You are here: Home Find a Hike Hiking Guide Vesper Peak

Vesper Peak

The hike to the summit follows the same trail up to Vesper Lake, but instead of following Vesper Creek upstream to the lake at the creek crossing, cross the creek and follow the existing trails up the southeast slope of Vesper Peak. There are cairns to follow for a nice scramble up to the summit.
Driving Directions:

From Granite Falls follow the Mountain Loop Highway east for 29 miles, turning right onto Forest Road 4065 about 3 miles beyond (east of) the Big Four Picnic Area. Fol-low this gravel road for 2.3 miles to its terminus at the trailhead for Trail No. 707 (elev. 2400 ft).

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Recent Trip Reports

Hiked here recently? Submit a trip report!
There are 61 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Headlee Pass and Vesper Lake, Vesper Peak — Oct 05, 2013 — ann
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
We set out to follow the trip description from Goldman's "75 scrambles" which described an uncompl...
We set out to follow the trip description from Goldman's "75 scrambles" which described an uncomplicated class 2 ramble up Sperry, followed by a traverse over to Vesper. The description may be okay, but it is supplemented by a route drawn on a map which is completely wrong and misleading. For information on climbing Sperry, I'd say look at Beckey, and also this description http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7987423 . I'd also say doing Sperry and Vesper in one day would have likely taken us more than the allotted 10 hours.

Anyway, we started at 8:30 on a dark forest trail. Huge trees, waterfalls, mushrooms, an easy crossing of the Stillaguamish on a make-shift bridge, then we broke out into the open. The fall color is going nicely. The hike up to Headlee pass was on good trail, although we managed to lose it once by following misleading cairns, and a second time following a stream gully. There were a few inches of snow on the trail in the morning near Headlee pass, which had melted by the afternoon. We traversed the big rockslide, which was slippery with snow in the morning, mostly dry by the return. We then looked for a way up the intimidating looking Sperry. The rockslide at its skirt was covered by between 6 inches and several feet of snow, making for tricky slippery hiking with postholing. The book said to head for the west shoulder, using trees as handholds. The west shoulder seemed to be guarded by a skirt of snowy cliffs, so instead we attacked the only route we could see going anywhere and headed up a gully ending at a deep notch. The gully turned into a 45 degree slope of with 6 inches of crusty snow covering heather. We got out our ice axes and kicked steps up it to the notch, where we found that to continue up the ridge would require a 4th class scramble on steep exposed rock--too scary for us. Instead we had to downclimb our steps, toes in, very carefully. We then sat around on a dry rock in the warm sun for a while, gazing at Sperry and Vesper, contemplating our options and eating lunch. A guy climbed up to us who had been following our steps, and we broke the bad news to him that they led to a dead end unless you are willing to do somewhat exposed and tricky climbing. He went off to seek another route.

Our experience on the snow covered boulder field led us to overestimate the difficulty of Vesper, but we finally worked up enough energy to try it--and easily followed someone's snowshoe tracks to the summit. We encountered only a minor amount of postholing. No ice axe needed for Vesper, but poles were very useful. Snowshoes would make some parts easier and some harder. An ice axe would be needed for Headlee pass if snowy.

The summit of Vesper was exhilarating and totally made up for the frustrations of the earlier part of the day. The view is completely overwhelming with seemingly most of the major peaks of the state in view. We gasped and recoiled from the view down the north face to the glacier.

trip totals: 9.5 hours, 10.5 miles, 4500' feet.
Read full report with photos
Vesper Peak, Headlee Pass and Vesper Lake — Oct 05, 2013 — Jeb
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Water on trail | Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
Current conditions are perfect for a summit of Vesper Peak and/or Sperry Peak. The trail is nearly ...
Current conditions are perfect for a summit of Vesper Peak and/or Sperry Peak. The trail is nearly snow free up to about 100 feet below Headlee Pass, and for most of the traverse over to Lake Elan.

Vesper peak has 2-3 feet of snow above the lake and a well beaten path broken in by at least 5 pairs of snowshoes since Friday. I reached the summit at 10 am without snowshoes, and experienced only minor post-holing, mostly on the way down.
 
Sperry peak appeared to have just a light dusting, most of which was caught by small vegetation. Both of the dogs did great on Vesper but sperry seemed to have more scrambling than I wanted to drag them along for. Saw about 20 people and a few dogs on the way out.

 more pictures and details coming soon
Read full report with photos
Vesper Peak, Headlee Pass and Vesper Lake — Oct 05, 2013 — Jeb
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
I finally got a chance to write up a report of my recent return to the Mountain Loop Highway. Vesper...
I finally got a chance to write up a report of my recent return to the Mountain Loop Highway. Vesper Peak was an ideal location for a last minute weekday hike. The trail was nearly snow free up to about 100 feet below Headlee Pass, and for most of the traverse over to Lake Elan. Vesper had 2-3 feet of snow above the lake and a well beaten path broken in by at least 5 pairs of snowshoes since Friday. I reached the summit at 10 am without snowshoes, and experienced only minor post-holing, mostly on the way down. Sperry peak appeared to have just a light dusting, most of which was caught by small vegetation. Both of the dogs did great on Vesper but Sperry seemed to have more scrambling than I wanted to drag them along for. This was Maverick's first serious hike since his knee surgery nearly six months ago, and all signs point to a 100% recovery. We saw about 20 people and a few dogs on the way out.

