2018/8/18-20 – Fisher Slam / 費雪滿貫

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

Photos from this trip can be found here.

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: 3,720′-8,215′
Gear: helmet

Logistics Overview
Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Day 1 – Saturday, August 18
Approach to Silent Lakes + Mount Arriva
Night 1 – Upper Silent Lake @ 7,000′

Day 2 – Sunday, August 19
Fisher Peak + Kitling Peak
Night 2 – Graybeard Peak west basin @ 6,700′

Day 3 – Monday, August 20
Graybeard Peak + Exit


Holly smoke, lit’rally!

Highway 20 felt very much like a ghost town on my drive to Easy Pass Trailhead. Wildfire smoke had gotten worse this year compared with last summer. Empty trailheads along the way suggested that most people had abandoned weekend’s outdoor plans altogether.

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

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Morning hike to Easy Pass was eerily quiet and smoke heavy on an otherwise would-be gorgeous, sunny day. The amount of smoke on this trip was greatly comparable to from last year’s Labor Day weekend trip in the Pasayten Wilderness.

Air quality was also as different night and day in comparison with the trip to Mesahchie Peak and Katsuk Peak four years ago to the day. Back then views were at every turn, but today I was lucky to see anything beyond half a mile radius.

Fisher Creek Valley downstream
Fisher Creek Valley downstream

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Without making many photo stops, I quickly hiked down to Fisher Camp Trail junction and followed an unmarked trail upstream toward head of the valley. Trail dwindled half a mile past the junction at 5,040′, where I crossed to the south side of the creek and started scrambling.

Following a faint trail occasionally marked by cairns, I was able to bypass the most talus. Later on the way back I realized the faint trail at some point crossed over to the north side of the creek below the waterfall. But I remained on the south side, which worked out just as well.

Scree ramp to Silent Lakes
Scree ramp to Silent Lakes

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Above the waterfall in the upper basin, I quickly spotted the gully mentioned in reports to avoid and I did exactly that! Just east of the gully was the steep access ramp, with some cairns and a climbers path above the scree help to negotiate cliffs. Terrain eventually flattened out just before reaching Upper Silent Lake at 6,975′. Views at the lake comprised the lake itself and the mirage of Fisher Peak.

After setting up camp and rested for a while, another climber showed up at the lake. We had a brief exchange before he continued on to climb Mount Arriva. Two climbers on an obscure peak in one day, what were the odds?! A short while after he had left I set off for Mount Arriva via the south lake shore.

Upper Silent Lake
Upper Silent Lake

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Heading southwest and maintaining roughly the same elevation, I rounded off the south-trending ridge through a flat area at 7,000′ south of Upper Silent Lake’s west end. Then I made a rising traverse westbound through several minor gullies onto another south-trending ridge at 7,520′ where I got cliffed out.

After locating a class 3 steep gully and descending to 7,400′, I made another rising traverse at the head of Grizzly Creek Basin below Mount Arriva’s East Peak. Most scree in the basin was avoidable by staying high and hugging the cliff wall to reach the bottom of a loose rock gully. A 100′ ascent in the gully with solid holds put me on the 7,800′ notch.

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

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Guided by a few cairns, I ascended the south ridge and arrived at the 8,080′ notch east of the summit block. Then I traversed west on a loose rock ramp below the summit cliffs and got back onto south ridge. I somehow missed the cairn that had been strategically placed out of sight and traversed around the summit block onto the west face.

Mostly cliffs with a nice ramp going around the west face but no good place to head up. I traversed farther north on the west and eventually found a good way to get onto the west ridge with view of Arches Peak before me.

Aiming for yet another notch
Aiming for yet another notch

Photos from this trip can be found here.

With good holds, I climbed the last 150′ on the steep, albeit blocky, west ridge to reach the summit. Before getting to the top, I heard noises coming from the south side of someone sliding on scree. So I knew the other climber and I had missed each other.

