Repulse Peak by Fisher Peak via North Cascades Highway / 擊退峯

  • Reading time:14 mins read
English English 繁體中文 繁體中文 简体中文 简体中文

Repulse Peak by Fisher Peak perches above Grizzly Creek’s headwaters. It connects to Ragged Ridge and borders the North Cascades National Park. Of the various ways, North Cascades Highway by Swamp Creek is the most direct to the obscure summit.

Repulse Peak in full view
Repulse Peak in full view

See more trip photos here.

Repulse Peak at a Glance

Access: Swamp Creek pullout
Round Trip: 7.8 miles
Elevation Range: 3880′-7923′
Gear: helmet
Route Info: Matt Burton
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

The Preface on Repulse Peak

After Friday’s trip, the next day, I spent some time driving back to the US. I wanted to climb something up north on the way home. Then I settled on Repulse Peak, one of my two remaining goals in the national park.

Looking closely, one can spot the peak by Black Peak from the road. The stream flowing out of the east basin somehow never got a name. I find it interesting since nearly every creek along Highway 20 has one.

Peek-a-boo from the highway pullout
Peek-a-boo from the highway pullout

See more trip photos here.

North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) Approach

Repulse Peak was one of the places between Fisher Creek and Bridge Creek on my list. Like Arches Peak, I wanted to climb it for the views I’d missed on the smoky trip to Fisher Peak. It’d also give a new angle to see the area.

I parked in the pullout by Swamp Creek, where we used to climb Mount Hardy. Then I paced around the parking lot and got a peek at it through the dense trees. I soon wandered downhill to the creek in the open forest.

Granite/Repulse Creek confluence
Granite/Repulse Creek confluence

See more trip photos here.

Repulse Creek Route

For this post, I shall use “Repulse Creek” to refer to the unnamed creek. I dropped 100′ to the confluence with Granite Creek, which formed a mini gorge. Then I crossed the shallow water to the west and went southwest.

I veered west before the steep slope past 4100′ within earshot of the creek. The vegetation looked super dense from the satellite view, but it was much more open in person. In hindsight, I could’ve stayed lower to avoid the steep traverse.

This way to Repulse Peak
This way to Repulse Peak

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Repulse Peak East Basin

I only gained about 800′ in the first two miles after crossing Granite Creek. But the thin foliage in the forest had made the approach more enjoyable. I went through two small areas of alder and weaved through the branches effortlessly.

I knew there had to be a catch because it had been smooth sailing up to this point. Sure enough, after the first talus field, the tall brush followed. But I couldn’t bypass it but swam across after greeting a resting marmot.

Marmot be chillin'
Marmot be chillin’

See more trip photos here.

Waterfalls and Slabs

Before going up another rock field, I took a break by the grass to see the route. Cliff bands with a few waterfalls divided the basin into upper and lower halves. So to reach the upper drainage, I would need to find a way through the steep slabs.

Most snow in the basin had melted except for a few leftover patches. But I knew I couldn’t see the upper basin from below and brought snow gear just in case. Then I made my way up the scree field that seemed to go on forever.

Repulse Peak perching above the east basin
Repulse Peak perching above the east basin

See more trip photos here.

Next Stop, 7300′ Southeast Saddle

The large rocks in the scree had kept me from sliding constantly. Meanwhile, the midpoint of the two waterfall gullies looked like a suitable spot to bypass the cliffs. But closer up, it was steeper than I’d predicted.

A few class 4 moves through steep ramps soon put me in the upper basin. Then it was more slabs and scree over the more moderate incline. A receding snowfield stayed, but I bypassed it and didn’t need the snow gear.

Looking back at the route from the saddle
Looking back at the route from the saddle

See more trip photos here.

Repulse Peak Southeast Ridge

Beyond the snow, rock ledges and grass ramps let me move up the hill more quickly. Soon, I was on the 7300′ saddle and instantly looked west. It felt surreal to see Indecision Peak and Natal Peak from here.

After a quick break, I shed some weight by leaving the ice gear on the pass. Then it was time to tackle the final bit of the climb and into the unknown. But I couldn’t see past the cliffs from below to check out the route first.

The only way to go is up
The only way to go is up

See more trip photos here.

The Final Stretch on Repulse Peak

After dropping some altitude, I rounded the first buttress and moved up the gully. I liked Matt and his partner’s route and followed it toward the ridge. In turn, it saved me the agony of moving in and out of the ribs.

Despite places of high exposure and terrible rocks, it was an excellent route. Soon, I reached the southeast ridge at 7800′. Then it was a 500′ easy traverse to this lonely summit that barely misses the 8k elevation mark.

Summit ridge traverse
Summit ridge traverse

See more trip photos here.

Repulse Peak Summit Views

Fisher Peak was the neighboring peak I wanted to see first. I didn’t realize how close I was to Repulse Peak during the hazy weekend in 2018. But this high point was the closest I’ve seen to Black Peak‘s impressive north face!

Behind Natal Peak, I saw a sliver of Outpost Peak I visited last weekend. I didn’t know then, but Vulcan Peak (7880), right of Mount Logan, was also visible. It would be my final goal in the national park until I return later.

East panorama from Repulse Peak
West panorama from Repulse Peak

See more trip photos here.

Leaving Repulse Peak via Repulse Creek

Together, Repulse Creek and Swamp Creek formed one expansive valley. I spent 45 minutes on top, savoring the views. Soon, I retraced my steps back to the east end of the ridgetop before dropping into the gully.

I hugged the buttress going down, which let me avoid the scree entirely. Back on the pass, I picked up the snow gear and savored the last bit of the west view. Then I plunge-stepped my way down the scree and soon passed the snow.

West panorama from Repulse Peak
West panorama from Repulse Peak

See more trip photos here.

Back to North Cascades Highway (Highway 20)

Returning to the lower drainage had taken more time. My up route looked almost vertical from above, so I found a better spot. Eventually, I downclimbed using cracks and krummholz by the easternmost water gully.

From the lower basin, the exit was quick, albeit uneventful. But the thought of going through the tall brush again was cringing. Soon, I walked down the valley under the close watch of Tower Mountain and Mount Hardy.

Finding my way home
Finding my way home

See more trip photos here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Reggie

    Beautiful. Thanks for continuing to share your experiences.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: