Hiked up to the summit of Vesper Peak with my friend Randy to photograph sunset, the night sky and sunrise over the North Cascade Mountains. Unfortunately, smoke from forest fires in Eastern Washington blew in, obscuring the night sky and sunrise. But the sunset was magical.
Here is a video of our ascent, climbing 4000 feet in 4.0 miles. We start on the rough Sunrise Mine trail, climb up to Headlee Pass and then continue over heather, snow and granite to the summit at 6214 feet, where we spent a pleasant night in bivy sacks.
An early stream crossing can be challenging when water levels are high. Those following the route to the summit of Vesper Peak should have good off-trail travel skills, including travel over steep snow and rock. Spikes, crampons and/or ice axe, and the skills to use them, may be require depending on conditions. Loose rocks on the switchbacks up to Headlee Pass can be dangerous to those below you. Take extra care here to avoid knocking rocks down the hill, and consider staying close together in a tight group so that any loosened rocks can’t build up dangerous speed before impacting people below. Medium to high clearance vehicle advised for the drive to the trailhead due to one washout.
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