Forum Index > Trip Reports > Apex, Cathedral & Amphitheater Mts (Paysaten Wilderness)
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Bob C
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PostFri Jul 25, 2008 8:10 pm 
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Dave and I left the West side (Dave’s in Seattle, I’m up in Stanwood) at 7:00 AM on Sunday the 21st and were hiking Cathedral Driveway Trail (510A—Chewuch Trailhead) by 1:45 PM.
Starting out
Starting out

We picked up the Chewuch Trail in 2.2 miles and in about 5 miles crossed the creek to pick up Tungsten Trail in about ¼ mile.  We camped at the last available water on Tungsten Trail before the junction with Boundary Trail.

On Monday we hiked up to the Boundary Trail junction and explored Tungsten Mine, the cookhouse/bunkhouse, and an associated cabin (still used by hikers and horse packers as sleeping quarters).  Miners began extracting tungsten ore in the early 20th century.  The mine was in operation intermittently into the 1950s.
Tungsten Mine
Tungsten Mine
Tungsten Mine Bunkhouse
Tungsten Mine Bunkhouse

We moved on to Apex pass where we dumped most of our gear and hiked up Apex Mt.
Apex Mt
Apex Mt
Flora
Flora

Near the top we picked up a faint horse trail (!) and followed that to just below the summit.  An easy walk brought us to the summit with expansive views and perfect weather.
Heading for Apex Summit
Heading for Apex Summit

We signed the register and saw no other entries for 2008.  Apex is more like a plateau, but it had great views of our two other objectives—Cathedral and Amphitheater.  We hiked down, picked up our gear and moved on to Cathedral Pass and Cathedral Basin.  We had camp set up by about 3:00 PM.
Cathedral Peak
Cathedral Peak
Cathedral Basin
Cathedral Basin

That afternoon we met a group of five young folks from Pullman.  They were taking a rest day.  Three of the group had explored the approach to Cathedral Peak.  Our thanks to Rick (or perhaps Rich, or maybe neither).  My memory for names—among other things—is pretty crappy.  In any case thanks Rick for the great info on getting around and across Cathedral’s infamous Chasm (twice).  That evening we were visited by a group of four goats and one aggressive Billy.  Fun to see though.
Goat in Camp
Goat in Camp

On Tuesday morning Cathedral was blanketed with fog.  We didn’t get a start until about 9:45 AM.  The approach is straightforward, well worn and steep.  Last nights’ Billy was leading our way.  Just before the summit we reached the Chasm.
Cathedral Chasm--1st Crossing
Cathedral Chasm--1st Crossing

Thanks to the aforementioned info, we scrambled to its base (a drop of perhaps 15’) and up to the ledge on the far side using a sling (thanks to Dave) as an improvised foothold to gain the ledge.  Here we roped up for the final ascent (Ok, ok there’s only one class four move left but Dave is 63 and I’m 66.  We have a heightened sense of our own mortality by now).  The second crossing of the Chasm (now about 100’ deep) is over a chock stone—slanted about 30 degrees into the Chasm, around a rock outcrop, onto a step and up a crack to gain the easy summit block.  Around the rock outcrop and ascending the crack is an airy view of Cathedral’s base, perhaps 1000’ down.
Up to Cathedral Summit Block
Up to Cathedral Summit Block

By the way we found “bomb proof” belays on both sides of the second Chasm crossing.  We signed the register (again, no other entries for 2008), enjoyed tremendous views and headed down.
View of Amphitheater from cathedral
View of Amphitheater from cathedral
Cathedral Summit--Dave
Cathedral Summit--Dave
Cathedral Summit--Bob
Cathedral Summit--Bob

Back at camp we had a quick lunch, packed up and headed over to Amphitheater Basin.
Camp at Amphitheater Basin
Camp at Amphitheater Basin

We were set up there by 4:00 PM and decided to get in Amphitheater that afternoon.  We followed the horse trail (again!) to the saddle, turned right and hiked to the summit—an easy walk up.
Amphitheater Summit
Amphitheater Summit

We were back to camp by 6:00 PM.  We were in the midst of dinner when the rains hit, and hard!  We scrambled to our tents (brought along as mosquito protection), dinners in hand and hunkered down.  On Wednesday we woke to more low clouds and fog.  Since we had completed our objective (the “Cathedral Slam”) we had planned to hike out to a nice campsite on the Chewuch trail, get an early start on Thursday and be back to the West side by early evening.
Walking out--before the rain
Walking out--before the rain

Instead, about two hours into what was turning out to be a leisurely hike, we were greeted by lightening, thunder, hail and a torrential downpour.  Being optimists we had minimal raingear, so we decided to hike the entire 18 miles to the car and drive back that night.  We ate in Twisp and made it back to my house by about 11:30 PM.  Dave, unfortunately, had another hour’s drive to Seattle.

