Mount Fury (West Fury) in Northern Picket Range via East Fury / 狂暴山

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Mount Fury (West Fury) in Northern Picket Range ranks #2 highest after Luna Peak. It’s also one of the most remote places inside the national park. But even the most direct way via Luna Col can be an all-day endeavor.

Mount Fury from Luna Col
Mount Fury from Luna Col

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Mount Fury at a Glance

Access: Ross Dam Trailhead
Round Trip: 41 miles
Elevation Range: 1640′-8280′
Gear: helmet, crampons, ice ax, rope
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no pets

July 31 – August 2, 2020

Day 1 – Friday, July 31
Water taxi – Ross Dam to Big Beaver Campground
Big Beaver Trail to Luna Col

Night 1 – Luna Col

Day 2 – Saturday, August 1
Mount Fury (East Peak) + Mount Fury (West Fury)
Night 2 – Luna Col

Day 3 – Sunday, August 2
Luna Col to Big Beaver Trail
Water taxi – Big Beaver Campground to Ross Dam


Day 1

Water Taxi + Big Beaver Trail + Access Basin

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Mount Fury

I had planned on climbing Mount Fury alone. Then Chandler texted me on my drive to pick up a permit in Marblemount. He wanted to know if I had anything else to climb in the Pickets. It was shocking to hear since he never wanted to backpack.

After getting a permit for the weekend, I drove out to Concrete for cell reception. Then I called Chandler to firm up last-minute plans. It would be his first actual backpacking slash climbing outing. How exciting!

Will hustle for a joyride
Will hustle for a joyride

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Water Taxi to Big Beaver Campground

I met up with Chandler at the Ross Dam Trailhead in the morning. Then we hiked one mile down to the dock. The earliest ride I could reserve was 9:30 AM. But we didn’t see anyone else when 8 AM came around, so we called up the resort.

Lucky for us, the driver had an early dropoff and took us on a short but scenic ride to Big Beaver Campground. Then our early arrival gave us an extra hour of daylight. So we would possibly make it up to Luna Col before sundown.

See you on day three
See you on day three

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Big Beaver Trail

We made several water breaks over lots of chattering. Along the way, we met a group of three climbers from Luna Col and another hiker by a stream. There were also many baby frogs en route. Before long, we reached Luna Camp at mile 10.

We continued for another mile past the camp. Then we picked a random spot, left the trail, and plunged right into the brush. At the same time, we worked our way toward Big Beaver Creek.

Luna Camp
Luna Camp

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Big Beaver Creek

Like the time before, Devils Club inundated much of the shoreline. So it was hard to see out to the water. But even with the GPS marking from my old trip, we could not locate the log jam. So we went further down the shore.

As luck would have it, there was another log jam 500′ downstream. The skinny down trees didn’t look familiar. But glad we could cross after all! Though, I kept wondering what had happened to the old crossing.

Big Beaver Creek in the AM
Big Beaver Creek in the AM

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Access Creek Trail

Shortly, we made our way back up north toward Access Creek. Then right around the creek bend was a much larger log jam. So that would be the one to take on the exit. Later we crossed Access Creek to the north side and scrambled.

Glad Chandler spotted the orange flagging that led us up to the climbers’ trail. Otherwise, we would’ve spent even more time on the lower ridge; the pup and I did just that before. Later we lost the steep trail at 3400′ just as the terrain became moderate.

Luna Peak at last
Luna Peak at last

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Access Creek Basin

We scrambled through the semi-open forest for a while. Then Chandler spotted another piece of flagging that got us back on the faint trail. From there, we were within earshot of the Access Creek. The path later took us through dense slide alder by the water.

The trail forked at the 3850′ water crossing. But instead of making a left, we continued on the path for another 100′ before turning around. Then we took the left fork and found the way to the south side of the creek. Soon, the looming Luna Peak above the basin came into view.

South gully
South gully

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Luna Peak Southeast Shoulder

Later we boulder hopped our way up the basin. Here, cairns strewed the rock field. But the various paths always stayed close to the creek. We also went through a small forest en route. Then we followed a faint path before moving south onto the snow-free gully.

The lower gully extended up through trees and short shrubs with mainly rock ledges. As it steepened higher up, big rocks gave way to scree, with snow paving the top of the ravine. But we managed to skirt around it and went up to the crest at 6400′.

