Fisher Slam via Easy Pass / 安逸山道到費雪滿貫

Fisher Peak looming above Fisher Creek Basin
Fisher Peak looming above Fisher Creek Basin

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Holly smoke lit’rally! Highway 20 was a ghost town on my drive to the Easy Pass Trailhead. Compared with last year, this summer the wildfire smoke was much worse. Empty trailheads along the way suggested that people had abandoned their weekend’s outdoor plans altogether.

The Lowdown on Fisher Slam

Fisher Slam = Mount Arriva + Fisher Peak + Kitling Peak + Graybeard Peak
費雪滿貫=愛瑞發山+費雪峯+吉特菱峯+白鬍峯

Access: Easy Pass Trailhead
Round Trip: 25 miles
Elevation Range: 3720′-8215′
Gear: helmet

GPS Track: available

Logistics Overview

August 18-20, 2018

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Day 1 – Saturday, August 18
Approach to Silent Lakes + Mount Arriva
Night 1 – Upper Silent Lake

Day 2 – Sunday, August 19
Fisher Peak + Kitling Peak
Night 2 – Graybeard Peak west basin

Day 3 – Monday, August 20
Graybeard Peak + Exit


Day 1

Approach to Silent Lakes + Mount Arriva

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

When the sun looked like the moon
When the sun looked like the moon

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Hiking to Easy Pass

The hike to Easy Pass was eerily quiet and smoke-heavy on an otherwise sunny day. The amount of smoke on this trip was comparable to last Labor Day weekend in the Pasayten Wilderness.

In contrast to the Ragged Ridge climb, the air quality was as different as night and day. Back then there were views at every turn. But today I was lucky to see anything at all beyond half a mile radius.

Fisher Creek Valley downstream
Fisher Creek Valley downstream

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Descending into Fisher Creek Basin

Without making many stops, I quickly hiked down to the Fisher Camp Trail junction. Then I followed an unmarked trail and headed upstream in the valley. Eventually, the path dwindled at half a mile ahead. From there, I crossed Fisher Creek to the south side and began scrambling.

Following a faint trail with the occasional cairns, I was able to bypass most talus. At some point, the path crossed the creek below the waterfall to the north side. But I stayed on the south side, and it worked out just as well.

Scree ramp to Silent Lakes
Scree ramp to Silent Lakes

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En Route to Silent Lakes

I immediately spotted the reported gully in the upper basin and avoided it. Just right next to it was the access scree ramp. Above the loose rocks were cairns to help negotiate outcrops. The terrain flattened before I reached Upper Silent Lake at 6975′. But to my dismay, the only view from the lake was the silhouette of Fisher Peak.

Shortly after setting up camp and rested, another climber showed up at the lake. We greeted each other and then he continued to climb Mount Arriva. What were the odds of two climbers by an obscure lake in one day?! A short while later, I set off for Mount Arriva via the south lake shore.

Upper Silent Lake
Upper Silent Lake

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Mount Arriva

I headed southwest and maintained roughly the same elevation. Then I rounded off the south-trending ridge at 7000′ by a flat area. From there, I made a rising traverse through several gullies. Eventually, the cliffs on another south-trending ridge at 7520′ stopped me in my tracks.

But as luck would have it, I located a class 3 steep ravine and descended to 7400′. From there, I made another rising traverse below the east peak. I was able to avoid most scree by staying high. I hugged the cliff wall and reached the bottom of a rock gully. Another 100′ climb put me on the 7800′ notch.

7,800' notch above south basin
7800′ notch above south basin

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South Ridge Approach

Following the cairns, I ascended the south ridge and came to the 8080′ notch east of the summit. Then I traversed west on a loose rock ramp below cliffs and got back on the south ridge. But somehow I missed the one hidden cairn and walked around the summit block onto the west face.

A ramp went around the cliffs on the west face but no right place to move up. But minutes later I found a way to get on the west ridge after some careful route finding. In turn, the route put me farther north with the view of Arches Peak before me.

Aiming for yet another notch
Aiming for yet another notch

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Mount Arriva Summit Without Views

With good holds, I climbed the last 150′ on steep and blocky boulders and reached the summit. Then I heard noises coming from the south side of someone sliding down on scree. That’s when I realized I had missed the other climber.

Sadly, there were no views on this summit. On top of this, the amount of smoke had increased since I left the lake. As a result, I had to enhance the photos I took from the top to show anything. Otherwise, everything would look invisible to the eyes. Alas, maybe some other time for the views!