No views on this summit to write home about; amount of smoke appeared to have increased since I left camp. The few photos I took on the summit had to be enhanced to render ridge lines that were nearly invisible to my own eyes. Alas, maybe another time for views!

South view
South view

Photos from this trip can be found here.

On the way down, I traversed low to bypass minor gullies and the two major south-trending ridges. I plunge stepped through scree and two small snow fields in Grizzly Creek Basin to 7,000′. Then I travelled east and maintained an elevation between 6,800′ and 7,000′ until I could once again see Upper Silent Lake.

With plenty of daylight remaining I contemplated climbing Fisher today as well. But heavy smoke had drastically darkened the sky and made the approach a bit daunting. So with slight trepidation, I decided to stick around and kill time by chilling out camp and taking photos.

Back to Upper Silent Lake
Back to Upper Silent Lake

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Day 2 – Fisher Peak + Kitling Peak
Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

En route to Fisher Peak
En route to Fisher Peak

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Oddly enough, smoke never subsided overnight like on the other trips. I woke up in the middle of 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. Instead, my visibility was limited to just a few feet. So I stashed the camera and went right back to sleep.

In the morning I left camp early under a shroud of yellowish smoke. From what I’ve read in reports, the route to Fisher Peak seemed straightforward enough with just a few knobs to get over plus a 20′ tall, class 4 crux.

Class 4 crux
Class 4 crux

Photos from this trip can be found here.

After getting over all the knobs, one of which I negotiated from the south on easier terrain, I quickly found myself standing below the class 4 crux at 7,720′. This section turned out to be better than anticipated, with good holds but fairly exposed overlooking the head of Fisher Creek Basin.

Beyond the crux, it was right back to the same enjoyable class 2/3 traverse as earlier down on the ridge. A short exposed ridge run at the top to reach the summit marked by a short cairn.

Summit view
Summit view

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Nothing to see on this summit either. Since I still had to pack up and hike back to Easy Pass, I didn’t spend a lot of time on top. I reversed the route and got back to camp in less than half of the time. A short break after packing and I quickly set off for Fisher Creek.

Back in the basin I followed a faint trail through heather to the north side of the creek, that’s how I realized the trail crossing over to the north below the waterfall. The trail gradually dwindled once I got onto a talus field past the heather.

Descending into Fisher Creek Basin
Descending into Fisher Creek Basin

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Below the waterfall, I crossed the creek back to the south side and picked up the faint trail to hike 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.

Down at 5,040′ I crossed the creek back to the north side and picked up the faint trail back to Fisher Camp Trail junction. All the elevation lost up until this point had to be regained by ascending nearly 1,400′ on Fisher Creek Trail to Easy Pass.

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

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Back in 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 7,100′ I began the tedious and seemingly forever long traverse westbound on steep scree slopes toward Kitling Peak’s south basin.

I stayed close to the base of the cliffs for an easier traverse. West of Honeymoon Hump at 7,300′, I rounded the ridge and began heading north into the basin directly below Kitling Peak’s summit. Several gully options from 7,400′, I arbitrarily picked one and ascended northeast to finish off the last 600′ of climb.

First sighting of Kitling Peak
First sighting of Kitling Peak

Photos from this trip can be found here.

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 quickly descended back into south basin and repeated the tedious traverse back to Easy Pass.

Without a water source and no camping allowed on the pass, I retrieved my gear and headed for Graybeard Peak’s west basin. I left the trail at 6,500′ 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

Photos from this trip can be found here.

En route to Graybeard west basin camp
En route to Graybeard west basin camp

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Day 3 – Graybeard Peak
Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Ready or not
Ready or not

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Class 4 crux
Class 4 crux

Photos from this trip can be found here.

From Fisher to Arriva to Kitling
From Fisher to Arriva to Kitling

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Zigzagging Easy Pass Trail
Zigzagging Easy Pass Trail

Photos from this trip can be found here.

One last look
One last look

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

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