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| |-+  May 2006 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak
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Author Topic: May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak  (Read 3022 times)
Pete A
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May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak
« on: 05/22/06, 08:32 AM »

road was snow free, trail also snow free till 3000' in Wirtz basin...from there we were on continuous snow except for 20' or so at Headlee pass.  The creek crossings were ugly..the last one (of three I think) was the worst.  At first we couldn't find anything reasonable and almost decided to head for Del Campo at the head of the valley to see what we could ski there.

What looks like the usual summer log crossing is only a couple feet above a raging torrent of water, but about 100' up the drainage there a jumble of rocks and logs that can be used...if your boots are relatively watertight you'll be fine, otherwise approach sneakers might be useful.

Wirtz basin had a ton of slide debris and torn up trees, it was hard to tell if this was a recent event or something that was just melting out from earlier this winter.

Got to the top of Vesper in time to still have views before the rain set in.

great views from up there, south to the Lemah mtns, north to Pickets, and east to Glacier Peak west to seattle and the Olympics...I hadn't climbed anything in the mountain loop highway area before so the new view was a real treat.

Snow wasn't too soupy on the way down, but was a little slow and grabby. 

Looks like Vesper will still be a reasonable ski for at least another week or so.
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prestonf
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Re: May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak
« Reply #1 on: 05/22/06, 11:17 AM »

We got a little wet, both at the river crossings and in the rain, but we loved this tour.  One thing we didn't count on was having to scramble around the vertical bit at the top of Headlee pass.  Downclimbing the loose rock back into the gully on the descent, with boards on back, felt pretty sketchy! 

You might be able to see yourself up towards the summit in this pic:




River crossing on the way out.


Cheers
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Pete A
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Re: May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak
« Reply #2 on: 05/22/06, 11:31 AM »

nice to meet ya Preston...and thanks for the creek crossing beta for the hike out, probably saved us a half hour of bushwacking back up to where we crossed on the way in.

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philfort
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Re: May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak
« Reply #3 on: 05/22/06, 01:41 PM »

One thing we didn't count on was having to scramble around the vertical bit at the top of Headlee pass. 

Sounds like you took the wrong gully!  Wink  The correct gully is straightforward, no scrambling.
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Pete A
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Re: May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak
« Reply #4 on: 05/22/06, 02:07 PM »

phil, i'm 99% sure we were all in the correct gully (unless my partner who's done the rock climb twice before has been going up the wrong path each time).
the last bit of snow to the pass, maybe 10 feet or so was almost dead vertical (i think thats the 'vertical bit' Preston was referring to), maybe the remnant of an old cornice or windlip..too steep for just a whippet and no crampons...but it was easily bypassed by going up a short section of rock ledges on either side.






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prestonf
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Re: May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak
« Reply #5 on: 05/22/06, 03:46 PM »

That was my fourth time up there and I still can't remember which is the right gulley.  I think I've taken a different one each time.  Pete and his partner had already kicked steps, so we had no choice but to follow Wink.

Old cornice.



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philfort
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Re: May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak
« Reply #6 on: 05/22/06, 04:08 PM »

Oh, I thought you meant a rock step, not a snow step... Embarrassed
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alexf
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Re: May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak
« Reply #7 on: 05/22/06, 05:05 PM »

Thanks PeteA for kicking the steps up to the pass.  It was a surprisingly really great trip, particularly for a splitboard.  After reassembling the snowboard it stayed together for the rest of the way out....very nice.
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Kinetic
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Re: May 21, 2006, Vesper Peak
« Reply #8 on: 05/23/06, 08:13 AM »

I've tried both gulleys and they both can be a challenge near the top, depending on snow conditions.
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