Devore Slam Devoured Us / 深感德沃雷滿貫

Kodak moment on Flora Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Oh, Devore Slam. I can’t remember the last time both of us felt this exhausted from a backpacking trip. This trip was one of the most memorable ones with several new experiences. This trip was pup’s first ride on a seaplane, plus our first time canoeing. We also entered the area the day before wildfire closure. Eek! I was just here two months ago climbing Dark Peak, which was an unforgettable experience in itself.

The Lowdown on Devore Slam

Devore Slam = Tupshin Peak + Devore Peak + Flora Mountain
德沃雷滿貫=塔普遜峯+德沃雷峯+佛羅拉山

Access: Devore Creek Trailhead 
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 1160′-8360′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available

Logistics Overview

July 31 – August 3, 2015

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

Day 1 – Friday, July 31
Seaplane – Chelan to Stehekin
Canoe – Stehekin to Weaver Point Campground
Night 1 – Bird Creek at 5500′

Day 2 – Saturday, August 1
Tupshin Peak + Devore Peak
Night 2 – Bird Creek at 5500′

Day 3 – Sunday, August 2
Flora Mountain
Night 3 – Bird Creek Camp

Day 4 – Monday, August 3
Exit via Stehekin River Trail


Day 1

Seaplane + Canoe + Devore Creek Trail

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

New fires along the lake
New fires along the lake

See more trip photos here.

Seaplane to Stehekin, Washington

The pup and I boarded the plane to Stehekin with another couple. While in the air, we witnessed what was to become the most significant wildfire season in Washington State history. Halfway up Lake Chelan, smoke from the Wolverine Fire began spewing out of several gorges west of the lake. Smoke had permeated Chelan sky to obscure south views when we landed in Stehekin.

The couple on the plane offered us their canoe to get to Weaver Point Campground. That saved us the need to head north to Harlequin Bridge on the Stehekin Shuttle. Not to mention having to hike three miles southbound to Weaver Point afterward. Due to the new fire, the Devore Creek Trail became the detour for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hikers.

First time for everything
First time for everything

See more trip photos here.

Approach to Bird Creek Camp

We didn’t see anyone on Devore Creek Trail the day we went in. There was also no one on the trail when we climbed Flora Mountain. It seemed odd since I expected to see many PCT through-hikers. But then everything made sense when we exited on day four. Forest service had updated the sign by the trailhead to “area closed until further notice.”. It was unnerving to find out later that we were the only ones inside the area.

The approach was hot and sweaty. Soon after getting through switchbacks on the lower trail, Stehekin had disappeared into the smoke. We began scrambling on brushy terrain from Bird Creek Camp at 4100′. Soon, we found a flat area at 5500′ in lower Bird Creek Basin and camped. The starry night was perfect for some night photography.

Once upon another time
Once upon another time

See more trip photos here.

Day 2

Tupshin Peak + Devore Peak

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

Good morning Tupshin Peak
Good morning Tupshin Peak

See more trip photos here.

Tupshin Peak Climb

Shortly after sunrise, we left camp and headed north. We scrambled on steep terrain to get to Tupshin Peak’s southeast shoulder. Then at 7000′, we went down into the big talus basin below Tupshin Peak’s southeast face. The pup stayed on a big snow patch at 7200′ while I went to tag the peak. Initially, I had misread the beta and went too far east. Shortly, I made my way back to the east ridge and got onto the standard route below the summit.

The spacious summit came with a newly placed register from just days before. Smoke seemed to have multiplied hundredfold from the Wolverine Fire to the south by Holden Village. Not sure if pup could hear me, but I continually yelled out to assure him of my presence. I saw a tiny yellow dot moving about on the snow patch, so I knew he was all right. The route to Devore Peak looked straightforward from here. I also checked out next day’s objective, Flora Mountain, two basins to the southeast. Everything sure looked far in person!

Wolverine Fire
Wolverine Fire

See more trip photos here.

Back to Bird Creek Basin

On the way down, I down climbed except at the belay station with old, raggedy webbing. I backed up the anchor to be safe before rappelling. My 30-meter alpine rope worked great in getting me onto the ledge below. Then I down climbed rest of the way on southeast face back to the talus and reunited with the pup. He probably wondered where I was all this time since he only heard my voice from above.

We first got back down to the 7000′ shoulder. Then we dropped 1000′ while heading southwest on steep slopes into Bird Creek Basin. For some reason, I couldn’t locate the access gully. So instead, we stayed north of the creek and veggie belayed up to the outlet of the moraine lakes.

Upper Basin with Devore Peak
Upper Basin with Devore Peak

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Devore Peak

We traveled south on gentle terrain to the 7500′ notch on the peak’s east ridge. For the most part, we were able to stay on the ridge crest. Then we bypassed gendarmes from the north and got back on the ridge crest shortly after. Traveling south of the ridgeline, we eventually got up to the west of the south ridge. We carefully worked our way through exposed sections and arrived at the 4th class steps before the false summit.

The pup stayed here as it wasn’t conducive to getting him up the steps. I bypassed the false summit on the west. Then just around the corner, I saw the actual high point on the other side of a steep gully. It was an easy scramble from there to the top. Though, I wouldn’t want to have crossed this section in snow.

The crux on Devore Peak
The crux on Devore Peak

See more trip photos here.

