Vesper Peak - North Face, September 2002
It was to be a sunny and warm late September day. Paul and I joined forces for what ended up being an enjoyable and relaxing day of alpine rock climbing. The North Face of Vesper Peak appealed to me for a variety of reasons. The short approach via the Sunrise Mine Trail, the scenic views of the Mountain Loop area peaks and beyond and the "classic" dihedral bisecting the North Face slab all made for an enticing package. According to Beckey, the "slabby 800-900 ft rock wall lacks the usual jointing features, and as a consquence is denied classic climbing lines. Yet the face has its appeal and affords challenging routes". Good enough for us!
We made good time hiking up the Sunrise Mine Trail into a basin beneath cliffs with Morning Star Peak rising to our left. Remnants of an early season avalanche obscured the trail as it crossed the debris and continued up the basin on its right side. Just as you begin to wonder where there could possily be an easy way up the imposing looking cliffs that protect the upper basin, the trail makes a sharp turn to the right and switchbacks steeply up to Headlee Pass (4,700'+). From Headlee Pass, the East Slope of Vesper Peak comes into view. The trail then drops a bit and traverses talus on the southeastern slopes of Sperry Peak. We crossed a creek near the outlet of "Lake Elan" and hiked up heather meadows below Vesper's East Slope. (more...)
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