Napeequa Slam via High Pass / 經高山道上納比夸滿貫

The pup and I spent four days out in Pasayten Wilderness last week. Then this weekend, we went into Glacier Peak Wilderness. We had hiked the Buck Creek Trail four years ago on our way to climbing Buck Mountain. I had initially added an extra day to the Napeequa Slam trip. So we could include a few other peaks in the area.

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

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Napeequa Slam at a Glance

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

Access: Trinity Trailhead 
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 2800′-8073′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, crampons
GPS Track: available

Driving to Trinity

Due to the recent turn of events, I had a hard time focusing on climbing this weekend. So we didn’t hang out for another day as planned. In the end, we climbed the Napeequa Slam and then went out on day two.

The drive from the end of the pavement to Trinity felt rougher than usual. The Forest Service had fixed the recent washouts to provide public access to the campgrounds and trailheads beyond. The road conditions progressively worsened. But it still manageable in a low-clearance vehicle.

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

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Buck Creek Trail to Mount Cleator East Ridge

Mosquitoes at Trinity were relentless. But they all disappeared the minute we left the trailhead. Buck Creek Trail was mostly clear of tree debris except for a few places. In the burned zone were groups of down trees to get through. Later, we crossed Buck Creek at 4300′ on a log jam.

Using the same approach for Buck Mountain, we first went up to Mount Cleator east ridge. Then we scrambled through the burned area in lower elevations. The fire happened after our last trip. So the ridgeline now looked unrecognizable. But it was much more comfortable to travel with the absence of the brush.

The scenic route via Mount Cleator east ridge
The scenic route via Mount Cleator east ridge

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Napeequa Slam via High Pass

This time I was unable to locate the hidden path into the southeast basin. So we continued on the open and steep east ridge up to 7100′. From there, we then moved into the head of the drainage. Soon, I put on crampons on the steep snow. Afterward, we moved south-southwest and went onto the Berge-Cleator saddle. Then from there, we went inside the High Pass basin.

Breathtaking views to the south were constant. There was Mount Berge on the left, with Luahna Peak and Napeequa Peak straight ahead. After losing 100′ in the basin, we contoured Mount Cleator south ridge. High Pass came into view soon afterward. Then Clark Mountain showed itself as we went toward the Pass. Our camp above the frozen Triad Lake had excellent views.

Triad Lake from camp
Triad Lake from camp

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Napeequa Peak of the Napeequa Slam

I wanted to make use of the daylight by climbing Napeequa Peak. That way, we would climb Mount Berge in cooler morning temperatures. So from camp, we headed southwest to the east ridge of Point 7529. Surprisingly, the ridgeline was snow-free. Then we went back into snow on the eastern slopes of Cirque Mountain.

With two reports in hand, we first tried out the southeast ridge route. We crossed the ridge at 7600′ onto the steep south face. But then I quickly realized that blocky boulders and downsloping slabs were unsuitable for the pup. So we went back to the east slopes and followed the second report to a notch on the northeast ridge.

Summit ridge
Summit ridge

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Napeequa Peak Summit Plus Views

As we traversed south on the exposed east face, I came across some carefully placed cairns. It was a great indication that we were still on track! The route took us below the summit. Then it slowly made its way up to the south ridge. We then went north for a short distance to reach the top.

Views into the Napeequa River Valley, together with the places we had visited, were excellent. Clark Mountain, Luahna Peak, Glacier Peak, Fortress Mountain were among the familiar high points. It has been four years since we last set foot in the area. So it was exciting to come back for another visit.

Southwest panoramic view
Southwest panoramic view

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Back to High Pass Camp

We followed our tracks back to camp in the early evening light. Then we enjoyed more mountain views, including the Napeequa Slam, at dinner time. Mosquitoes would have been super annoying without the evening breeze. The light wind had kept most of them at bay. I photographed the star trail on this moonless night.

After breakfast, we moved south into Mount Berge’s west basin. Then at the south end of the snowfield at 7000′, we climbed up a steep snow finger. We came off the snow in another 100′ and then got into a shallow moat. From there, we climbed through rocks and steep heather slopes. We were working our way up toward the 7650′ saddle. It’s just south of the main summit of Mount Berge.

Mount Berge North from the saddle
Mount Berge North from the saddle

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Mount Berge of the Napeequa Slam

There seemed to discrepancies as to which of the two summits were on the list. I also read somewhere that the north summit could be higher than the main high point. But the pup and I visited both of them just in case. So from the saddle, we traveled northeast toward the north summit. Soon, we were on the south face.

At first, we went into the wrong gully and met cliffs below the east summit ridge. Then we tested out the one to the left, and it worked. Slabs toward the top of the gully had a fair amount of exposure. But there were plenty of ledges and solid holds. So the pup was able to get to the top without issues.

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

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Two Mount Berge Summits Plus Views

Views were just as equally good as Napeequa Peak. Except that Buck Mountain was right in our face. We enjoyed an extended stay on top before heading back down. Then from the east slopes at 7800′, we climbed up on steep snow. Once we got up to the north ridge, we moved south a short distance and arrived on the main summit.

Since we spent much time on the other summit, we were only on this one for a few minutes. After taking a few photos, we then went down to the south saddle. I decided not to take the steep snow finger on the way back to the High Pass Basin. So at the bottom of the heather slopes, we went south into a steep gully. We tried bypassing the buttress this way, and it worked.

Back to the other side
Back to the other side

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Exiting

We went around the buttress at 6800′. Then we went down onto the snowfield and joined with our tracks. The afternoon heat had melted the snow in the basin significantly. So we stayed farther west on the snowfield to avoid breaking through the ice.

We weren’t going to spend another day in the area. So we took a long break back at camp before leaving. The pup took a power nap while I took photos. Back on the Berge-Cleator saddle, we went straight down into the basin. Then from there, I found the path I couldn’t locate the day before. It looked even more inconspicuous than the time before.

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