2018/7/14-15 – Napeequa Slam / 納比夸滿貫

Napeequa Peak in her full glory
Napeequa Peak in her full glory

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Napeequa Slam = Napeequa Peak + Mount Berge
納比夸滿貫=納比夸峯+貝奇山

Pup and I hiked the Buck Creek Trail four years ago on the way to climbing Buck Mountain. I had originally added an extra day to this trip with the intent of climbing more peaks in the area. However, due to a recent turn of events, I had a hard time focusing on the climbing and we ended up heading home on day two.

The drive on Chiwawa River Road felt rougher than usual from the end of pavement to Trinity. A couple of recent road washouts had been repaired to provide public access to the campgrounds and trailheads beyond. Road conditions progressively worsened, but manageable in a low-clearance vehicle.

Raging Chiwawa River with damaged bridge
Raging Chiwawa River with damaged bridge

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Mosquitoes at Trinity were relentless, but all seemed to have disappeared the minute we left the trailhead. Buck Creek Trail was mostly clear of debris with the exception of a few places with groups of down trees to negotiate through the burned areas . We crossed Buck Creek around 4,300′ on a log jam.

Using the same approach for Buck Mountain, we attained Mount Cleator east ridge and scrambled through the burned area in lower elevations. The fire took place after our previous trip, the ridge now looked somewhat unrecognizable yet much easier to navigate with the absence of brush.

Scenic route via Mount Cleator east ridge
Scenic route via Mount Cleator east ridge

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Unable to bring up our old track on my GPS to confirm, effort in locating the inconspicuous climbers trail into the southeast basin was to no avail. So we continued on the steep albeit open east ridge to 7,100′ before dropping into head of the basin. With crampons, we then traveled south-southwest onto the Berge-Cleator saddle and into the High Pass basin.

Breathtaking view to the south from the saddle, with Mount Berge to the left, and Luahna Peak and Napeequa Peak front and center. After dropping 100′ into the basin and contouring Mount Cleator south ridge, High Pass finally came into view. Clark Mountain rendered itself as we made the traverse toward the pass. We camped directly above the frozen Triad Lake with excellent views.

Triad Lake from camp
Triad Lake from camp

Photos from this trip can be found here.

I wanted to make good use of the remaining daylight by climbing Napeequa Peak first and save Mount Berge for the morning in cooler temperatures. From camp, we headed southwest on snow to the snow free east ridge of Point 7529. We encountered snow again on the east slopes of Cirque Mountain all the way to Napeequa Peak.

With two reports in hand, we first tried out the southeast ridge route. We crossed the ridge at 7,600′ onto the steep south face and quickly realized that the giant, blocky boulders and down sloping slabs were unsuitable for the pup. So we got back onto east slopes and followed the second report to a notch on the northeast ridge.

Summit ridge
Summit ridge

Photos from this trip can be found here.

As we traversed southward on the exposed east face under the summit block, I was very glad to come upon a few strategically placed cairns that confirmed we were indeed on the right track. The route took us past the summit before making its way to the south ridge. Moving north for a short distance and we were finally on the summit.

Especially great views into the Napeequa River Valley, together with many places pup and I had visited together in the past. Clark Mountain, Luahna Peak, Glacier Peak, Fortress Mountain were just a few among the many familiar high points. Four years had gone by fast since we last set foot in the area, glad we could come back to pay another visit.

Southwest panoramic view
Southwest panoramic view

Photos from this trip can be found here.

We retraced our route back to camp in the early evening light and enjoyed more mountain views by the camp while making dinner. Mosquitoes would’ve been of annoyance if it weren’t for the evening breeze keeping most of them at bay. I was able to get some nice star trail shots on this moonless night.

After breakfast, we descended south into the basin west of Mount Berge. At the south end of the snow field at 7,000′, we climbed up a steep snow finger and got off the snow 100′ later onto shallow moat. From there we were able to scramble on rock, followed by steep heather slopes, to the 7,650′ saddle south of the Mount Berge main summit.

Mount Berge North from saddle
Mount Berge North from saddle

Photos from this trip can be found here.

I wanted to visit both summits since there seemed to discrepancies as to which of the two was on the list. Also, I read somewhere that the north summit might be higher than the main one. From the saddle we traversed northeast on snow toward the north summit and arrived at its south face shortly after.

At first we went up the wrong gully and got cliffed out below the east summit ridge. Then we tried the gully to the immediate left and it worked. Slabs toward top of the gully were more exposed. But with wide enough ledges and good holds, we were able to make it to the top without any issues.

Glacier Peak with Napeequa and Cirque
Glacier Peak with Napeequa and Cirque

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Views were just as equally good as those on Napeequa Peak but with Buck Mountain in our face. A long stay on top before reversing our route back down to snow. We stopped at 7,800′ east of Mount Berge main summit and climbed up on steep snow. Once we were on the north ridge, a short ridge traverse south got us onto the main summit.

We didn’t stay long on this summit since we spent lots of time on the other one. A few photos and we started heading down to the south saddle. Rather than descending the steep snow finger into High Pass Basin, at the bottom of the heather slopes we took a turn due south into a steep gully. I wanted to see about negotiating the buttress this way and it worked.

Back to the other side
Back to the other side

Photos from this trip can be found here.

After getting around the buttress at 6,800′, we can out onto the snowfield and reconnected with our old track. Afternoon heat had melted the basin snow quite a bit, so we stayed as far west on the snowfield as possible to avoid breaking through the ice.

Since we weren’t going to stay another day and climb, we took a long time getting ready to head out. Pup took a power nap back at camp while I took photos before breaking camp. Back on the Berge-Cleator saddle, we headed straight into the basin and found the climbers trail we couldn’t locate just the day before. It wasn’t as recognizable compared with the time before.

Access: Trinity Trailhead
Gear: helmet, ice axe, crampons

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