Wy’East Mountain by Devore Peak + Holden Village + Tenmile Pass / 懷東山

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Wy’East Mountain by Devore Peak towers above Fourth of July Basin and Lake Marie. Meanwhile, it shares a long ridgeline down from Tupshin Peak and WyNorth. Plus, it’s the seventh tallest peak on the Bonanza Massif.

Wy'East Mountain's summit awaits
Wy’East Mountain’s summit awaits

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Wy’East Mountain at a Glance

Access: Tenmile Falls Trailhead
Round Trip: 16.9 miles
Elevation Range: 3240′-8280′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, microspikes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

The Preface

Wy’East Mountain was last Labor Day weekend’s plan. But we left it out because of time constraints. Then back in late July, Devore Creek Fire broke out suddenly. Then the lightning-induced disaster resulted in the area shutdown.

The Forest Service had reopened the area in mid-September, right before the early snow came. There hasn’t been any snowfall since then. So with the great weekend’s forecast, I decided to check out the area before the next snowfall.

Lady of the Lake II arriving in Fields Point
Lady of the Lake II arriving in Fields Point

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Lady of the Lake Ferry

We needed to make the trip this weekend. Otherwise, the off-season started the week after, and the smaller Lady Express boat doesn’t allow pets–boohoo. Also, to catch the bus out of the area on day two, we needed an alpine start.

Sailing on Lake Chelan
Sailing on Lake Chelan

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Sailing Through Lake Chelan

I’ve enjoyed the scenic but otherwise non-eventful ride on Lake Chelan over the years. It’s been one of the rare occasions to disconnect from civilization. It’s also my way of leaving the everyday chaos behind when I step onto the boat.

On the other hand, the pup has never found it thrilling to stay in the crate for the entire ride. While on the boat, we met a lady with her cute five-year-old pit bull. They were on their way to backpacking along Prince Creek.

Arriving in Port of Lucerne
Arriving in Port of Lucerne

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Port of Lucerne

The rest of the ferry riders continued up to Stehekin. But only the four of us, including the pup plus another couple, were heading into Holden Village. So from the Port of Lucerne, we got on the smaller vehicle.

This particular vehicle reminded me of the red armored trucks I’d seen in the city. The driver, Daniel, gave a brief history of the area. Then we began the 10-mile scenic and bumpy ride up to the small community.

The bus ride to Holden Village
The bus ride to Holden Village

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Stopover at Holden Village

Like our last Labor Day trip, we began walking from the village’s main house. Mr. Cody’s presence had attracted kids playing nearby. So each of them took turns petting him. The pup enjoyed every minute of it.

Afterward, we found the Monkey Bear/Tenmile Falls Trailhead on the east end of the community. Soon, we reached the waterfall. But we continued on the Tenmile Pass Trail without checking it out.

Getting some love from the kids in Holden Village
Getting some love from the kids in Holden Village

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Hiking to Tenmile Pass

We reached Devore Trail fork a short time later and continued through to the switchbacks. Before long, we were looking down from the 5800′ overlook. It has excellent views of the old burn and across the valley.

I could see Copper Peak and Buckskin Mountain in the clouds. But we weren’t high enough to see Mount Fernow from this angle. After savoring the views, we proceeded to walk across the meadow drenched in the snowmelt.

En route to Tenmile Pass
En route to Tenmile Pass

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Wy’East Mountain View from Tenmile Pass

Microspikes gave enough traction in the few inches of recent snow. But for whatever reason, this time, hiking up to the pass felt much quicker. Before long, we were overlooking Devore Creek Valley to the north.

It was surprising not to see much snow in the Fourth of July Basin. At first glance, there wasn’t was on Wy’East Mountain either. Somehow I expected to see more in this area, but I was glad that it wasn’t the case!

Wy'East Mountain from Tenmile Pass
Wy’East Mountain from Tenmile Pass

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A Relaxing Evening

Looking at the clock, I knew we didn’t have enough time to climb today. Not unless we wanted to come back to the pass before dark. But that would’ve been the best-case scenario if it had worked out.

