Vesper Peak

North Cascades, Washington

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Vesper Peak


  • The route up to Vesper Peak.- Vesper Peak
  • Base camp at Elan Lake.- Vesper Peak
  • The ascent from base camp at Elan Lake.- Vesper Peak
  • Climbing at sunrise to Vesper Peak.- Vesper Peak
  • Sperry Peak.- Vesper Peak
  • Up the ridge to the summit.- Vesper Peak
  • Mountain view from Vesper Peak.- Vesper Peak
  • Lots of room on the summit.- Vesper Peak
  • Views from the summit of Vesper Peak.- Vesper Peak
  • View from the summit toward Copper Lake.- Vesper Peak
  • Views from the summit of Vesper Peak.- Vesper Peak
  • Looking toward Morning Star from Vesper Peak.- Vesper Peak
  • Views from the summit of Vesper Peak.- Vesper Peak
  • Views from the summit of Vesper Peak.- Vesper Peak
  • View back down the path- Vesper Peak
  • Morning Star- Vesper Peak
  • Vesper Peak from base camp at Elan Lake.- Vesper Peak
  • Traverse back to Headlee Pass.- Vesper Peak
  • The trek back to the trailhead.- Vesper Peak
  • Flash flood gulley on the return.- Vesper Peak
Overview + Weather
Great views. Old-growth forest. Lake.
Can have some big crowds.
North Cascades, WA
Pets allowed: 
Recommended Equipment:
Ice axe / crampons
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade III
Net Elevation Gain: 
4,100.00 ft (1,249.68 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
9.00 mi (14.48 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,100.00 ft (640.08 m)
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


Vesper Peak offers excellent views of nearby peaks and lakes and is a great intermediate climb, whether you are headed up for an intense one-day ascent or taking an overnight at Elan Lake for a multi-day trip to Vesper and neighboring Sperry Peak.

The standard route leaves from the Sunrise Mine Trailhead and proceeds through dense old-growth and a few stream crossings. One crossing in particular, through the South Fork of the Stillaguamish, can be challenging, and it can be helpful to carry a pair of shoes or sandals that you don’t mind getting wet. The route ascends a brushy avalanche slope and passes Wirtz Basin; you will need to climb the steep slope between Sperry Peak and the north side of Morning Star.

The trail can be difficult to spot, but there are numerous cairns in place to help. The elevation gain becomes much steeper and the terrain much narrower once you’re through Headlee Pass. Note that this pass can be hazardous in winter, and proficiency with crampons and an ice ax is recommended.

You’ll see Vesper Peak from the top of the 4,600-foot pass, and the trail begins a traverse to the right toward Elan Lake (also known as Vesper Lake). Continue to follow the main path that puts you on large slabs for the last 1000 feet to the summit. This summit is rather large for relaxing and can hold many people. Check for the summit register in a brass tube, and enjoy the sweeping views.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(51 within a 30 mile radius)

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