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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2008 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  June 2008 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 21, 2008 Vesper Peak
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Author Topic: June 21, 2008 Vesper Peak  (Read 3014 times)

Posts: 150

June 21, 2008 Vesper Peak
« on: 06/21/08, 08:47 PM »

NickC, BradT, AaronM and I had a good day on Vesper.  Snow blocked the road about 1/2 mile from the mountain loop highway.  Left the car about 7:30 and hiked the ~2 miles to the trailhead.  Followed the trail as it traversed around the bowl until we lost it in the snow.  From where we lost the trail I recommend that you keep traversing while dropping 100-200 feet of elevation.  There was a big snow bridge that we used to cross the stream.  It should be ok for at least another week.  Then it might get more interesting (but not impossible). 

A few hundred feet above the snow bridge we started booting up the snow field until we hit the trail.  Followed the trail around to the main gully.  Don't take the first small snow patch you meet (and don't follow our boot track!) but keep traversing until you enter the main gully.  We skinned up the gully until we reached the narrow couloir that takes you to Hardlee Pass.  From there it's a rising traverse to the lake between Sperry and Vesper.  We skinned to the top, ate lunch while enjoying the views and rain sprinkles.  The ski down to the lake was fantastic.  Lots of great skiing in this area.  The ski down from Hardlee was fun but bumpy (lots of sluff debris).

We hooked up with JJ and his dog Lola on the way up.  JJ shared his only beer at the summit and a few more back at the car, which speaks for his excellant character.  No pictures since none of us had a camera.
Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1875

Re: June 21, 2008 Vesper Peak
« Reply #1 on: 06/22/08, 09:14 PM »

Yep - we were the pair that you guys encountered earlier in the day. We booted up the wrong mini-gulley ahead of you, realized our mistake, skied it, and headed for the basin that leads to Del Campo. Skiing the avy debris gives new meaning to skiing trees. Fun day thrashing in the forest with a friend!

There are bomber avy-generated snowbridges in the basin leading to Del Campo, once the one that you guys crossed melts out.

I'll pull some of my photos if you guys post actual Vesper shots - hope you had a great day!

* KSkisSloppyCornWithGreens.jpg (95.66 KB, 800x600 - viewed 730 times.)

* DelCampoBasin.jpg (98.93 KB, 600x800 - viewed 768 times.)
« Last Edit: 06/23/08, 09:46 AM by trumpetsailor » Logged


Posts: 6

Re: June 21, 2008 Vesper Peak
« Reply #2 on: 06/23/08, 08:32 AM »

I camped just off the road on friday night and woke at 5am to near daylight (gotta love the longest day of the year). I was hiking on the road by 5:45.

Spotty snow on the road made it a hike instead of a ski-- my guess is the road will become more and more passable by car and open all the way shortly.

The hike from the trail head to the large river crossing is largely a bush whack. Don't worry about losing the trail, just continue heading towards the river. I agree with scottk about descending a couple hundred feet to pass on the snow bridge. From there head straight up the snow field (south, southwest). Regain the trail on the climbers right of the snow field and traverse west into the basin. DO NOT ASCEND THE FIRST CONTINUOUS SNOW YOU SEE. I made that mistake and ended up at the top with nowhere to go and looking down into Wirtz Basin, wondering how I get there (see pic). After skiing down the 600-800 vertical feet, I ran into scottk and his group who were headed to Vesper. Together we entered Wirtz (by "stepping around the corner") and began our skin ascent.

Good skinning took us to the base of the Headlee Pass. It appears as though there are two chutes to climbers right in the the "upper right hand" corner of the basin. Take the one on the left. We saw a bootpack and a took it. I brought an ice axe, but didn't use it, opting for poles. In hindsight, I would suggest using it as a fall would take you into the rocks on the climbers right (fallers left).

From the pass it was a sweet, continuous climb on skins to the summit of Vesper Peak (maybe an hour?). We arrived about 12:15. The skiing options from the summit look endless. With more time, and more stamina, I would have liked to take a couple of runs. Unfortunately, no pics from the ski down.

While skiing down the pass I got a bit cheeky with the tele turns and took a little tumble, fortunately stopping a slide before hitting the rock wall. It could have been bad, so I was lucky. I would recommend a helmet, and more careful skiing. I lost my black Smith sunglasses in the process, so if you find them, enjoy them! The skiing continued (as TAYer dkoelle put it to me) a survival ski down a tree top littered Wirtz basin. Regain the trail, descend the snow patch all the way to the river and the snow bridge crossing. Retrace the entry. I was back at the car by 2:45 or so.

It seems there will be tons of skiing on Vesper for some time to come. With the road clearing more and more, this will remain a great day trip for summer skiing~

more pics here:

* above_wirtz.JPG (51.65 KB, 576x432 - viewed 680 times.)

* group_on_pass.JPG (4.71 KB, 144x108 - viewed 701 times.)

* summit_beer.JPG (5.41 KB, 144x108 - viewed 654 times.)
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