All in all it was a great trip.  The Paysaten Wilderness is one of our great joys and one of the reasons we love the PNW.
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wamtngal
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PostFri Jul 25, 2008 8:33 pm 
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Great report. The funniest thing I remember from our trip there last year was coming around the corner of Amphitheater Basin and scrambling up the side of the nearest highpoint, gaining the top...and finding horse hoof prints! We took a much harder route up, only to find that there's a highway up to the saddle made courtesy of the horses. We all had a good laugh.  biggrin.gif

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bobbi
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PostFri Jul 25, 2008 8:48 pm 
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fantastic TR and photos!  great job, guys.

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bobbi ૐ

"Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!" - Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
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jenjen
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PostFri Jul 25, 2008 8:50 pm 
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I have to get to this area!

My last attempt, several years ago, ended near Tungsten Mine when my knee gave out.  I really, really need to get back there.

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If life gives you melons - you might be dyslexic
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Quark
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PostFri Jul 25, 2008 9:13 pm 
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I've never been there, but this is the best photos I've seen!  Love the one of the Chewuch trail;  I hiked that trail a week before the Thirtymile fire started;  the Chewuch Falls were so beautiful (I'm sure they still are, but different).

Love the last photo with the moisture in the air; and Amphrhtiitftheatre from Cathedral - your photo really shows why it's named that (I don't want to try to spell it again).

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Gil
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PostFri Jul 25, 2008 9:21 pm 
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Cool trip!  up.gif

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Friends help the miles go easier.
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Randy
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PostFri Jul 25, 2008 9:31 pm 
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Awesome, thanks! Hope to get in there this year.
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Layback
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PostFri Jul 25, 2008 10:15 pm 
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Thanks for sharing.  Looks like an interesting place worth visiting!   up.gif
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Perry
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PostSat Jul 26, 2008 9:58 am 
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Thanks for the TR. Great pictures.

It’s on the short list for this year.  How much of the Chewuch trail is burned?  Is it starting to green up yet?
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Bob C
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PostSat Jul 26, 2008 12:07 pm 
Apex, etc
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Perry,

Only the first part of Cathedral Driveway Trail is burned (this is the 2.2 mile trail that connects to the Chewuch).  The rest of the 18 miles to Cathedral Basin is nice and green.
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Bob C
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PostSat Jul 26, 2008 12:10 pm 
Apex, etc.
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Putz-in-boots,

Hey, thanks for the pix--especially the crux move.  Glad to see we weren't the only ones who roped up!
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schrader23
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PostMon Jul 28, 2008 12:38 pm 
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Thanks for the trip report. I'm heading up to do the "Eastern Pasayten Loop" as described in Lorain's book "Backpacking Washington" next week. I'm hoping to do some scrambling along the way. You have definitely given me some inspiration.

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Next thing you know....You're in the ditch!
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chokmah33
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PostMon Jul 28, 2008 4:17 pm 
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I Did a loop almost Identical to the one described in the book, starting at 30 Mile, but I missed the Fire creek trail and did remmel as a day hike from the Chewach.  Bugs were bad, I was there Jul 12-16.  Lots of Easy peaks to bag.
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Mark Griffith
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PostMon Jul 28, 2008 5:23 pm 
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Awesome! Well done!  I really hope I am in shape to keep going like you guys into the years were I have a heightened sense of mortality. wink.gif
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silence
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PostMon Jul 28, 2008 11:52 pm 
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beautiful .. we just heard about this area for the 1st time a week ago while we were in the pasayten .. i'm lovin that country -- thanks guys for the great tr and pix .. you cinched it for us

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

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