May 3-4, 2019

Devils Peak (5456′)

——————– Trip Report Summary ——————–

Region: North-Central Cascades

Starting & Ending Point: Deer Creek Road / Coal Creek Road junction

Way Points: West Fork Coal Creek & Devils Lake Bowl (hike & snow hike)

Campsite: Devils Lake Bowl

Summit: Devils Peak (climb via Southeast Slope—South Face)

Approximate Stats: 7 miles traveled; 3700 feet gained & lost.

——————– Full Trip Report ——————–

Lisa and I got a jump-start on the weekend by doing a Friday-Saturday climb of Devils Peak in the Stillaguamish River area.  The weather forecast painted a favorable picture that didn’t really pan out well for us, but we managed to tuck in a nice alpine summit anyway.

Day 1 (AM) – Deer Creek Road to Devils Lake Bowl:

We turned off the Mountain Loop Highway just past Silverton and drove a mile up the Deer Creek Road.  At a 2000-foot junction with the abandoned Coal Creek Road #4054, we parked and started hiking up the latter.  Approximately 2 miles up the overgrown road, we crossed a very old timber bridge and then immediately came to a switchback adjacent to West Fork Coal Creek (1.2 hours + 850 feet from car).

We left the road at the switchback and slowly worked our way uphill through lightly brushy forest, following faint bootpaths and scattered flagging where visible.  Snow patches gradually became more prevalent as we gained elevation.  At 3750 feet, we reached the mouth of the elongated Devils Lake bowl, and here we made camp under some large trees (3.2 hours + 1900 feet from car).  Devils Peak could be seen up-valley to our left, ducking in and out of the low clouds.

Devils Peak From Camp

Day 1 (PM) – Summit Climb:

After a late lunch, we headed out for Devils Peak.  The snow was surprisingly mushy and unconsolidated, which made for slow progress as we ascended through scrub trees and then through open slopes above.  Low clouds continued to waft around the ridge crests.

Lisa Approaching Devils Peak

Thankfully, we could clearly see the summit block of Devils Peak ahead of us.

Lisa Booting Toward Devils Peak

A narrow snow chute ended at a high notch below the south face of the peak (2.0 hours + 1600 feet from camp).  We roped up here and climbed 30 feet of angular Class 5.0 rock.  Protection was sparse, but the rock was generally solid.

Lisa Belaying In South Notch

Our first pitch continued to the right on a down-sloping ledge, past a gnarled tree adorned with rappel slings, and ended at a large rock with two anchor bolts.  This Class 2-3 traverse is fairly exposed but well protected.

Looking Across Traverse Ledge

From the anchor bolts, a short, snow-choked, Class 3 slot led directly to the rocky summit (3.2 hours + 1700 feet from camp).

Lisa On Devils Peak Summit

Jim On Devils Peak Summit

Visibility was almost non-existent from the summit, except for several lakes below.

Helena Lake From Devils Peak Summit

We descended by rappelling down the snowy slot, then belaying back across the traverse ledge, then rappelling directly down to the south notch.  This allowed us to avoid a longer and scarier rappel off the anchor bolts.

Rappelling Down Summit Slot

Rappelling Down To South Notch

Once back at the south notch, we made a tedious post-holey traverse back down to our camp, arriving at 7:15pm (2.1 hours from summit).

Day 2 – Devils Lake Bowl to Deer Creek Road:

We awoke to more low clouds, but the sky gradually cleared as we retraced our route back down through the forest and down the overgrown road.  Naturally, it was completely clear by the time we reached our car at 10:00am (2.6 hours from camp).

——————– Route Map/Sketch ——————–


——————– Photo Gallery (click to enlarge) ——————–