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Vesper Peak Climber's Log

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Darren9North Face bailed  Sucess!

Darren9

Attempted North Face but rain changed our minds...climbed standard route instead, and still it was a good day. Love the Cascades.
Posted Nov 7, 2009 2:16 am

project360Perfect Climb for Everyone  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 12, 2007

project360

Love this peak. So close but appears far away...
Posted Oct 14, 2009 11:33 pm

DoehleStandard Route  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Oct 11, 2009

Doehle

Nice, if cold, day out. Good views from the summit. Valleys had some of the best color I've ever seen.
Posted Oct 14, 2009 12:35 pm

geoseanHeadlee Route  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 8, 2008

geosean

Lots of brush on the approach, very wet on a late summer morning. Make sure you take to the ridge right at the outlet stream (I kept going to the lake, then ascended to the summit, this involves a lot of unnecessary steep slab climbing).
Posted Oct 7, 2009 12:45 pm

ericwillhiteGood climb  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 12, 2004

ericwillhite

Had to leave my dog well below the pass, too much steep snow.
Posted Oct 7, 2009 2:01 am

WinterNorth Face  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 19, 2009
Spent a beautiful day on the North Face of Vesper Peak last weekend. Brief TR and photos can be found here: http://chriswinter.blogspot.com/2009/07/vesper-peak-north-face.html.

The lower buttresses were the crux. We ended up climbing a mossy mid-5th class right facing corner that protected fairly well and actually had ok rock. Wouldn't have been viable if it was wet, as it probably is much of the year. The rest was fun simulclimbing to the summit.
Posted Jul 24, 2009 1:10 pm

RomaKBeautiful September Day  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 28, 2008

RomaK

Spectacular views all around, especially with such clean air. Great view of everything from North Cascades (Baker, Shuksan, Pickets, Eldorado, Ptarmigan area) to Stuart range and the central crest (Daniel, Lemah, Chimney Rock). For those bored with class 2 walking, follow the east ridge crest (climber's right on the slope heading to the summit) for some exciting 3rd and 4th class scrambling above a 1000' drop to Copper glacier.
Posted Sep 30, 2008 4:49 am

lukicNorth face  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 15, 2008

lukic

Outrageously beautiful area with terrific weather and a great partner. Skipped descending the glacier because we didn't feel like carrying ice ax/crampons, but I'll be back another day for that.
Posted Sep 15, 2008 9:19 pm

jordansahlsRain rain go away! (standard route)  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 10, 2008

jordansahls

Not to much snow up to the pass, but lots after that. We had an amazing view of white from the summit. damn the rain!
Posted Aug 11, 2008 1:58 am

gimpilatorHike and a half  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 12, 2006

gimpilator

That's a hike and a half. Some loose stuff coming up the pass. Very nice views from the summit. Nick found the log stashed in a pipe.
Posted Sep 13, 2006 6:34 pm

EastKingSunrise Mine/Headlee Pass  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 1, 2006

EastKing

Went with Megellan up this mountain. This was a great trip. The scramble to the summit was actually easier then the steep hike up the switchbacks to Headlee Pass. The views was UNBELIEVABLE!!
Posted Sep 2, 2006 8:30 pm

renRoute Climbed: Headlee Pass  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 13, 2005

ren

A bag of Sperry was included.
Posted Feb 15, 2006 3:44 am

Corey BiglerRoute Climbed: From the Sunrise Mine Trail. Date Climbed: September 25, 2005  Sucess!

