Fortress-Chiwawa Speed Traverse

I traversed Fortress Mountain and Chiwawa Mountain in 9:16 from the Buck Creek Trailhead at Trinity. Both peaks are located on the cascade crest within the Glacier Peak Wilderness. They are situated perfectly to provide views of the heavily-glaciated Dakobed Range and Glacier Peak, which is the most remote of the major volcanoes in the Cascade Range.

The traverse over Fortress Mountain and Chiwawa Mountain
The traverse over Fortress Mountain and Chiwawa Mountain

The route was very aesthetic forming a large 25+ mile loop with no ground repeated except the final 1.5 miles. The first 9 miles and the last 9 miles were on trails while the middle climbing portion traversed Fortress and Chiwawa on rugged terrain from west to east. There were some routefinding uncertainties, particularly on the descents off the SE sides of each peak which were more technical and had less route information, but the traverse went without any backtracking.

Dakobed Range with Mount Rainier in the background from the summit of Fortress Mountain
Dakobed Range with Mount Rainier in the background from the summit of Fortress Mountain

The clarity on this day was amazing due to recent heavy rains and snow at higher elevations. In some places I found several inches of fresh powder on top of rock hard snow patches – very rare conditions for August.

Glacier Peak from the summit of Fortress Mountain
Glacier Peak from the summit of Fortress Mountain

This adventure run had a little bit of everything – mountain trails for running, steep snow slopes, technical rock scrambling (fourth class), and magnificent views.

Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time
Trinity – Buck Creek TH (2,772 ft) : 0 / 0 / 05:45
Turnoff Buck Creek Tr 9 miles (5,600 ft) : 1:41:53 / 1:41:53 / 07:27
Arrive Fortress Summit (8,760 ft) : 3:17:59 / 1:36:06 / 09:03
Depart Fortress Summit (8,760 ft) : 3:43:46 / 25:46 / 09:29
Fortress-Chiwawa Saddle (7,200 ft) : 5:07:27 / 1:23:41 / 10:53
Arrive Chiwawa Summit (8,459 ft) : 5:47:35 / 40:07 / 11:33
Depart Chiwawa Summit (8,459 ft) : 6:08:46 / 21:11 / 11:54
Top of Red Mountain Trail (6,400 ft) : 7:41:37 / 1:32:50 / 13:27
Junction with Chiwawa Basin Tr (4,800 ft) : 8:18:45 / 37:08 / 14:04
Trinity – Buck Creek TH (2,772 ft) : 9:16:06 / 57:21 / 15:01

View north along the Cascade Crest
View north along the Cascade Crest

Complete trip report and more photos HERE.

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