Realistically, we needed to stick to the initial plan and start walking super early. So we went to bed shortly after dark, but the pup was on edge all night. There was something out there.

Evening view of Copper Peak
Evening view of Copper Peak

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Wy’East Mountain Alpine Start

Neither of us had much sleep when the alarm sounded at 3 AM. It was colder than I would’ve liked. But we managed to be ready and start walking by 4 AM.

This same routine brought memories of our trip to McGregor Mountain in June. So hard to believe it’s been four months since that memorable outing. Then with the headlamp, we walked the trail down the north side of the pass.

Wy'East Mountain Alpine Start
Wy’East Mountain Alpine Start

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Fourth of July Basin

Somehow, I couldn’t find the hikers’ trail off Devore Creek mentioned in a report I read. But we ended up crossing the stream at 5400′. The pup and I then left the trail and went up into the forest.

There were many down trees in the lower forest. But they soon dwindled as we made our way up into the clearing. Then at 6200′, we had the first glimpse of Wy’East Mountain under the bright Milky Way.

Wy'East Mountain under the Milky Way
Wy’East Mountain under the Milky Way

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Wy’East Mountain Climb

With some route-finding, we made it above the tree line and then up to the top of the basin. Though, we rose too high too soon. So we ended up crossing the bottom of several buttresses over loose rocks. The new snow and black ice also slowed us down a bit.

One of the reports suggested taking the narrow gully west of the summit. After comparing the three write-ups, including one from Cascade Alpine Guide, it looked the most direct. Plus, it would reduce the ridge traverse the pup needed to do.

Fourth of July Basin from Wy'East Mountain south gully
Fourth of July Basin from Wy’East Mountain south gully

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Summit Ridge Traverse

As we took the adjacent gully to the false peak from the 8120′ notch, the sun rose. Reports have mentioned the downward slab below the top, and it looked even sketchier in the snow. So the pup stayed put while I went up alone.

I carefully moved down to the notch between the two summits with the ice ax. Then I was on full alert going over the slanted slab above the steep drop-off by hugging the rocks. I wasn’t sure if it would’ve been less challenging even without snow.

McGregor Mountain and Black Peak
McGregor Mountain and Black Peak

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Wy’East Mountain Summit

The summit wasn’t too cold without the breeze, and it even grew warmer as the sun rose higher. Many familiar peaks were now under a white coat as I looked around. Plus, Wy’North’s south face looked pretty dramatic.

I shortened my visit to meet up with the pup soon. After reuniting at the false peak, we downclimbed the icy gully to the 8120′ notch. Then we went back into the shade down the steep south slopes. We didn’t see the sun again until the lower basin.

Fourth of July Basin panoramic view below Wy'East Mountain
Fourth of July Basin panoramic view below Wy’East Mountain

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Back to Tenmile Pass and Holden Village

We made it back to Tenmile Pass an hour later than planned. So I packed up fast and then speed-walked. We still had to catch the bus back to Lucerne for the 2:30 PM ferry. En route, we met four others hikers as all of us took a spur trail by mistake.

We half-ran down the trail through Tenmile Falls and back at the village 15 minutes before the bus left. Whew! As we settled down on the lawn, all eyes were on Mr. Cody right away. The pup was in heaven as everyone took turns petting him.

Catching the bus back in Holden Village
Catching the bus back in Holden Village

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Ferry Ride Back to Fields Point Landing

The ferry from Stehekin arrived late. Then back on the boat, we met the same lady with her Pitbull. Plus, a guy she’d met during her trip. So we all talked for a while. Later, another woman came to say hello to Mr. Cody, half-asleep in the crate.

A few minutes into our conversation, she asked me if were so and so. As it turned out, she works for WTA. And in the past, we’ve had many email exchanges. She said Mr. Cody and my GPS device gave her the clues. Small world!

Before long, we were back at Fields Point Landing. Then it was only another three hours until we reached home!

Lady of the Lake II at last
Lady of the Lake II at last

See more trip photos here.

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