Corey Bigler

Great visibility today. Scramble over rock was steep but fairly easy to the summit.
Posted Sep 26, 2005 2:43 pm

diceyRoute Climbed: standard Date Climbed: May 2005  Sucess!
via headlee pass. found a snowboard!
Posted Sep 4, 2005 2:17 pm

hkutukRoute Climbed: Full North Face from the glacier Date Climbed: July 23, 2005  Sucess!

hkutuk

Climbed with Keith G. and had an adventure on this fun but not to be underestimated peak. We started hiking with no visibility and it was quite depressing, but things changed once we reached Headlee Pass. At the notch between Vesper and Sperry we looked at the ledge but it had some snow on it so we dropped onto the glacier. We picked the best looking gully but a team ahead of us got stuck one pitch higher. We gave them our second rope so they could bail to where we were. From there we took over and started looking for an exit to the heather benches and things started getting really hairy as there was much moss/heather and wet rock with little pro, after some creative moves including rappel/pendulum over blank rock into adjacent gully and dry tooling we made it to the heather benches with great jubilation as it had taken us 4 pitches to get here. The slab followed by the 2 pitch dihedral felt so good after the misery of the lower 4 pitches. Shortly enjoyed the sun set over a great scenery, but we still had to hike out but our sense of achievement carried us out to some Jack Johnson music, celebratory drinks and much needed food at the car into late midnight...
Posted Jul 27, 2005 2:18 am

Andy DeweyRoute Climbed: Headlee Pass Date Climbed: May 17, 2005  Sucess!

Andy Dewey

Reached the top in very poor weather conditions; snow, rain, hail, and very thick clouds with about 100' visibility. Heavy snow from Vesper Creek and higher. The chute up to Headlee was also all snow. Still had fun!
Posted Jun 7, 2005 2:45 am

ilukaRoute Climbed: Northeast Slope Via Headless Pass Date Climbed: August 29, 2004  Sucess!

iluka

Great views from an easy to reach summit
Posted May 25, 2005 12:10 pm

danman3156Route Climbed: North Face Date Climbed: August 12 2004  Sucess!

danman3156

A classic all around mountaineering adventure. The ledge is exposed, not for the faint hearted. The climb is very straight foward but a good fun beginner technical route.
Posted Apr 18, 2005 12:51 pm

leftfieldRoute Climbed: Headlee Pass/Sperry Peak Date Climbed: September 21, 2003  Sucess!

leftfield

My friend Kate and i finally got decent weather (after two other attempts) and made the best of it by throwing in Sperry Peak as well. No snow anywhere and those great "superslabs" to run for the summit of Vesper. A few folks scattered about the Elan Lake basin enjoying late season sunshine.
Posted Sep 23, 2003 10:49 pm

pauleRoute Climbed: Wirtz Basin / Headlee Pass Date Climbed: June 28, 2003  Sucess!

paule

Left trailhead at about 8:30 am. Just as we gearing up, a solo climber drove up beside us, and without even your basic hello, began barking at us, saying that we should nose in and park, as there are often many people that park there. I understood the issue of space, but she was very rude and didn't see or care that her jeep was much shorter than my truck, and that if I did what she suggested, I would be exposing half of my truck in the middle of the road, giving no room for anyone to turn around. I thought it would have been a ridiculously inconsiderate thing for me to do as she suggested. Oddly enough, she parked up close to the trailhead (the sign says you are not supposed to do), which severely limits the space for someone to turn around. I decided to park further away, but still park parallel to the edge of the road, to give other people as much room as possible, and zero opportunity for anyone to bitch about it. She seemed upset that we were even there. Very strange lady with a chip on her shoulder. No wonder she was solo.



The suffering began as the trail headed through dense shrubs and even thicker mosquitos. The combination of heat and mugginess was draining my fuel really fast, making it very slow going for me, and we were essentially just beginning. The temperature wasn't as bad as a couple weeks before on Mt. Pugh when it was in the high 90's but for some reason, it felt much more stifling. Finally as we approached the expansive basin guarded by large talus, we picked up a little relief from a slight cool breaze that kept teasing us. After cooling off some, we headed up the north basin. There was enough snow left in the basin to make it worthy to avoid the scree-laden trail parallel to us on our right. Despite severely rapid meltoff this season, the north basin will probably remain a worthy alternative to the scree filled trail for just a few more weeks. We saw one solo climber coming down the trail as we were climbing through the north basin.



