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[TR] Vesper Peak - Standard Route 7/9/2016

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Trip: Vesper Peak - Standard Route


Date: 7/9/2016


Trip Report:

Vesper is a solid all-day hike, but has jussssst enough snow to make things interesting. The perfect way to break a new set of boots!


I got up relatively late, left my house in Seattle around 8am, and made it to the trailhead around 10. Weather was on-and-off rain, but opened up to clear skies around 11. After crossing the creek, the first part of the trail switchbacked through thick vegetation that got relatively hot/humid, but as soon as that part tops out, the trail meanders through an open glacial valley.


The climb up to Headlee Pass was a bit of scrambling on loose gravely rocks, but snow-free. As soon as I crossed the pass, I got hit in the face with some strong winds that the ridge keeps out. After crossing Headlee, the path becomes pretty rocky and full of talus up to the lake.


Vesper Lake itself is still frozen, with snowbanks on either side. I crossed the creek below the lake and just headed straight up. As soon as I got out of the cirque that forms the lake, the route became maybe 30-degree snow that was medium hard. Up until this point, I had passed a couple groups that were out in running shoes, and had been feeling pretty stupid for bringing my ice axe, but it sure came in handy! Not sure if any of those other groups actually summited or were just going to the lake.


Once on the snow, it took me maybe 20 minutes of climbing to hit the ridge, at which point it was just another 10 minutes up to the summit itself. The whole climb had been through thick clouds and maybe 10-15ft visibility, but once I crested the ridge I saw that the entire other side was wide open! Amazing views from the top of countless peaks, super-rewarding, great way to spend a Saturday out on my own.


Gear Notes:

Mountaineering boots and ice axe. Brought my crampons but didn't need em.


Approach Notes:

The forest road (4065) is pretty torn up in two places where the side of the road washed out, but the road is navigable in relatively low-clearance cars... I even saw a camry at the trailhead!


The main creek about a half-mile from the trailhead is running very strong right now. Best way to cross seems to be getting to and from a big log that is hanging out in the middle of the creek.

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