Forum Index > Trip Reports > Devils Peak, Thumb, & Lake, 5/31/08
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4022 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostFri Jun 06, 2008 1:00 am 
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Date: 5/31/08
Destination:  Devils Peak 5456 and Devils Thumb 5172 (USGS Silverton)
Party:  Matt, mtnmike, Randy, Beave.  Plus three other groups also at Devils.


Note:  Randy & Craig already posted a trip report for the Devils Peak segment of this trip, with lots of photos.  I’m posting a separate report in order to include the routes for both peaks combined.

This trip included:
  • Closed and overgrown roads – Deer Creek & Coal Creek
  • Very good snow for travel into and above a high basin – Devils Lake.
  • Traffic jam for climbers – Devils Peak
  • Interesting scrambling – Devils Thumb
  • Good summit views – all around the Mountain Loop Highway area, and especially the Three Fingers Range
  • Missed opportunity for a swim – miniature icebergs calving into Devils Lake
Bad weather forced Mike and I to cancel our Diobsud outing for the third week in a row.  But Randy & Craig were going to Devils Peak, so we joined up with them.  Devils Peak & Thumb are two of the last few peaks Mike hasn’t climbed on the Silverton quad.

Deer Creek Gate to Devils Lake

At the Deer Creek parking lot (1575 feet), there was a red truck that Mike believed belonged to inveterate peak-bagger Mitch Blanton.  While we were there, another group arrived, also heading for Devils.

We departed at 7:50am.   The gate was unlocked, but the road was unusable because of numerous downed trees.  We hiked the Deer Creek Road for a mile to the abandoned road along Coal Creek (1948 feet), then the Coal Creek road for 1.5 miles till it met the Devils Lake branch of the creek (2650 feet).  The road along Coal Creek was variably brushy, with a decent boot path on early parts, but more brush later.  Circa 2500 feet, it turned to solid snow cover, for easier travel.

Deer Creek Road Gate
Deer Creek Road Gate
Trees down on Deer Creek Road
Trees down on Deer Creek Road
Brush on Coal Creek Road
Brush on Coal Creek Road
View back to Big Four from the road
View back to Big Four from the road
Snow cover near the end of the road
Snow cover near the end of the road

We turned uphill and followed the left side of the creek up to the beginning of the Devils Lake basin circa 3700 feet.  The snow was in great condition and the previous party had already kicked steps, so it was easy travel.  At the basin, we had a good view of both our destinations in the distance ahead.

Survivor Tree along the way – the cedar limb at right is growing from the silvered trunk
Survivor Tree along the way – the cedar limb at right is growing from the silvered trunk
View of the summits from Devils Lakes basin
View of the summits from Devils Lakes basin
View with routes marked
View with routes marked

Devils Lake to Devils Peak

From the basin, we just angled up the snow to reach Devils Peak, which was the furthest point on the left-hand ridge.  With the sun out, it we were baking in the snow bowl on the way up.  The snow took us right up to the notch at the left-hand side of the summit block.

Heading up from the basin
Heading up from the basin
Nearing the summit block
Nearing the summit block

From there it’s a short class 4.5 climb up to the ledge, traverse left on the ledge, then go up through some trees and walk back right to the wide summit area.  I decided to check it out, found lots of good holds, and scrambled up to the top, 5456 feet, arriving about 12pm.  However, my efforts were worthless to the rest of the group, since I neglected to grab a rope first and trail it behind me.  Mike also scrambled up; Randy and Craig roped the climb up to the ledge.

The climbing pitch – up the jumble at left, right on the ledge, back left on the crest
The climbing pitch – up the jumble at left, right on the ledge, back left on the crest
The Ledge
The Ledge
Craig and Randy at the notch; Mitch & Steve at the base of the rappel
Craig and Randy at the notch; Mitch & Steve at the base of the rappel
Vertical Stitch – Craig starting to climb
Vertical Stitch – Craig starting to climb
Mike photographing the climbers
Mike photographing the climbers

We enjoyed wide views of the Mountain Loop peaks, especially the Three Fingers area.  I tried to ignore Liberty teasing me.

Mike near the summit, with Devils Thumb behind.
Mike near the summit, with Devils Thumb behind.
Matt & Three Fingers Peaks
Matt & Three Fingers Peaks
Summit Tea
Summit Tea
At least I climbed everything on the horizon of this shot – Three Fingers, Salish, Bullon, Buckeye, Whitehorse
At least I climbed everything on the horizon of this shot – Three Fingers, Salish, Bullon, Buckeye, Whitehorse

Summit Panoramas:

Looking Northwest: Big Bear to Whitehorse
Looking Northwest: Big Bear to Whitehorse
Looking Northwest: Liberty to Jumbo
13 labels
Looking Northwest: Liberty to Jumbo
Looking north to southeast: Whitechuck to Big Four, plus Craig's helmet
27 labels
Looking north to southeast: Whitechuck to Big Four, plus Craig's helmet
360 View from Devils Peak, panning clockwise from Helena Lake to Helena Lake
38 labels
360 View from Devils Peak, panning clockwise from Helena Lake to Helena Lake

We descended by returning to the ledge, and then rappelling to the base of the face.  The ledge turned out to be a prime social gathering place.  You could also call it a traffic jam.  On the way up, we had met Mitch and Steve getting ready to rappel down.  Later, when we descended, we had to wait while the other group from the parking lot crossed the ledge.  Then before we rappelled, we had to wait for the group of two from the parking lot to pass by.  While we were rappelling, another party of three came up the snow below.

