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John Guilford's Hikes

Vesper Peak on 1990-08-28

Date: 1990-08-28

Location: Vesper Peak

People: (including myself): Lynn, Jim Guilford

Start :         10:30
Headlee Pass:	12:30
Summit:         2:15
Leave Sum:      3:15
Headlee Pass:	4:15
Down :          5:45
As this was almost exactly one month from the previous trip to Vesper, it was interesting to note the differences.  The biggest difference is that the snow up towards the summit was mostly gone.  On the way up, we pretty much stuck to the rocks.  Coming down Jim and I slid down a couple patches of snow (Lynn didn't want to get her shoes wet) which proved to be considerably faster than walking down.  From the lake up to the summit is, for the most part, rock.  It is a solid scramble.  It was somewhat pretty, in that there was quite a bit of snow melting, causing many little streams that played across the rock surface.  In general, I think I like it better with the snow (i.e. earlier in the year - e.g. June or July).  It is prettier, and the slide down from the summit is fun and easier; although I'd bring an ice axe (even though it isn't needed) just for convenience. 

We got to the trailhead a bit later than we had planned.  There was a ranger in a truck there, but he left moments after we got there.  He was the only other person we saw on the whole trip.  Going mid-week really reduces the crowds.  On the way up to the pass Lynn took the pack as she started charging off and leaving me in the dust.  After she took the pack our paces evened out.  Jim kept us amused with his stories of the time he came up there in the rain a week ago.  His visibility wasn't good and he had somewhat misconstrued the actual topology.  The switchbacks were warm, but the Wirst basin was in shade for most of the way.  At the pass, Jim and I had one of our sandwiches; Lynn opted to save her sandwich.  Crossing the creek below the small lake was trivial this time; the water must have been lower.  We lost Jim for a while as he was taking his usual water fall pictures.  When Jim was through, we started up the (faint and multitudinous) trail.  Just above the lake there are several trails that meander around.  In general just head up.  Above the stand of trees, an obvious trail disappears.  Just keep climbing, trying to skirt any snow fields are large rock faces that you want to avoid.  A bit above the lake I took the pack from Lynn.  She hadn't eaten anything back at the pass and was feeling low blood sugar.  She felt better after I took the pack.  Part of the way up the slope we heard a helicopter below up.  It came up from below us and circled several times slowly around the bowl below and to the south of the pass.  It then rose and flew over the pass for a moment then returned.  It went back out the way it came in.  The whole time it was there, it was below us.  A little later we heard it very faintly from over on the other side of Vesper, but we never saw it.  We don't have a clue what they were doing.  Further up the slope we came on a snow field that I decided to climb (I was tired of climbing rock), Lynn, not wanted to get her boots wet, kept up the rock.  Going up the snow was fine, but at the upper end of the snow field the rock was *VERY* steep.  It was kind of fun doing a little climbing, but it slowed my progress way down.  By the time I worked my way back onto walkable rock, Lynn was quite a bit ahead.  A bit later we made the summit.  After eating the rest of lunch, we took a little siesta on the south slope of the summit (just below the summit itself).  While sitting/laying there you could occasionally hear swooshes as birds came zipping by at high speed (I don't know what kind of birds they were - Lynn probably does).  After the siesta, we descended the west side of the summit about 50 feet, looked around, then traversed across and descended the east slope a bit to the south of where we came up.  On the way down, I did a standing glissade down any snow fields I found (which was much easier and faster than climbing down the rocks).  Lynn opted to keeping her boots dry.  I did a side detour to get a picture of the lake and ended up getting down about the same time as Lynn.  The hike down was uneventful.  We pretty much ran out of water at the base.  Unfortunately I didn't bring any pop since we were out.  I should have brought extra water to leave in the cooler, but I didn't think of it.  That's something I should do in the future. 

Note: the altimeter seemed to work okay this time also. 


[ PIX1 ] View from just below Headlee Pass. 

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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015