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mcven

Sahale, Hidden Lakes or Vesper

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Hi all,

First and likely only post on here. 

Heading into the North Cascades later this week and am looking for suggestions between Sahale, Vesper, and Hidden Lakes for an overnight trip.  I've done a few summit trips myself, but the girlfriend has not.  Looking for a summit scramble that's challenging, but won't be fatal in the event of a misstep.  We will not have ropes or crampons. 

From what I can tell, Sahale errs more towards class 4, while Hidden Lakes is class 2 at best.  Any suggestions?  I am open to other potential areas as well.

Thanks.

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Look at the Northwest Route on White Chuck Mountain. Likely no crowds, class III, you could get by without crampons. Haven't been on the route though, so I can't speak to how challenging it is. I'm sure you could get killed if you slipped in the wrong place.

Edited by Marcus Russi

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13 hours ago, Marcus Russi said:

Look at the Northwest Route on White Chuck Mountain. 

Having done White Chuck, I would have to disagree.  One of the scarier class 3 routes I've done (sloping ledges with loose pebbles is what I recall) and not particularly interesting climbing, either.

You have a great option with Hidden Lakes Peak, as the views are as good as most summits I've been on. It's exposed and improbable, but not technical. If you can't stay in the lookout, there are spectacular tent sites about 3/4 of the way on the right. 

Seems like the best goal would be to get your girlfriend a great mountain experience without getting spooked or overwhelmed. Trying to find a compromise destination is likely to miss the mark for both.  

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9 hours ago, curtveld said:

Having done White Chuck, I would have to disagree.  One of the scarier class 3 routes I've done (sloping ledges with loose pebbles is what I recall) and not particularly interesting climbing, either.

You have a great option with Hidden Lakes Peak, as the views are as good as most summits I've been on. It's exposed and improbable, but not technical. If you can't stay in the lookout, there are spectacular tent sites about 3/4 of the way on the right. 

Seems like the best goal would be to get your girlfriend a great mountain experience without getting spooked or overwhelmed. Trying to find a compromise destination is likely to miss the mark for both.  

You hit the mark, Curtveld.  I was thinking the same about Hidden Lakes.  Thanks for the insight.  Can you be just a bit more specific on where the alternative campsites are located?

Edited by mcven

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10 hours ago, mcven said:

Can you be just a bit more specific on where the alternative campsites are located?

Not really but it's not that hard to find.  It's a flat area right of the trail that overlooks the valley.  There are 2-3 tent spots, as I recall. Probably nice spots at the lake as well?

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I camped at the lake many years ago and there was one pretty exposed cliff we had to get down, so that might not be a good option.  I was surprised at how untrammeled the lakeshore was, so I would expect there is not an easy way down there.   Hidden Lakes peak was quite nice though, really nice scrambling on amazing white granite (iirc).

Summit block of Sahale is very exposed climbing.  Most will enjoy having a rope at least to get down.  I had the same experience on Whitechuck as curtveld.  

 

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What about Mount Pugh @mcven?  There is a nice camp at the lake before the grind to Stujack Pass.  Pugh is a trail, but one that is blasted out of cliffs and very "scrambly".

In addition, I'd recommend Crater.  Also an old lookout site, with a lake camp below.  The most elevation gain of a "trail" in WA- 6200'.

Bring bug juice and a headnet for most camps right now...we're at peak bug.

Agreed with @chucK, most will want a rope to descend Sahale, and many on the way up too.  Also, you'll need an axe and probably crampons if you ascend early.

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Second Mt. Pugh (Pew).  Good trail to the summit block then some scrambly moves to get up the summit.  No crampons needed as of 3 weeks ago.  I encountered some snow covering the trail above Stujack that was bypassed thought he brush on the climbers right.

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Nobody has said anything about Vesper!  Vesper Peak is without a doubt my favorite hike in the Cascades, and it blows my mind how little known it is compared to a lot of other hikes (not that I'm complaining).  It is fairly short considering how high you get (7.5 miles round trip), and the hike has very distinct sections so it is really just never boring.  And man, it is so beautiful!  Only a mile and a half from the trailhead you are already in a huge, beautiful alpine basin.  There is about 400 feet of ridiculously solid and just pure fun granite slab scrambling to the top, and there is a gorgeous campsite right before you start the scramble if you wanted to do it as an overnight.  You could probably keep this as low as class 2 if you really tried, but it is such solid, amazing rock that I was zigzagging all over little knob studded low fifth class steps just to make things fun.  It is shorter than anything I would do as an overnight, but its really not to be missed.

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