Fortress Mountain + Chiwawa Mountain via Chiwawa River / 堡壘山

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Fortress Mountain and Chiwawa Mountain tower over Chiwawa River Valley in Entiat Mountains. Meanwhile, the latter looms above Lyman Glacier and Lyman Lake to the north. Because the peaks are close together, climbers often explore both places in one trip.

Fortress Mountain and Chiwawa Mountain from the meadow
Fortress Mountain and Chiwawa Mountain from the meadow

See more trip photos here.

Fortress Mountain and Chiwawa Mountain at a Glance

Fortress Slam = Fortress Mountain + Chiwawa Mountain
堡壘滿貫=堡壘山+吉娃娃山

Access: Trinity Trailhead 
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 2800′-8760′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

The Preface

I’ve had many climbing commitments this season. But Fortress Mountain and Chiwawa Mountain have been on my mind all summer. Until last week, I wasn’t sure if I could still make the trip happen soon.

In the end, I went up both mountains plus Ingalls Peak the same weekend. But that meant driving for hours from one trailhead to the other. I sure could’ve used more sleep in between the climbs.

Glacier Peak Wilderness
Glacier Peak Wilderness

See more trip photos here.

Chiwawa River Trail

It would be a long day ahead, so I slept by the trailhead on Thursday night for an early start. Some people were up at dawn to go about their business. After everyone left, I started my walk up Chiwawa River Valley.

Views expanded at the top of the basin. Then route finding became more challenging with down trees lower down. I looked for the reported creek crossing but never found it. Soon, Fortress Mountain was in full view.

Type 2
Type 2

See more trip photos here.

Fortress Mountain Climb

Reaching the bottom of the peaks felt like forever, but no significant issues en route. The steep snow on Fortress Mountain below the notch was the only crux between 7800′ and 8000′. But I bypassed it via the rocks.

Later, I made the brief class 4 move and weaved around the rocks to reach the top. The Entiat high points were all visible from here. I also saw all the western peaks, including the impressive Glacier Peak.

Summit delight on Fortress Mountain
Summit delight on Fortress Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Chiwawa Mountain Climb

I went to the bottom of Chiwawa Mountain, below the permanent snowfield. It was also steep and icy but a straightforward route with more talus than Fortress Mountain. Soon, I walked up the southwest ridge from the saddle.

Later, I followed a faint trail and made my own to keep from sliding. Views from Chiwawa Mountain were similar to Fortress Mountain but with vibrant evening colors across the horizon. I stayed 30 minutes on top before leaving.

Talus on Chiwawa Mountain
Talus on Chiwawa Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Outro

At 7000′ ten minutes to sunset, I couldn’t find the headlamp that had fallen out of my pack. “F***ck!” I screamed. But I slowly made it back to the main trail with moonlight and the light on my GPS. But not before scrambling two miles through the forest and down trees.

My saving grace for the rest five miles back to the trailhead? The tiny flashlight at the bottom of my ten essentials. It has been there for the past five years. Glad I didn’t need to find my way back to the car in total darkness!

Thanks for a beautiful day
Thanks for a beautiful day

See more trip photos here.

It was yet another beautiful day out in the wilderness!

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