Tupshin Peak + Devore Peak + Flora Mountain via Stehekin / 塔普遜峯

  • Reading time:27 mins read

Tupshin Peak, Devore Peak, and Flora Mountain by Bonanza Peak are three elusive high points northwest of Lake Chelan. To the north lies the unique and tranquil Stehekin. Then on the south, Railroad Creek Valley harbors the century-old mining site of Holden Village.

Kodak moment on Flora Mountain
Kodak moment on Flora Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Tupshin Peak + Devore Peak + Flora Mountain at a Glance

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
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

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

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

The Preface on Tupshin Peak, Devore Peak, and Flora Mountain

Oh, Devore Slam. I can’t recall the last time backpacking felt this tiring. But despite the arduous endeavor, we had many first experiences during the trip. They included the pup’s first seaplane ride our first time riding a canoe!

By chance, we entered the area one day before the wildfire closures. But I only found that out on the trip’s final day when we exited. Compare this trip with last week’s excursion, and it was like night and day!

Chelan Seaplane over Lake Chelan
Chelan Seaplane over Lake Chelan

See more trip photos here.

Seaplane to Stehekin, Washington

We boarded the plane in Chelan with another couple on the way to their cabin. While in the air, we witnessed what had become the most devastating wildfire season in Washington State history.

Halfway up Lake Chelan, smoke from the Wolverine Fire spewed several nearby gorges. Soon, the fume spread across the blue sky as the southern view faded. I’d never seen a wildfire up close, and it was a dreadful sight.

Wolverine Fire along Lake Chelan
Wolverine Fire along Lake Chelan

See more trip photos here.

Canoe to Weaver Point Campground

The couple on the plane had graciously offered us their canoe to Weaver Point Campground. Given the trip distance, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Plus, it saved us the bus ride north to Harlequin Bridge.

Also, by going straight to the campground by boat, we had avoided the three-mile hike south altogether. Later the new sign by Devore Creek Trail suggested that it had become Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) detour.

Canoeing to Weaver Point Campground
Canoeing to Weaver Point Campground

See more trip photos here.

Bird Creek Camp by Tupshin Peak

Oddly, we didn’t see people on the way in on day one. And there wasn’t anybody on the trail when we climbed Flora Mountain on day three, either. So it was puzzling not to see PCT through-hikers, at least.

But everything made sense when we left the area on day four. As it turned out, the Forest Service had put up a closure sign after we started the trip. Still, it was scary to know we were alone the whole time.

Pacific Crest Trail detour
Pacific Crest Trail detour

See more trip photos here.

Devore Creek Trail by Tupshin Peak

It was hot and humid as we went up the switchbacks on the lower trail. Soon, Stehekin disappeared into the smoke behind us. Later we reached Bird Creek Camp at 4100′ and scrambled up through the brush.

We camped in the lower Bird Creek Basin, a flat area at 5500′. As nightfall neared, all the smoke had vanished with the heat. Then it turned out to be a starry sky, perfect for shooting some star trails.

This way to Tupshin Peak
This way to Tupshin Peak

See more trip photos here.


Day 2

Tupshin Peak + Devore Peak

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

Tupshin Peak Climb

The following day, we left camp right after sunrise. Then we scrambled north on steep terrain to the southeast shoulder. Later at 7000′, we went into the big talus basin below Tupshin Peak’s southeast face.

The pup waited for me on the snow at 7200′ as I made my way up the peak. But I had misread the descriptions and ended up too far east. So I quickly worked my way back to the east ridge to be back on route.

Tupshin Peak southeast basin
Tupshin Peak southeast basin

See more trip photos here.

Tupshin Peak Summit Views

At last, I reached the roomy summit with gorgeous views. There’s even a newly placed register from only days before. Wolverine Fire looked to have multiplied a hundredfold and moved closer to Holden Village.

I wasn’t sure if the pup could hear me. But I’d continually call out Cody’s name, so he knew I was still around. Then I looked down and saw a yellow dot moving about on the snow, so he was all right.

Wolverine Fire from Tupshin Peak
Wolverine Fire from Tupshin Peak

See more trip photos here.

Leaving Tupshin Peak

I was able to downclimb to the belay station with old, raggedy webbing. Then I backed up the anchor to be extra safe before rappelling. My 30-meter rope was more than enough to get me down to the ledge.

Later I downclimbed the rest of the way on the southeast side. Then I went back and reunited with the pup by the snow. He probably wondered where I had gone since he could only hear my voice.

Thank you for being patience
Thank you for being patience

See more trip photos here.

Back to Bird Creek Basin

We quickly went back to the 7000′ shoulder. Then we dropped 1000′ as we moved southwest on steep slopes into Bird Creek Basin. Somehow, I couldn’t locate the access gully mentioned in several reports. So we stayed north of the creek instead.

From there, we got up to the outlet of the moraine lakes.

Checking out the route to Devore Peak
Checking out the route to Devore Peak

See more trip photos here.

Devore Peak Climb

We went south on the mild terrain and soon reached the 7500′ notch on the east ridge. Glad we could stay on the crest mostly. En route, we bypassed gendarmes from the north but went right back on the ridgeline afterward.