South view
South view

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Heading Back to Upper Silent Lake

Later I descended lower in the basin to bypass gullies and the two major south-trending ridges. I plunge stepped through scree followed by two small snowfields to 7000′. Then I traveled east while staying at around 6800′ to 7000′. Hello again, Silent Lake!

With lots of daylight left, I contemplated climbing Fisher as well. But heavy smoke had darkened the sky so drastically that the approach looked somewhat intimidating. So with slight trepidation, I decided to kill time by hanging out at camp while taking photos.

Back to Upper Silent Lake
Back to Upper Silent Lake

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Day 2

Fisher Peak + Kitling Peak

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

En route to Fisher Peak
En route to Fisher Peak

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Fisher Peak

Oddly enough, smoke never subsided overnight like on the other trips. I woke up during the night to the sounds of deer scouting out the camp and the smell of smoke. I poked my head outside anticipating a night sky full of stars. But Instead, the visibility limited to just a few feet. So I stashed the camera and went right back to sleep.

I left camp early in the morning under a shroud of yellowish smoke. From the reports I read, the climb on Fisher Peak was straightforward. I just needed to get through several knobs plus a 20′ high, exposed class 4 crux.

Class 4 crux
Class 4 crux

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Northwest Ridge Approach

I climbed over all of the knobs, including one that I bypassed from the south. Eventually, I was standing before the class 4 crux at 7720′. This section turned out to be better than anticipated. Good holds and somewhat exposed while I looked down at the head of Fisher Creek Basin.

Beyond the crux, I got right back to the same enjoyable class 2/3 traverse as earlier down on the ridge. After a short section of exposed ridge run, I finally reached the Fisher Peak summit marked by a short cairn.

Summit view
Summit view

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Fisher Peak Summit Without Views

Just like on Mount Arriva, there was nothing to see here either. Since I still had to pack up and hike back out to Easy Pass, I didn’t spend much time here. I reversed my route and got back to camp in less than half of the ascent time. After packing up, I took a short break and then set off for Fisher Creek.

Back in the basin, I followed a faint trail through the heather to the north side of the creek. Then it became clear to me that the lower section crossed over to the north side just below the waterfall. The trail finally dwindled past the heather slopes before I got onto a talus field.

Descending into Fisher Creek Basin
Descending into Fisher Creek Basin

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Back to Easy Pass

Afterward, I crossed the creek back to the south side below the waterfall. Then I picked up a faint trail and hiked down the valley in a blanket of smoke. By now Fisher Peak had long gone out of sight, the only high point visible was Arches Peak looming overhead.

Back at 5040′, I crossed the creek and then picked up the faint trail to Fisher Camp Trail junction. From here, I needed to regain the lost elevation by ascending 1400′ back to Easy Pass.

Arches Peak under the afternoon sun
Arches Peak under the afternoon sun

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En Route to Kitling Peak

Back on the pass, I stashed most of the gear and started scrambling north toward Ragged Ridge. On the way, I met two climbers on their way back from climbing Mesahchie Peak. At 7100′ I began the tedious and long westbound traverse on steep scree slopes toward Kitling Peak’s south basin.

I stayed close to the base of the cliffs for an easier traverse. I rounded the ridge west of Honeymoon Hump at 7300′. Then I headed north into the basin directly below Kitling Peak’s summit. I arbitrarily picked one of the several gully options at 7400′ and ascended northeast to finish the last 600′.

First sighting of Kitling Peak
First sighting of Kitling Peak

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Minimal Views on Kitling Peak Summit

Of all four summits visited on this trip, Kitling Peak was the least technical. Though not much to see on top, views felt a little better than on Arriva Peak and Fisher Peak. Only fully visible peaks were Mesahchie Peak, Cub Peak, and Honeymoon Hump. After a short stay, I descended back into the south basin and repeated the tedious traverse back to Easy Pass.

Without any water source on the pass, I retrieved my gear and headed for Graybeard Peak’s west basin. I left the trail at 6500′ and traversed southeast on steep heather and talus slopes. Maintaining the same elevation, I bypassed cliff bands before gradually gaining 200′ up into the basin just after dark.

Cub, Mesahchie, Kimtah
Cub, Mesahchie, Kimtah

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En Route to Graybeard Peak West Basin
En route to Graybeard west basin camp
En route to Graybeard west basin camp

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Day 3

Graybeard Peak + Exit

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Ready or not
Ready or not

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West Gully Approach
Class 4 crux
Class 4 crux

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Summit Views on Graybeard Peak
From Fisher to Arriva to Kitling
From Fisher to Arriva to Kitling

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Back to West Basin
Zigzagging Easy Pass Trail
Zigzagging Easy Pass Trail

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Leaving Easy Pass
One last look
One last look

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Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

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