Meeting Mitch & Steve on the ledge
Meeting Mitch & Steve on the ledge
Meeting the next group on our way down
Meeting the next group on our way down
Getting cozy on the ledge
Getting cozy on the ledge
Yet another group approaching
Yet another group approaching
Mike rappelling
Mike rappelling
Randy rappelling
Randy rappelling

Devils Peak to Devils Thumb

By the time we finished the rappels, it was 2pm so Mike and I needed to move along to get to Devils Thumb.  First we needed to run the ridge down to col between the peaks and back up to the base of the Thumb.  The snow again made for easy travel on what otherwise would have probably been impassably steep rock slabs.  We trotted down the crest, then descended on the lefthand (northwest) side to bypass a rock outcrop, came up a little bit to the 4400-foot col, and then ascended on the righthand (southeast) side of the crest to reach the wide snow gully a few hundred feet higher.  From there we ascended snow, went left of the light-colored rock outcrop, and exited via the leftmost narrow gully to the crest.  You couldn’t do this if there was much less snow.  The exit gully was close to breaking apart at a schrund.

Coming off Devils and turning toward the Thumb
Coming off Devils and turning toward the Thumb
The Route to Devils Thumb
The Route to Devils Thumb
Head toward the light-colored rock, then go left of it
Head toward the light-colored rock, then go left of it

With rock scrambling ahead, we dropped our packs.  The last couple hundred feet was 3rd-4th class rock scrambling.  It looked thin in few places, but judicious route-finding revealed just enough flakes and outcrops to keep secure along the way.  It's a pleasure to travel with someone like Mike who's thoroughly competent at handling mountaineering challenges, whether steep snow, steep rock, or route-finding.

On the summit, we enjoyed another half hour break, while banks of clouds turned darker and more threatening, but left us mostly clear.

Matt & Devils Peak
Matt & Devils Peak
Mike drying out the register
Mike drying out the register
A brief nap in the brief sunshine
A brief nap in the brief sunshine
Getting a rise out of Devils
Getting a rise out of Devils

Summit Views:

Clouds around Thee Fingers
Clouds around Thee Fingers
Clouds moving in on Big Four
Clouds moving in on Big Four
Pan looking northwest: Helena to Jumbo
Pan looking northwest: Helena to Jumbo

Devils Thumb to Mountain Loop Highway

We left the summit at 4pm and retraced our route to the wide snow gully.

Down-climbing Sequence 1
Down-climbing Sequence 1
Down-climbing Sequence 2
Down-climbing Sequence 2
Down-climbing Sequence 3
Down-climbing Sequence 3
Turn left – descend 20 feet and arrive at pack; turn right  - drop 2000 feet and arrive at Helena lake
Turn left – descend 20 feet and arrive at pack; turn right  - drop 2000 feet and arrive at Helena lake

We angled toward the head of the basin and then trotted down slopes to Devils Lake.

Log that glissaded into Devils Lake Basin
Log that glissaded into Devils Lake Basin
Mike arriving at the basin.  Our route was on the irregular big blob of snow right of the col.
Mike arriving at the basin.  Our route was on the irregular big blob of snow right of the col.

I angled around the east side of Devils Lake, so I could admire the melt patterns of the snow calving into the lake.  If we had more time and I could have found a path down to the water, it would have been an invigorating setting for a first swim for the year.

Devils Lake 1
Devils Lake 1
Devils Lake 2
Devils Lake 2
Devils Lake 3
Devils Lake 3
Devils Lake 5
Devils Lake 5
Devils Lake 8
Devils Lake 8
Devils Lake Final Reflection
Devils Lake Final Reflection

From there it was just a long jog back down the snow and down the roads to our car, arriving at 7pm.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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wildernessed
viewbagger



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 8545 | TRs
Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
viewbagger
PostFri Jun 06, 2008 6:45 am 
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up.gif Nice pics and scenery as usual !

--------------
Living in the Anthropocene
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Hulksmash
Cleaning up.



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
Posts: 7108 | TRs
Location: Arlington
Hulksmash
Cleaning up.
PostFri Jun 06, 2008 9:57 am 
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up.gif  up.gif
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paultkuhn
Member
Member


Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 103 | TRs

paultkuhn
Member
PostFri Jun 06, 2008 11:26 am 
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Nice TR Matt. I tried Devils years ago in winter. The continual spindrift made our interest wane. Good to see what it actually looks like.
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Andy Schmidt
Formerly Fuu



Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 211 | TRs
Location: 98133
Andy Schmidt
Formerly Fuu
PostFri Jun 06, 2008 3:04 pm 
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I love the Lake pics with the snow breaking up.  If you toyed with the perspective you could pass it off as glaciers breaking off Antartica.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Devils Peak, Thumb, & Lake, 5/31/08
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