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Ascent of Tupshin Peak on 2016-07-03

Climber: Sean Albert

Date:Sunday, July 3, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Tupshin Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8320 ft / 2535 m

Ascent Trip Report

Day 1 - After an early departure from Seattle on Saturday July 2nd Patty, Noel, and I caught the regularly scheduled 8:30am Chelan Airways seaplane flight from Chelen to Stehekin. Mary in Stehekin was nice enough to help us catch a ride to the airstrip/trailhead. We were on the trail at 9:30 am. We hiked along the river to the Devore Creek trail and then headed up. We made the Bird Creek camp around 1:20pm. The camp was already taken, but our plan was to get up to the 5800 ft. basin to make a high camp. We shwacked up to the 5800 ft. basin, arriving around 4:15pm. The basin is conveniently right between Tupshin and Devore so it offered us the best chance to climb both peaks in a day. We didn't find any established camping spots but found an ok spot next to a large boulder beside Bird Creek and directly across from the gully leading up towards Devore.

Day 2 - Sunday morning we left camp at 5:10am and headed for Tupshin. We climbed easy alp slopes NNE to gain the ridge around 7000 ft., then dropped down into the basin East of Tupshin's summit block. We traversed and climbed up snow across the basin to reach the first ramp below the steep climbing at 7:00am. We pulled out the rope here. Noel led the first pitch, and then we took turns leading, mostly straight up, avoiding any traversing since the straight up climbing seemed pretty moderate. We made the summit at 9:45 am signed in and headed back down. We made 5 or so raps. On our first rap we were passed by a party of three heading up, we tried extremely hard not to knock rocks on them, but the upper section of the mountain is pretty loose. They returned the favor on our lower raps. Patty took a small fast one to the hand. How often is this peak typically climbed in a year? Three or four parties in the last few days, probably a new Bulger norm. We reached the snow basin and scampered out of the rock fall zone around noon. Made our way back to the ridge overlooking our camp in the basin below Bird Lakes and had some lunch before heading down to our camp. Made it back to camp at 1:15, pumped some water, crossed the creek, and started up the first gully heading towards the Lakes. Once in the Bird Lake basin (which were still totally frozen over) we headed for the 7500 ft. saddle on the East ridge. I scrambled the 4th class step and belayed Patty and Noel up, they traversed the step around and I soon followed. We scrambled up the final gully to the summit at 4:45pm. One rap off the summit, back across the step around (which is very exposed!!) and then another short rap down the 4th class step. At this point we met back up with the party we pass on Tupshin. They had come up from the Bird Creek camp and planned to take the West Fork of the Devore back down, I think it was a pretty long day for them. We dragged our butts back to camp by 7:30pm. We thought we might move down to Bird Creek, but since we were tired, it was late, and there were two or three parties already at the small camp, we wisely decided to stay up high and get an early start the next day.

Day 3 - Monday (4th of July) we packed up camp and started moving at 5:30am, we made Bird Creek camp at 7:00am. One party was leaving so we took their spot(s), set up our camp, and ditched our heavy stuff. We left camp at 7:45am and headed up the Devore Creek trail which was suffering from a lot of blow downs. We decided after some last minute beta from Wayne B. and the departing group to take the higher approach route. We ventured off trail around 5000 ft., the bush whacking wasn't to bad, just constant. We broke out into meadows around 6200 ft., absolutely beautiful up there! We reached thinning snow and talus below the 7400 ft. saddle South of Enigma. Had our first views of Flora from the 7400 ft. saddle. Dropping down onto the East side of the saddle was a little loose and the most technical scrambling for the whole day. We dropped down into the 6400+ ft. Castle Creek basin and stunning flat meadows, then picked our way up through the forest to the 7400 ft. basin and finally the gentle SW ridge leading to the summit. We reached the summit at 2:00 pm and watched the Lady of the Lake heading back down lake towards Chelan. We took our time hiking back to camp stopping to enjoy the meadows on the way down. It looked like it was raining all day to the West (and it was), but we stayed dry all day. Bird Creek camp was empty when we returned so we had the place all to ourselves. We cooked up some food and went bed without hearing a single firework.

Day 4 - Tuesday morning we hiked down to Harlequin bridge after a quick swim in the Stehekin River. We hitched a ride (thank you Stehekin peeps!) to the bakery after walking on the road for a little while. Ate sticky buns and sandwiches, drank lots of coffee, and waited for the bus to catch the 2pm slow boat back to Chelan. 16,000 ft. elevation gain for the whole trip.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:7220 ft / 2200 m
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:7220 ft / 2200 m
    Start Trailhead:1100 ft / 335 m
Descent Statistics



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