Southern Pickets at last
Southern Pickets at last

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Mount Fury via Luna Col

From there, we got our first look at the Southern Picket Range. It was exciting to watch Chandler’s reaction seeing it up close for the first time. We stayed 6400′ and soon rounded the corner to the south. There was another impressive side of Luna Peak.

Soon, we spent the next mile going sideways while slipping on the grass. We bypassed most snow below the pass, but the rocks quickly became challenging to scramble. So we put on crampons and went straight uphill on snow and slabs to reach the 7200′ col.

Nearing sunset
Nearing sunset

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Night One on Luna Col

We reached the pass earlier than expected and had plenty of time to scout out decent bivvy spots and relax. A tiny pool of snowmelt on the saddle provided enough water for the evening. Vibrant colors soon filled the western sky as the day ended.

Day two would be a long day. So I was glad to have made it up to the saddle on day one. So far, Chandler has done great with the long approach. Since I brought a bivvy sack, I let him have my mosquito net. The army of bloodthirsty mosquitoes continued to attack us through the night.

Mount Fury's dreams
Mount Fury’s dreams

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Day 2

Mount Fury (East Peak) + Mount Fury (West Fury)

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Point 7360

Another bluebird day had us leave camp bright and early at 6 AM with breakfast on the go. But soon as we dropped onto the snow by Point 7360, we knew we were off route. So we double-checked the map and realized the red ledge was up around the high point.

Back at the col, we went up through boulders and reached the access ramp shortly. Then we went around the west of Point 7360 down to the meadow, where we started seeing cairns. Soon, we went up to another high point above a steep scree gully.

Red Ledge around Point 7320
Red Ledge around Point 7320

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The Crux Tower

I saw the snowfield below the scree gully earlier during the break, which we bypassed by hugging the buttresses. Then we soloed up the steep tower with some low-fifth moves. I always enjoyed moving through the sloping granite rocks.

At the top of the tower, the way to East Fury Glacier quickly became apparent. I also noted the snow ramp at 6600′, giving us access to the glacier. Afterward, we followed the ridgeline and continued down the south side.

The choir of Mount Fury
The choir of Mount Fury

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The Broad Basin by Mount Fury

We went through several outcrops before reaching the 7000′ saddle. Then we dropped onto heather and bypassed the snowfield in the broad basin from below. There we filled up our bottles with snowmelt. But the closer we were to the 6600′ snow ramp, the steeper the terrain.

It took acrobatic moves to go through the steep slopes. Soon, we took the snow ramp and rounded the buttress. Halfway up the snowfield, a lone mountain goat watched us from a distance as we went up to the glacier.

Going around the buttress
Going around the buttress

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East Mount Fury Glacier

The moderate terrain went from 7400′ to 7800′. Then we bypassed a couple of crevasses over snow bridges. But for me, the most unpleasant part was the steep ice above the gaps. We stayed close to the wall of Point 8280 as Chandler dashed up. But it took me longer to reach the saddle.

From the pass, Chandler proceeded to go up to Point 8280, thinking it was East Fury. But I quickly pointed at the arête on the other side and said, “Um, it’s that one.”. So he backtracked, walked across the saddle, and smoothly moved up the steep snow ridge.

Upper glacier
Upper glacier

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East Mount Fury

The snow arête took us right up to the summit ridge. Then we went through some boulders to reach the top. Ok. So this peak was by far the best spot to view the Southern Pickets! We dropped our overnight gear and read through the summit register entries before continuing.

Mount Fury (West Fury) looked pretty gnarly from this angle. And I had a hard time identifying the individual towers mentioned in other reports. But our first task was to drop down the west and proceed with the traverse below the jagged ridge.

East Mount Fury
East Mount Fury

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The Three Towers of Mount Fury

Later we went down onto the first saddle past the first group of outcrops. Then we realized that the headwall on the other side of the col was, in fact, the first tower. So to bypass it, we dropped 100′ on the snow. Then we left the snowfield by the class 4 rock ramp.

We rounded the tower there. At the same time, we worked our way up through heather and slabs. Soon, we reached the notch between the first and second towers. There we located the south-bending, class 4 scree ramp. Then we went around the north of tower two.

Going around tower three pf Mount Fury
Going around tower three of Mount Fury

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Mount Fury Summit Ridge

The narrow ledge on the backside of tower two got us down to another steep scree ramp. We saw a rappel station en route. But we decided to get ourselves down to the notch via the exposed slabs. Soon, we were looking up at tower three from the col. Then we bypassed it from the north side with a few low fifth-class moves.

