Let’s cut to the chase. Vesper Peak is a tough hike. A very tough hike.
You’re in a forest on a rugged trail full of roots. Then switchbacking up a steep meadow on a rocky trail. Then climbing up through a rock valley chasing cairn to cairn before scrambling up a steep chute only to descend after passing through Headlee Pass. From there it’s a game of hop skip and jump along a rocky trail before making the final ascent to the summit with no discernible trail to be found (seriously, thank you other hikers…cairns were lifesavers on this trail).
I took a leisurely start to the hike, beginning at 12:30 one afternoon. Halfway into the hike, some fellow hikers who were descending chuckled at me, noting that they had started their trek at 5:30 that morning. Huh? Did I miss something?? I thought this trail was only 9 miles roundtrip. Uh oh, better get busting.
And bust I did. Go go gadget legs. Another 10 minutes along and I luckily ran into another hiker descending. Taking note of her “I am Northwest” trucker hat and fantastic Aasgard Pass arm tattoo, I was quick to gut check the predicted time to get up to the summit. Always trust hiking knowledge from someone with an Aasgard Pass arm tattoo. Whew…I can do this.
Up, up, up…up, up, up and up I went with a 4,100 ft. climb to a 6,200 ft. peak (and I do mean peak) with one of the most spectacular panoramic views I’ve ever enjoyed in the North Cascades. That look at the end? That’s the look of a hiker with leg muscles burning who packed too little water (rookie mistake) on a hot summer day and is about to down 2 liters of ice water.
Vesper Peak. A toughie but a goodie. Go get it.