Wy’East Mountain by Devore Peak via Holden Village / 懷東山

  • Reading time:8 mins read

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

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

We came back to the Cascades after last week’s trip to the Olympic Peninsula. Wy’East Mountain was on the previous Labor Day weekend’s itinerary. But we left it out because of time constraints.

Then back in late July this year, Devore Creek Fire broke out suddenly. Then the lightning-induced disaster resulted in the area shutdown. That, in turn, kept us from reaching the mountain.

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The Plan for Wy’East Mountain

The Forest Service had reopened the area in mid-September. But then the early snow came during the final week of that month. So I put the plan on hold once again.

I wasn’t sure of the amount of new snow. But the weekend’s forecast looked promising. So I decided to check out the area for myself before the next snowfall.

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Lady of the Lake Ferry

Another reason for wanting to make the trip this week had to do with the ferry schedule. The off-season ferry times were to begin the following week. Only the smaller Lady Express will operate then.

But the smaller boat doesn’t allow pets on–boohoo. To top it off, we were at the mercy of a ride to Holden Village as well. So to catch the bus out of the area on day two, an alpine start was a must.

Promising weather ahead
Promising weather ahead

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Sailing Through Lake Chelan

Through the years, I continued to enjoy the scenic but otherwise non-eventful ride on Lake Chelan. Mainly because it’s the best way to disconnect from everyday life the moment I step onto the boat.

The pup, on the other hand, never found it thrilling to stay in the crate for the whole ride. En route, we met a lady with her five-year-old pit bull. They were on their way to Prince Creek.

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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.

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

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Hiking to Tenmile Pass

We reached Devore Trail junction a short time later. Then we continued through the lower switchbacks. Before long, we were looking south from the 5800′ overlook with excellent views through the old burn.

There I saw Copper Peak and Buckskin Mountain amid the low clouds. But Mount Fernow wasn’t visible from this angle. Shortly, we meandered through the meadow soaked from 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 that the Fourth of July Basin didn’t have much snow. Plus, at first glance, it didn’t look like much of it was on Wy’East Mountain either. Somehow I expected to see more, especially in this area.

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A Relaxing Evening

Soon, I knew that we didn’t have enough time to climb the mountain today. Not unless we wanted to be back to the pass before dark. But that would’ve been the best-case scenario.

The realistic plan would be 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 throughout the night. There was something out there.

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

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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 back in June. Hard to believe it’s been four months since then. With the headlamp, we walked the trail down the north side of the pass.

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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 lower down. But they dwindled as we slowly made our way up into the clearing. Later at 6200′, we had the first glimpse of Wy’East Mountain under the 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.

Of the reports I had, one suggested taking the narrow gully west of the summit. After comparing the three write-ups, including one from Cascade Alpine Guide, it did look the most direct. It would also reduce the amount of 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

The sun rose as we reached the 8120′ notch. Later we took the adjacent small gully up to the false peak. All reports mentioned the downsloping slab below the summit. But it looked even sketchier in the snow. So the pup stayed put while I went up to the top.

Going down to the notch between the two summits took careful maneuvering with the ice ax. Then I used extra care over the downsloping slab by hugging the rocks above the steep drop-off. Even without snow, I wasn’t sure if it would’ve been less challenging.

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. It even grew warmer as the sun rose higher on the horizon. As I looked around, many familiar peaks were now under a white coat. So some were unrecognizable at first. Wy’North’s south side looked pretty dramatic.

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

Fourth of July Basin panoramic view
Fourth of July Basin panoramic view

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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.

Later we half ran down the main path through Tenmile Falls. Then we were back at the village 15 minutes before the bus departed. Whew! As we settled down on the lawn, right away, all eyes were on Mr. Cody. 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!l.

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

See more trip photos here.

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