Devore Peak Summit with Views

I looked for Tupshin Peak right after summiting. Holy cow, it looked so pointy from here! Did I climb that thing this morning? Everywhere I looked was smoky, and the start of Goode Fire caught my attention. Guess my chance of getting Goode Mountain this season was slim since access would most likely be closed off. Not sure if pup could hear me around the false summit. But I yelled out several times so that he knew I was still around.

The air had become more polluted. As a result, I was beginning to feel ash in my ears and nostrils. I reunited with the pup below the steps, and then we hurried down the east ridge. Once again, I tried to locate the access gully but to no avail. So instead, we followed our route back down to the lower basin. It became dark just before we entered the forest. With a short section of bushwhacking and we’re back at the campsite.

Tupshin Peak from Devore Peak
Tupshin Peak from Devore Peak

See more trip photos here.

Day 3

Flora Mountain

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

Flora Mountain looming behind
Flora Mountain looming behind

See more trip photos here.

Flora Mountain Climb

Neither of us wanted to get up this morning, knowing that we had a much longer day ahead. We headed down to Bird Creek Camp and dropped off overnight gear. Then we set off for Flora Mountain. Feeling heavy-footed, we hiked up to the Fourth of July Basin. Then we left the trail and scrambled toward the gully next to Riddle Peak’s north peak. A large cairn on the pass showed that we were still on the right track. Smoke from the south obscured the views into the Riddle Creek drainage. Meanwhile, our water was running low.

From the pass, we headed north and bypassed Point 7716 from its south while traversing east. We were mostly able to stay on the rocky ridge crest until the 7400′ notch west of Point 7734. Then we dropped down onto the scree slopes and slowly made our way across to Point 7640. From there, we bypassed the north cliffs from the east and went into the meadow. On the way out, I realized we could have easily avoided the point from the west.

Talus and smoke for days
Talus and smoke for days

See more trip photos here.

Final Stretch on Flora Mountain

We were both thirsty. Even though I saw water down in the basin, I was too lazy to drop the elevation. The pup found a hidden snow patch with a small pool of water, so we immediately took advantage of it. Later, I located a faint climbers’ path on the southwest face. So we followed it for a while before it dwindled by the talus. Getting through the last couple of hundred feet to the top felt like an eternity. We both felt so weak that we took one step at a time while leapfrogging.

The wildfires were so distracting that I never took a summit nap. The Wolverine Fire grew larger since yesterday, judging by the size of the eruption-like smoke permeating the sky. A couple of small fires started to form on the north side of Lucerne Mountain. Tupshin Peak and Devore Peak looked so far from here. I still couldn’t believe we climbed both of them just the day before. Distant mountains were now hard to see; even the nearby mountains were hazy. We rested long enough to recoup before going back down.

Summit dogs on Flora Mountain
Summit dogs on Flora Mountain

It got completely dark when we reached the bottom of the gully in Fourth of July Basin. We took a power nap among then talus and then finished scrambling out onto Devore Creek Trail. We rushed back to camp and slept some before the long trek out bright and early the next day. The rain came down during the night. Luckily, the tree coverage kept the rainfly from becoming too wet.

See more trip photos here.

Day 4

Exit via Stehekin River Trail

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

Exiting

The alarm sounded at 3 AM, and we were moving by 3:30 AM. We needed to allow ourselves time to catch the 9:45 AM shuttle from Harlequin Bridge. Back at the Devore Creek Trailhead, we hiked north on Stehekin River Trail. Little did I know that it would turn out to be the most mosquito-infested trail we’ve ever come across. These buggers were immune to deet! Most of the time, we were half running to try and get them off our faces.

By the time we came out of the jungle by the landing strip, most of the mosquitoes had vanished. Right before we got to Harlequin Bridge, a ranger in her truck stopped us in our tracks. She asked if I were the guy climbing with my dog. The couple with the canoe mentioned us to her, so she kept an eye out for us. Talk about hospitality at its best! She even offered us a ride back into town. We stopped at the Stehekin Bakery to get a bite before catching the shuttle back to the dock.

See more trip photos here.

Back to Stehekin Dock

Food had never tasted so good after an extended climbing trip. Back at the dock, I found out that the seaplanes had stopped running because of the fire. So we waited a few more hours for the ferry to show up in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the pup slept very comfortably under the community bulletin board the minute we got back. He did not move an inch until the ferry arrived. Hard to believe he was THAT exhausted!

In the crate, the pup slept through the entire duration of the ride back to Chelan. The 4-hour ride went by fast as a couple chatted with me about our trip and photography. The husband was curious about the Bulger List and asked me a bunch of questions about our journey.

We got into Chelan at 6 PM. Then we spent the next 3.5 hours driving home to Seattle.

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Loved reading this story. My husband and I (Ed and Becky Breeze) were the ones you met on the plane and loaned you our canoe. So fun to read your adventures and see your amazing pictures and especially your trusty yellow hiking partner. What a great dog!

    1. Hi Becky! So great to hear from you, and thank you! I can’t believe it’s been four years already; I’ll never forget about our first and only canoe trip to date! We went up to McGregor Mountain in June of this year, and I wondered if you two were around. Too bad the seaplane stopped running. I’ll be there again next summer on another climbing trip, so perhaps I can stop by and say hi then. Please tell Ed I said hello!

  2. Please do come by! We would love to see you and your trusty hiking partner:)

    We were up on 4 different trips this summer and just got back last night full of sticky buns and good bread from the bakery:)

Leave a Reply

Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: