Apex Mountain

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
Washington, United States, North America
County:
Okanogan
Activities:
Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Aid Climbing, Scrambling
Season:
Summer, Fall
Elevation:
8297 ft / 2529 m
6079 Hits
81.84% Score
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Page By:
Apex Mountain
Created On: Aug 12, 2009
Last Edited On: Aug 13, 2009

Overview

Apex North FaceApex North Face, August 2009
Apex Mountain and Tungsten Lake


Apex Mountain is an isolated peak in Washington State, 2 miles south of the Canadian border. The 18th highest peak in the Pasayten Wilderness, southern and western slopes lead down to creek basins while the northeastern cliff face towers over Tungsten Lake. The overall shape of Apex Mountain when viewed from the above is a crescent. When viewed form the right perspective, Apex is reminiscent of a volcanic crater similar to Mount Saint Helens. Few plants and trees grow in the coarse, rocky sand above 7500 feet. Apex is not often climbed due to it's long approach and close proximity to higher, well-known summits. If you intend to summit Apex you will likely have the whole mountain to yourself.

Tungsten Lake, approachable from the north, is a prime spot to fish for cutthroat trout. The fish in the lake are very hungry due to the lack of food and short feeding season. I have heard that they are quick to take bait but you will have to catch a lot of them because they are on the skinny side. The North wall has several good rock climbing routes. Refer to Fred Beckey's Cascade Alpine Guide: Rainy Pass to Fraser River for more information.

Apex is one of the loftier summits in Washington State. There are several official Highest Peaks lists. Each has a different set of constraints and rules for eligibility. For highpoint climbers, the two most widely accepted are the Bulger List and the 400 Feet of Prominence list, known as 400P. Apex is just 23 feet short of making the Bulger List which is limited to the top 100 peaks, but it is listed on the 400P list as #102. According to John Roper, including all unnamed high points with ≥ 400P in Washington State, Apex would rank #124. As a side note, Climbing Guide author Jeff Smoot compiled his own Top 100 list using USGS quad maps in which Apex was ranked at #100.

For a further discussion of prominence click here.
For history about the making of the Bulger List click here.
For the Jeff Smoot List click here.

Approach and Route

Tungsten Lake Reflecting CloudsTungsten Lake, August 2009

From Chewuch Trailhead

1) Hike Cathedral Driveway Trail #510A for 2.2 miles, to the intersection with Chewuch Trail #510 (~4200’ elevation).
2) Hike Chewuch Trail #510 for 3.6 miles, to the intersection with Tungsten Creek Trail #534 (~4700’ elevation).
3) Hike Tungsten Creek Trail #534 for 6.2 miles, to the intersection with Boundary Trail #533 (~6750’ elevation). This intersection is located at the site of the Tungsten Mine Camp, on the south side of Wolframite Mountain.
4) Hike approximately one and a half miles west and then south along Boundary Trail #533 to Apex Pass. From the pass, ascend off-trail south across marshy meadows and through trees to the top of the north ridge. Follow near the ridge top scrambling over the class 2 false summit or skirting around it to the north.
5) Beyond the false summit, hike a tenth of a mile along nearly level ground to the true summit (8297' elevation).


From Thirtymile Trailhead

1) Hike Chewuch Trail #510 for 8.8 miles, to the intersection with Tungsten Creek Trail #534 (~4700 elevation).
2) Hike Tungsten Creek Trail #534 for 6.2 miles, to the intersection with Boundary Trail #533 (~6750’ elevation). This intersection is located at the site of the Tungsten Mine Camp, on the south side of Wolframite Mountain.
3) Hike approximately one and half miles west and then south along Boundary Trail #533 to Apex Pass. From the pass, ascend off-trail south across marshy meadows and through trees to the top of the north ridge. Follow near the ridge top scrambling over the class 2 false summit or skirting around it to the north.
4) Beyond the false summit, hike a tenth of a mile along nearly level ground to the true summit (8297' elevation).

Driving Directions

Upper Apex

OPTION #1: Chewuch Trail


From Tonasket, WA:
1) Drive Okanogan County Road 9437 (Hwy 7) north about 5.5 miles to County Road 9425.
2) Turn east on County Road 9425 and travel about 12 miles to Loomis.
3) From Loomis, continue on County Road 9425 for about 2 miles to County Road 4066.
4) Turn east on County Road 4066, which becomes Forest Service Road 39 (Toats Coulee Road), and continue for 20 miles to Long Swamp Campground.
5) Take FS Road 39-300 for 3 miles to the Chewuch Trailhead (~5600’ elevation).




OPTION #2: Thirtymile Trail


From Winthrop, WA:
1) Drive north on Okanogan County Road 1213 (West Chewuch Road) until it joins Forest Service Road 51.
2) Then drive for 29 miles to the Thirtymile Trailhead (~3600’ elevation).

Camping

Camping options in the Pasayten Wilderness are virtually unlimited. Many accommodating tent spots can be found in meadows, along streams, or beside lakes. A favorite spot to spend the night near Apex Mountain is in ono of the two, old Miner's Cabins between Tungsten Lake and Wolframite Mountain.

Special Thanks to Redwic for all of his research that made our trip and this page possible.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Redwic

Redwic - May 23, 2011 5:59 pm - Voted 10/10

Another Ranking Reference

The book "Summit Routes: Washington's 100 Highest Peaks" (authored by Scott Stephenson and Brian Bongiovanni) lists Apex Mountain as the 100th-highest peak in Washington.



The book uses the following criteria, for making that list:

-> Summits must have at least 400' of clean prominence.

-> No volcanic sub-peaks are used except Little Tahoma, due to its individual size and prominence.

-> Seven-Fingered Jack and Blackcap Mountain were included because their clean prominence was within a small error margin that might make the 400' prominence criteria.



Using these criteria, the book authors determined Apex Mountain is the 100th-highest peak in Washington. It is amazing how many different criteria there are to determine the highest peaks, mostly because of volcanic sub-peaks but also because of error margins.

gimpilator

gimpilator - May 27, 2011 11:37 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Another Ranking Reference

Thank you very much for citing this reference. I'm tempted to change the wording on this page back to it's original.

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