Tupshin Peak, Devore Peak, and Flora Mountain are three elusive high points northwest of Lake Chelan. To the north lies the unique community of Stehekin. While on the south nestles the old mining site of Holden Village.

Kodak moment on Flora Mountain
Kodak moment on Flora Mountain

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Tupshin Peak + Devore Peak + Flora Mountain at a Glance

Devore Slam = Tupshin Peak + Devore Peak + Flora Mountain
德沃雷滿貫=塔普遜峯+德沃雷峯+佛羅拉山

Access: Devore Creek Trailhead 
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 1160′-8360′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

Logistics Overview

July 31 – August 3, 2015

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

Day 1 – Friday, July 31
Seaplane – Chelan to Stehekin
Canoe – Stehekin to Weaver Point Campground
Night 1 – Bird Creek at 5500′

Day 2 – Saturday, August 1
Tupshin Peak + Devore Peak
Night 2 – Bird Creek at 5500′

Day 3 – Sunday, August 2
Flora Mountain
Night 3 – Bird Creek Camp

Day 4 – Monday, August 3
Exit via Stehekin River Trail


Day 1

Seaplane + Canoe + Devore Creek Trail

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

See more trip photos here.

The Preface

Oh, Devore Slam. I can’t remember the last time a backpacking trip felt this tiring. Our new experiences included the pup’s first time on a seaplane, plus our first time canoeing.

By chance, we entered the area one day before the wildfire closure. But I only found that out on the final day as we exited. Compare this trip with last week’s excursion, and it was like night and day!

New fires along Lake Chelan
New fires along Lake Chelan

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Seaplane Ride to Stehekin, Washington

The pup and I boarded the plane in Chelan with another couple. While in the air, we witnessed what became the most significant wildfire season in Washington State history. Halfway up Lake Chelan, smoke from the Wolverine Fire spewed out of several gorges. Soon, it spread across the blue sky and views to the south.

The couple on the plane graciously offered us their canoe. So we could shortcut to Weaver Point Campground. That saved us having to go up to Harlequin Bridge first and hike three miles hike down to Weaver Point. But the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) thru-hikers ended up detouring on Devore Creek Trail because of the recent fire.

Canoeing over to Weaver Point
Canoeing over to Weaver Point

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Bird Creek Camp Below Tupshin Peak

We didn’t see hikers on Devore Creek Trail on day one. Then there wasn’t anyone on the trail when we climbed Flora Mountain on day three either. Though, I had expected to see many PCT through-hikers during our trip.

But everything made sense as we exited on day four. The Forest Service had put up a trail closure sign after we had gone inside. So it was unnerving to know that we were alone the whole time.

Pacific Crest Trail detour
Pacific Crest Trail detour

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Devore Creek Trail by Tupshin Peak

The hike was hot and sweaty. Soon, Stehekin had disappeared into the smoke after we went up the switchbacks on the lower trail. Then from Bird Creek Camp at 4100′, we began scrambling up on brushy terrain.

Later we found a flat area at 5500′ in the lower Bird Creek Basin and camped. Somehow, all the smoke had evaporated after dark. So that left me with a beautiful starry sky perfect for night photography.

Once upon another time
Once upon another time

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Day 2

Tupshin Peak + Devore Peak

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

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Tupshin Peak Climb

We left camp shortly after sunrise and moved north. First, we scrambled on steep terrain to reach the southeast shoulder. Then at 7000′, we went into the big talus basin below Tupshin Peak’s southeast face. The pup stayed on a snow patch at 7200′ while I went climbing.

I had somehow misread the route info and went too far east. But later, I managed to work my way back over to the east ridge. Then from there, I was back on the standard route.

Tupshin Peak at last
Tupshin Peak at last

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Tupshin Peak Summit Views

Later I arrived at the roomy summit with panoramic views. It even came with a newly placed register from just days before. The Wolverine Fire smoke looked to have multiplied a hundredfold. I later found out that it went very close to Holden Village.

I wasn’t sure if the pup could hear me. But I’d continually call out to reassure him of my presence. Then I saw a tiny yellow dot moving about on the snow, and so I knew he was all right.

Wolverine Fire from Tupshin Peak
Wolverine Fire from Tupshin Peak

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Leaving Tupshin Peak

I was able to downclimb to the belay station with old, raggedy webbing. Then I backed up the anchor to be extra safe before rappelling. My 30-meter rope worked out well in getting me down onto the ledge below.

Soon, I down climbed the rest of the way on the southeast face. Then I went back and reunited with the pup by the snow. He probably wondered where I was since he could only hear my voice.

Thank you for your patience
Thank you for your patience

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Back to Bird Creek Basin

We went back down to the 7000′ shoulder first. Then we dropped 1000′ as we moved southwest on steep slopes into Bird Creek Basin. Somehow, I couldn’t locate the access gully mentioned in a couple of reports. So we stayed north of the creek instead.

From there, we got up to the outlet of the moraine lakes.

Checking out the route to Devore Peak
Checking out the route to Devore Peak

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Devore Peak Climb

We moved south on moderate ground. Then we arrived at the 7500′ notch on the east ridge. Glad we were able to stay on the crest mostly. At one point, we bypassed gendarmes from the north. But we went right back on the ridgeline afterward.

By continuing to go south, we eventually went over to the west of the south ridge. From there, we then carefully worked our way through the exposure.

Devore Peak northeast basin
Devore Peak northeast basin

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The Crux on Devore Peak

Soon, we arrived at the 4th class steps before the false peak. The pup had to stay behind because it wasn’t conducive for him to continue. Then I bypassed the false summit on the west.

Later right around the corner, I saw the Devore Peak’s high point on the other side of a steep gully. But it was an easy scramble up to the top. Again, though, I wouldn’t recommend crossing this part in the snow!