We eventually rounded the south ridge over to the west side by going south. From there, we then carefully worked our way through the exposure.

Devore Peak northeast basin
Devore Peak northeast basin

See more trip photos here.

Devore Peak Crux

Soon, we arrived at the 4th class steps before the false peak. Cody had to stay here because it wasn’t suitable for him to continue. Shortly, I bypassed the false summit on the west and continued.

I later saw Devore Peak’s high point on the other side of a steep gully around the corner. But the final stretch to the top was straightforward. But I wouldn’t recommend crossing this part in the snow.

The Devore Peak crux
The Devore Peak crux

See more trip photos here.

Devore Peak Summit Views

The first thing I saw from the top was Tupshin Peak. Holy cow! It looked so pointy from here! Did I climb that thing?! Goode Fire quickly caught my attention as I checked out the smoky views. So that meant no Goode Mountain this season.

Not sure if Cody could hear me around the false peak. But I called out his name several times to assure him of my presence. Or perhaps he was taking a nap by the crux.

Tupshin Peak from Devore Peak
Tupshin Peak from Devore Peak

See more trip photos here.

Back to Bird Creek Camp by Tupshin Peak

The air had become more polluted by the ash in my ears and nose. Later I met the pup below the crux and tried locating the access gully without luck. So we retraced our steps hurried back to the lower basin.

It darkened right before we entered the forest. Then we scrambled a short way to reach the campsite.

One final look
One final look

See more trip photos here.


Day 3

Flora Mountain

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

Flora Mountain Climb

Neither of us wanted to get up this morning. But we had a much longer day ahead. We first went back to Bird Creek Camp to drop off some gear. Then we set off for Flora Mountain. Feeling heavy-footed, we slowly hiked up to Fourth of July Basin.

Later we left the trail and scrambled toward the gully by Riddle Peaks’ north peak. A large cairn on the pass meant that we were still on track. However, smoke from the south obscured our view into the Riddle Creek drainage.

Flora Mountain awaits
Flora Mountain awaits

See more trip photos here.

Through Castle Creek Basin

We traversed the crest north and bypassed Point 7716 en route from the pass. Then we stayed on the rocky ridge to Point 7734’s west notch at 7400′. Soon, we dropped onto the scree slopes and went over to Point 7640.

We bypassed the cliffs from the east of Point 7640 into the meadow. I found that we could’ve easily avoided the high point from the west on the way out.

Talus and smoke for days
Talus and smoke for days

See more trip photos here.

Final Stretch on Flora Mountain

We were both very thirsty. Even though I saw water down in the basin, I was too lazy to drop the altitude. A while later, the pup found a snow patch with a small pool of water. So we quickly took a drink and rested a bit.

Afterward, we followed a faint path on the southwest face until it faded by the talus. Then it felt like a lifetime going up the last few hundred feet. Besides, we were both low on energy and took one step at a time and leapfrogged.

The final stretch on Flora Mountain
The final stretch on Flora Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Flora Mountain Summit Views

The wildfire had distracted me, so I never took a nap. Wolverine Fire had grown more prominent since the day before from the size of the eruption-like smoke permeating the sky. A couple of small fires started north of Lucerne Mountain.

Tupshin Peak and Devore Peak looked so far from here. And I still couldn’t believe we had climbed both of them the day before. Distant mountains were now hard to see; even the nearby peaks were hazy. But we rested long enough to recoup before going down.

Summit dogs on Flora Mountain
Summit dogs on Flora Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Outro

It completely darkened when we reached the bottom of the gully in the Fourth of July Basin. Then we took a power nap amid the talus. Later we finished the scramble and went back on Devore Creek Trail.

We hurried back to camp and had some snooze before the long trek out bright and early the next day. Unfortunately, it rained during the night. But luckily, the trees had kept the rainfly from becoming too wet.

End of day three
End of day three

See more trip photos here.


Day 4

Exit

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

Leaving Tupshin Peak, Devore Peak, and Flora Mountain

The alarm sounded at 3 AM, and we were walking by 3:30 AM. We needed to allow ourselves time to catch the 9:45 AM shuttle from Harlequin Bridge. Soon, we were hiking north on Stehekin River Trail from the Devore Creek Trailhead.

This trail would become the most mosquito-infested we had ever seen. Those buggers were immune to deet! We were half running to try and get them off our faces most of the time.

Leaving Tupshin Peak, Devore Peak, and Flora Mountain
Leaving Tupshin Peak, Devore Peak, and Flora Mountain

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Harlequin Bridge

By the time we came out of the jungle by the landing strip, most of the mosquitoes had vanished. 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.

Stehekin airstrip
Stehekin airstrip

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 since we came back. Cody was that exhausted that he didn’t move an inch until the ferry arrived.

Three hours of stillness
Three hours of stillness

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The pup slept through the entire ride back to Chelan in the crate. The four-hour ride went by fast as a couple chatted with me about our trip. The husband was curious about the Bulger List and asked me many questions about our journey.

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

Leaving Stehekin
Leaving Stehekin

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

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Becky

    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. onehikeaweek

      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. Becky

    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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.