Fortress Slam via Chiwawa River / 經吉娃娃河上堡壘滿貫

Fortress Slam has been on my mind all summer. Up until last week, I wasn’t sure if it would still happen this season. But as it turned out, I was able to combine it with Ingalls Peak over one weekend. Last week I climbed the Yellowjacket Tower with The Mountaineers.

Fortress Slam from the meadow
Fortress Slam from the meadow

See more trip photos here.

Fortress Slam 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

Chiwawa River Trail

It was going to be a long day. So I slept in the car by the trailhead on Thursday night for an early start. Some people were up at the crack of dawn and went about their business. So after everyone left, I then started my trip up Chiwawa River Valley.

Views expanded when I went into the head of the basin. Then route finding became a bit more challenging. There were also many down trees in the lower elevation to add to the fun. I looked for the reported creek crossing. But I never found it. Soon, Fortress Slam was in plain sight.

Glacier Peak Wilderness
Glacier Peak Wilderness

See more trip photos here.

Fortress Mountain of Fortress Slam

It seemed to take forever to go up to the base of Fortress Slam. But glad I didn’t encounter significant issues along the way. So the only crux was the steep snow below Fortress Mountain. It was between 7800’ and 8000’ below the notch. But I bypassed it by staying on the rocks

The short class 4 move (high class 3) in the final stretch wasn’t too bad. Then I weaved around the summit rocks to reach the top. Entiat high points were all visible from here. I could also see all of the western peaks, including the dominating Glacier Peak.

Summit delight on Fortress Mountain
Summit delight on Fortress Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Chiwawa Mountain of Fortress Slam

On the way down, I went below the permanent snowfield to go to the base of Chiwawa Mountain. The snow here was also steep and icy. But the route was straightforward. There was more talus here than on Fortress Mountain. Then from the saddle, I walked up the southwest ridge on rocks.

Later, I came across a faint trail and followed it. But I also made my own to keep from sliding. The views from Chiwawa Mountain were similar to Fortress Mountain. But now there were vibrant evening colors across the horizon. I spent 30 minutes on top and then made my way back down.

Talus on Chiwawa Mountain
Talus on Chiwawa Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Outro

At 10 minutes to sunset, I was still up at 7000′. Then I realized that my headlamp was missing. It most likely had fallen out of my pack at some point. “F***ck!” I screamed. But with the help of moonlight and my GPS device, I slowly made it back to the main trail. 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 buried at the bottom of my ten essentials pack. 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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