The Devore Peak crux
The Devore Peak crux

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Devore Peak Summit Views

The first thing I saw from the top was Tupshin Peak. Holy cow! It looked so pointy from here! Did I climb that thing this morning, really?! As I checked out the smoky views, the start of Goode Fire caught my attention. So that meant no Goode Mountain this season!

Not sure if the pup could hear me around the false peak. But once again, I called out several times to assure him of my presence.

Tupshin Peak from Devore Peak
Tupshin Peak from Devore Peak

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Back to Bird Creek Camp Below Tupshin Peak

I noticed that the air had become more polluted by the ash in my ears and nose. Later I reunited with the pup below the steps, and we hurried down the mountain. Again, I tried locating the gully but without luck. So we used our route to go back to the lower basin.

It darkened right before we entered the forest. Then we scrambled a short way to reach the campsite.

One final look
One final look

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Day 3

Flora Mountain

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

Flora Mountain Climb

Neither of us wanted to get up this morning. But we had a much longer day ahead. We first went back to Bird Creek Camp to drop off some gear. Then we set off for Flora Mountain. Feeling heavy-footed, we slowly hiked up to Fourth of July Basin.

Later we left the trail and scrambled toward the gully by Riddle Peaks’ north peak. A large cairn on the pass meant that we were still on track. However, smoke from the south obscured our view into the Riddle Creek drainage.

Flora Mountain awaits
Flora Mountain awaits

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Through Castle Creek Basin

From the pass, we went north and bypassed Point 7716 from the south while traversing east. We were able to stay on the rocky crest until the 7400′ notch west of Point 7734. Then we dropped onto the scree slopes and slowly made our way across to Point 7640.

From there, we bypassed the cliffs from the east and went into the meadow. On the way out, I realized we could have easily avoided the high point from the west.

Talus and smoke for days
Talus and smoke for days

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Final Stretch on Flora Mountain

We were both very thirsty. Even though I saw water down in the basin, I was too lazy to drop the elevation. A while later, the pup found a hidden snow patch with a small pool of water. So we quickly took a drink.

Later we followed a faint climbers’ path on the southwest face. The path was good for a while before it faded by the talus. But going through the final couple of hundred feet felt like a lifetime. Plus, we were so low on energy that we took one step at a time and leapfrogged.

The final stretch on Flora Mountain
The final stretch on Flora Mountain

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Flora Mountain Summit Views

The wildfires were so distracting that I never took a nap. The Wolverine Fire had grown larger since the day before from the size of the eruption-like smoke permeating the sky. A couple of small fires started north of Lucerne Mountain.

Tupshin Peak and Devore Peak looked so far from here. And I still couldn’t believe we had climbed both of them the day before. Distant mountains were now hard to see; even the nearby peaks were hazy. But we rested long enough to recoup before going down.

Summit dogs on Flora Mountain
Summit dogs on Flora Mountain

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Outro

It darkened completely when we reached the bottom of the gully in Fourth of July Basin. Then we took a power nap amid the talus. Later we finished the scramble and went back on Devore Creek Trail.

We hurried back to camp and had some snooze before the long trek out bright and early the next day. Unfortunately, it rained during the night. But luckily, the trees had kept the rainfly from becoming too wet.

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Day 4

Exit via Stehekin River Trail

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

Leaving Tupshin Peak, Devore Peak, and Flora Mountain

The alarm sounded at 3 AM, and we were walking by 3:30 AM. We needed to allow ourselves time to catch the 9:45 AM shuttle from Harlequin Bridge. Soon, we were hiking north on Stehekin River Trail from the Devore Creek Trailhead. This trail would become the most mosquito-infested we had ever seen. Those buggers were immune to deet! Most of the time, we were half running to try and get them off our faces.

By the time we came out of the jungle by the landing strip, most of the mosquitoes had vanished. Right before we got to Harlequin Bridge, a ranger in her truck stopped us in our tracks. She asked if I were the guy climbing with my dog. The couple with the canoe mentioned us to her, so she kept an eye out for us. Talk about hospitality at its best! She even offered us a ride back into town. We stopped at the Stehekin Bakery to get a bite before catching the shuttle back to the dock.

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Back to Stehekin Dock

Food had never tasted so good after an extended climbing trip. Back at the dock, I found out that the seaplanes had stopped running because of the fire. So we waited a few more hours for the ferry to show up in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the pup slept very comfortably under the community bulletin board the minute we got back. He did not move an inch until the ferry arrived. Hard to believe he was THAT exhausted!

In the crate, the pup slept through the entire duration of the ride back to Chelan. The 4-hour ride went by fast as a couple chatted with me about our trip and photography. The husband was curious about the Bulger List and asked me a bunch of questions about our journey.

We got into Chelan at 6 PM. Then we spent the next 3.5 hours driving home to Seattle.

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Becky

    Loved reading this story. My husband and I (Ed and Becky Breeze) were the ones you met on the plane and loaned you our canoe. So fun to read your adventures and see your amazing pictures and especially your trusty yellow hiking partner. What a great dog!

    1. onehikeaweek

      Hi Becky! So great to hear from you, and thank you! I can’t believe it’s been four years already; I’ll never forget about our first and only canoe trip to date! We went up to McGregor Mountain in June of this year, and I wondered if you two were around. Too bad the seaplane stopped running. I’ll be there again next summer on another climbing trip, so perhaps I can stop by and say hi then. Please tell Ed I said hello!

  2. Becky

    Please do come by! We would love to see you and your trusty hiking partner:)

    We were up on 4 different trips this summer and just got back last night full of sticky buns and good bread from the bakery:)

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