In turn, the route brought us onto the crest. But we still had to go around a couple more pinnacles before seeing the actual summit. So from the gap above the last snow ramp, we moved over to the north side. Then we scrambled on more horrible, loose rocks up to the higher notch.

The final stretch
The final stretch

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Mont Fury (West Fury) Summit

We stepped sideways from the notch through more downward slabs to reach the actual summit. Whew! It took us 2.5 hours to come here from East Mount Fury, and it was exhausting. But hello, the views! It was by far was one of the most remote places I’ve been to in the Cascades.

It was worth every bit of sweat and cursing. Overall, East Mount Fury had the most magnificent view of the Southern Pickets. But here, we had a closeup look at the rest of the Northern Pickets. They included Mount Challenger, Crooked Thumb Peak, and Phantom Peak.

Southern panoramic view on Moury Fury (West Fury)
Southern panoramic view on Moury Fury (West Fury)

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Leaving Mount Fury

We didn’t spend as much time on top as I had wanted. But we still had to make the long way back to Luna Col through East Mount Fury. I stayed behind for another 10 minutes to take more photos. Later, I caught up to Chandler by tower two.

From there, we reversed our route. But instead of going around tower one, we climbed up to the top this time. Then we found the mentioned rappel station on the eastside. It looked sketchier to me than it did for Chandler. But if others had gone down this way, it must have been ok, I guess?

Western panoramic view on Moury Fury (West Fury)
Western panoramic view on Moury Fury (West Fury)

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East Mount Fury and Out

It took one 60m rappel, just barely reaching the top of the steep snow. Then we alternated between rocks and snowfields. But putting on crampons and taking them off became old very fast. Chandler went up using our track. But I took the lower way so that I could bypass most snow.

We didn’t linger long back on East Mount Fury. So we went down the snow arête right after fetching our overnight gear from the summit. Now came the excruciating part of the exit–steep ice! My left heel has bothered me all day. So that, plus my lack of passion for snow, it took forever to get through this section.

East Mount Fury
East Mount Fury

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Back to Luna Col

I wanted to go back to Luna Col, even if it was about to go dark. Though, I wasn’t sure how Chandler would feel about making that push. But when he said he wanted to go back to camp if we could, I was all for the idea! After meeting back up in the broad basin, we proceeded to head out at dusk.

We ended up downclimbing the crux tower in the dark. But it didn’t pose any issues. Though, going back up the first steep scree gully was exhausting. Glad it was only 150′ to go up to the ridge bump. Later we stumbled our way back to camp. To our surprise, there were three new tents on the saddle.

At day's end
At day’s end

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Day 3

Access Basin + Big Beaver Trail + Water Taxi

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

Back to Access Creek Basin

People in the other tents got up pretty early, and they left the col after some loud talking. Chandler and I packed up later and started moving at 6:30 AM. I didn’t want to deal with any snow today, so we managed to find ways around all of it.

Before long, we were on the southeast shoulder, looking down from the top of the gully. Morning fog in the valleys below created a mystic landscape. Alas, a final look at the Southern Pickets, and we made our way down to the basin.

Leaving Access Basin
Leaving Access Basin

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Back to Big Beaver Trail

We found parts of the trail we had missed on day one. But we lost the path again just before crossing Access Creek to the south side. Then we scrambled some more to reach the massive log jam.

This time, we crossed the creek with much less effort. Then on the other side, we fought through more Devil’s Club and reached the trail. Chandler was way excited about going back on a maintained path.

Finding my way home
Finding my way home

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Back to Ross Lake and Out

The pain in my left heel persisted. Plus, the approach shoes exacerbated the discomfort even more. So the 11 miles out to the dock took much longer. But I asked Chandler to go ahead of me. That way, I could take my sweet time and rest if needed.

In the end, I was 10 minutes late for the water taxi pickup. But ironically, the boat was also late to get us. After a short break by the serene lake, we went on our merry way back to the dam. Then there was the one-mile hike up to Highway 20. Ugh!

Leaving Big Beaver Campground
Leaving Big Beaver Campground

See more trip photos here.

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Laurel G.

    Looks like a great climb John! I had my first look at the Pickets over Labor Day through Luna. Fury is very beautiful and from what I could see getting through the rock to the glacier then up that steep part looks very hard. I was surprised how long you go before ever seeing Luna and then the South Pickets range. For us, that wasn’t till the second day! We camped down near Access Creek. The boat was definitely a highlight but even more the swim in the lake while waiting for the pickup soothed my tired, hot body!

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