ “
Eldon Metzger – Mazama – Gresham, Or
Second Ascent – 6:30 P.M.
August 7, 1941 – Camped at Marie basin. Tomorrow will attempt Tupshin –
Larry Ruch led this climb
1 - L.E. Ruch – Mazama 11Hannes Ave, Vallejo, Calif
One of the best climbs in my experience
2 - Arlen (sp?) E Spalding. Boston Mass
3 - Harold Bonebrake Portland
4 - Everett L. Darr A.A.C. Mazamas Wy’east – Portland, Oregon 2 [2 with circle around it]
August 18, 1974 3rd ascent?
Joe Vance, Ted Carpenter
Kerri Stolle (sp?)
Sunday 9-20-87 5th ascent?
Fun climb, good weather, neat summit register.
SE Buttress found 2 old softed pitons
Led by Steve Ricker, Seattle Mountaineers
Also Stephen Fry
Good leading Steve R.
9/20/87 @ 5:45pm
Mitch Blamton B’ham
Tom Rainey Renton
2 “old goats” who have been partners for 25 years
9-21-02 Don Beavon
9/22/07 Don Goodman
9/29/08 Wes Martin Oly
Karl Mabnuson Seattle
7/4/09 Fay Pullen
7/17/2011 Stefan Feller
8/6/2011 Franklin Bradshaw
Left new register tube and extra paper [and new pencil]
Reg stats: 11 ascents, 28 climbers
Copyright 2011, FWB, all rights reserved