As we approached the apron directly below the steep col towards Morning Star, we traversed a small section of scree to regain access to the trail to the right, which then leads directly up Headlee Pass. The terrain through here was very mixed which kept things interesting. Jodi and I opted to stay mostly on the snow and climb directly up Headlee Pass, as opposed to using the switchbacks. This option may not hold out another week, as the meltoff stage was becoming pretty severe. We took a break at the top of Headlee Pass (4600 ft.) for a snack, some shade, and to monitor the weather, plus my hands were shaking a little from carbo fits, and I needed to refuel. On the way through Headlee Pass I was close to overheating, despite drinking water gradually and consistently. By the time we got at the top of Headlee Pass, I had burned through three quarts of water, and would soon be ready for some free, exquisitely cold refills. We went by another solo climber on his way down from Headlee Pass that didn't go any further. Immediately on the west side of Headlee Pass we encountered the grumpy woman who wanted to give us a parking lesson earlier. I couldn't tell if she had become more agitated because she had turned back knowing that we were headed for the summit, or if she had become more annoyed just from the mere site of us. She frowned and looked at us as if we were part of an annoying 12-person Mountaineer’s group.



There were scattered storms in the region, and a severe storm moving in very fast from the south. Another lower system was colliding with it, essentially guaranteeing some major wind and rainfall for most of the Monte Cristo area and then to Glacier Peak. There was also a large, slow moving rainstorm moving in from the southwest that would eventually hit us. When we down climbed the west side of Headlee Pass, and headed towards Vesper Peak, we ran into a couple that was on their way down. They made it about half way up and turned around. At that time, there were mild north-bound storm clouds over Vesper, but it was fairly localized and there was a comforting blue hole to the south. We witnessed some thunder and a few violent lightening strikes nearby, and one bolt hitting Vesper near the bare summit rock, sending a little snow in the air like a small plume of smoke, and then it was over. While we waited it out, we stopped off at the Vesper Glacier / frozen Lake Elan runoff, and refilled our water bottles. The valley between the Vesper and Morning Star toward the south, and the northern face of Red Mountain showed off very lush green meadows that seemed unusually brighter than usual.



After talking to the last two climbers on our way up, we began our final summit approach through snow that was in pretty good shape. We had to traverse around / through a few patches of trees and a little rock, but then it was snow the rest of the way up to the bare rock on the summit. We saw a major crevasse close to the talus section, but it was easily noticeable and avoidable. When we got to the summit, we signed the register and then took in some awesome views of Morning Star Peak, Sperry Peak, Sloan Peak, Copper Lake, Spada Lake, Lake Elan (still frozen) Mt. Pugh, white Chuck Mountain, and Glacier Peak. To the west and northwest, we could see Mt. Pilchuck and Three Fingers. The summit of Vesper Peak also offers a very rare, and unique view along the south side of Big 4 Mountain.



The glissade down was pretty interesting. I had to stay conservative on speed, as there were no significant run outs, and there were two sections where we had to get up and traverse around some exposed rock. Other than that, the glissade was pretty decent. In a few weeks, the snow will probably be a little softer and wet, but should still be in decent shape. The trail might be bone dry all the way up to Headlee Pass, but if you can make it to the top of Headlee Pass before spending all your water, don't worry. If you run out of water, the runoff from Vesper Glacier / Lake Elan should be available even after several more weeks of consistently hot weather. We made it all the way back to the meadows and dense woods area before our number was up with dodging rain clouds, and we welcomed the light shower. Aside from the scorching hot section of the lower trail through the woods, and again through the sun scorched Headlee Pass, we were blessed with good weather. Storms sideswiped the Vesper Peak / Sperry Peak area, and crashed any climbing parties in Monte Cristo area, and the larger rain storm hammered Glacier Peak with the same lack of mercy the heat and mosquitoes had for us. It took us about 5 1/2 to 6 hours to summit, and 2 hours tops to make it back to the parking lot. It was a great climb, but probably would be too hot for me on a return trip until sometime in September, unless I made a head start in the very early morning. There were eight other climbers we encountered that day, but we were the only two that made it to the summit.
Posted Jul 1, 2003 2:37 pm

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