We hit the trail at 7 a.m. as the sun began to rise. Alpenglow struck the top of Sperry Peak as we crossed the North ridge of Morning Star. Fall colors were pushing through all of the green in the South Fork Stillaguamish River Valley. I noticed one of the mine entrances described in several trip reports I have read, more on that later. Small patches of snow began in the switchbacks leading up to Headlee Pass. The talus field traverse beyond the pass was nearly snow free, but Vesper Peak was blanketed in the white stuff. We crossed Vesper Creek and started up the ridge while a 4-some broke down their camp on Lake Elan, the surface of which was half covered in slush.

The snow on on Vesper was already softening in the morning sun, and the talus terrain below it made for a bit of post-holing. I was lucky to have the day-old tracks from several pairs of snowshoes which had firmed up a decent path to the summit. A small glacier hid in the shade below the sub-peak to the south. A few huge rocks at the summit were bare and dry. I dug around in the snow but could find no trace of a register. The surrounding peaks were in clear view, many of them dusted in snow. The long ridge to Big Four Mountain looked like it would make for a fun day trip from Lake Elan.

I enjoyed the quiet summit with the dogs for about an hour before heading down, allowing the sun to further heat and soften the snow surface. The dogs were post-holing nearly as bad as I was and we were all stoked to get back to solid rock. I stopped to chat with a solo hiker near the snow line, who was glad to have brought his snowshoes after hearing about the snow condition ahead of him. I really started to feel the sun's heat on the way back down the switchbacks. We took a detour to explore the mine entrance, which turned out to go only 10 feet into the rock. On the way back I got a much better view of Lewis Peak in the sunlight, which would make for a great winter ascent.

More pics and route map @ http://www.jebsjourneys.com/[…]/vesper-peak-10-5-2013.html
Read full report with photos
Vesper Peak — Aug 25, 2013 — EraSeek
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Expand report text Hide report text
This is my third time up Vesper. Vesper holds snow on it till late in the year so October is a good ...
This is my third time up Vesper. Vesper holds snow on it till late in the year so October is a good snow-free month. Much of the face still had some snow which would have been more comfortable if I had brought my ice axe, so we skirted around some rock on the snow and jumped back on the rock to scramble the rest of the way up. When snow free the options going up are better for a safer scramble. Lots of vertical landscape to impress here, and the rock is a thing of beauty.
Water was plentiful, even on the rock face of the peak. Vesper lake is still mostly ice and snow covered. Makeshift bridge across the lower creeks are just that and should be crossed with due caution.
Read full report with photos
Vesper Peak — Aug 03, 2013 — wolfwoman
Day hike
Expand report text Hide report text
It was a great day for Phlemy and me! The road to the trailhead is in very good condition, but that'...
It was a great day for Phlemy and me! The road to the trailhead is in very good condition, but that's where all maintenance ends. The trail is in the usual poor shape, but that just helps to keep the riff raff out! The stream crossing is fine since someone built a little bridge between two boulders and it's quite solid if a little airy. Still, five steps and you're done. We encountered a bee's nest at about 1/2 mile in the middle of the trail and I was the lucky one who got nailed, but a benadryl fixed me up just fine and I can hardly tell I was zapped. It's the usual rough and rugged trail to Headlee Pass and beyond, but all snow is gone until you reach Lake Elan which is still almost completely frozen. Still, it needs to be said that this trail was so much rougher and more difficult to stay on 20 years ago and lots of boots have improved it a lot. We remained in the clouds until Headlee Pass when the skies opened up and became clear and gorgeous. Perfect timing! The first bit of the route from the Lake and the campsites were snow free, but the steeper slopes below the summit were snow covered and a bit hard today so we stuck to the rocks on the north side rather than my usual route and it worked out just fine. We saw only one other party of two people on the mountain which was very unusual for Vesper. It could only be because of the unfavorable weather forecast which turned out to be inaccurate. We had a fine lunch on the summit with views of the peaks of Del Campo, Sperry, Pilchuck, Big Four and others nestled in a sea of clouds. If only I hadn't stupidly forgotten my camera! No pix today. Also, no bugs at all until the trip down when we were attacked by flies, but it hardly seemed fair to complain after such a nice trip that far. We made a quick stop at the newly remodeled Green Gables in Verlot to buy a soda. They've really worked hard at making a cute and funky little grill here and even though we were in a hurry to get going, I plan to stop sometime soon for a burger. It's great to see the old place still running and trying something new.
Read full report
Vesper Peak Trail Pair.jpg
Vesper Peak. Photo by Trail Pair.
Location
North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Darrington Ranger
Statistics
Roundtrip 9.0 miles
Elevation Gain 4100 ft
Highest Point 6214 ft
Features
Rivers
Lakes
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
Summits
Ridges/passes
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails Silverton No. 110
Sloan Peak No. 111

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Map it
Red MarkerVesper Peak
48.0371461 -121.4789995
(48.0371, -121.4790) Open in new window
Document Actions
  • Print this
  • Share
Get the Guidebooks

Mountaineers three booksSelect content from The Mountaineers Books' guidebooks is featured in this Hiking Guide. Sales of the books from this website help protect and maintain trails.

> Shop Now

More hikes » Hike of the Week
Diablo Lake Trail (Apr 17)

Diablo Lake

North Cascades

Follow the Diablo Lake Trail up and across talus slopes on the flanks of Sourdough Mountain to impressive cascading waterfalls and stunning views. This hike in the North Cascades Institute's backyard makes a great option for an early season hike in stunning North Cascades National Park, much of which is inaccessible during the winter and spring.

Get Trail News

Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking news, events, gear reviews and more.

What's Happening
GiveBIG 2014 May 06, 2014 Donate to WTA during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event and grow your impact on trails!
Hiker Potluck in Vancouver May 28, 2014 Come out for an evening of great food, meet other hikers and learn what is happening on trails near you.
More »