Sperry Peak  - 6000'
Vesper Peak  - 6214'
Miles: 9 Gain: 5000' GT Sloan #109/Silverton #110
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Sperry Peak has been on the list ever since Carrie, John and I scrambled up Vesper in 2006.   To look at it, there doesn't seem to be a likely scramble route up the cliffy west face of this peak, but the Mountaineers rate it just a T4.  Meaning that not only was there an established route, but it isn't really all that technically difficult.

I got to the trail head at the end of FS4065 (marked Sunrise Mine Road) and was hiking by about 8:15a.  Overcast but not all that cool, the forecast at 5000' was for partly sunny by afternoon and about 65 degrees.  Perfect.

The trail wanders through the forest for a 1/3 mile or so before crossing the creek on downed trees.  Easy today as this late in summer there isn't much water, but I bet it's a challenge earlier in the season.  After that you climb switchbacks steeply up to Wirtz Basin.  Good news is that along the way, there were actually some huckleberries to graze.  By mid September most of them should be at peak ripeness.

Once up in the basin, you can look to the head of the valley.  The trail exits right past the last stand of trees and makes for Headlee Pass.  Closer in, on your right about 100' up the cliff face there is a small opening in the rock which I was told is the Sperry (Sunrise?) Mine. Tailings excavated from the mine spill down the slope below.

At the head of the valley follow the trail as it ascends to the pass. Today the valley was overcast and foggy the higher you went. But at the pass, suddenly all was blue sky and sunshine. And surprisingly warm.

From Headlee drop 100' and then begin a rising traverse across talus to Vesper Lake (aka Lake Elan).  To scramble Vesper, cross the outlet stream and pick up the path leading up a heather rib to the summit.  For Sperry, stay on the east side of the creek and follow around the to the north end of the lake. 

Aim for the low point on the ridge between Sperry's west shoulder and Vesper's east.  Great fun scrambling up the granite slabs here.  Just pick the angle of the ramp you want and give the vibram a workout.

On the ridge you'll find a boot path which will lead to the basin below Sperry's cliffy summit.  The path starts out on the crest, dropping off a bit to the south side before landing you into the basin.  The path through the basin is indistinct, but the route goes basically straight up from where you entered. The further rightward you go before starting up, the more difficult the ascent looks to be.

If you stay to the left and below the ridge crest from the basin, you'll eventually run across the path as it ingeniously pierces the cliffs and emerges just west of the summit.  Many times you'll need to pull yourself up a step using a small tree but nothing else requiring more than the occasional use of hands.

There is a nicely reclined flat rock close to the summit which on a day like today was comfortably warmed by the sun.  I spent nearly an hour and a half on the summit an didn't have a single visitor.  I looked but didn't find a register. 

When a group finally did arrive I was ready to go and headed back to the saddle.  When I got there I looked up and could see Vesper.  So close.   Knees felt OK and it was just 1:30 or so... rationalizing that since I had already gained the 3100' to get to this saddle it just made sense to go ahead and do Vesper as well.  Yes?

Continuing along the ridge past the saddle above the lake the path quickly fades out in game trails and granite.  But it's not too difficult to pick your way northeast toward Vesper.  Once there, slabs galore invite you to take whatever path you choose.  Left, right or center all work.  

Met a large group of folks from Seattle who were kind enough to share some of their water and provide a refill at the lake.  Since I hadn't planned to extend the day to include Vesper I didn't bring much extra water or my filter.

Met Debbie and her friend Renetta who were also out for the day on Vesper.  A nice long summit stay again before heading down.  Uneventful hike back to the car and the end of a long but very enjoyable day.

Drive US Hwy 2 east from I-5 to Hwy. 9 at Lake Stevens (Frontier Village).  Go north on Hwy 9 to Hwy 92 and follow east to Granite Falls.  At the east end of town, go left (north) on the Mountain Loop Hwy.  Pass the Verlot Public Service Center and continue for approx 18 miles to Sunrise Mine Road (FS 4065).  Turn right and follow to the trail head at the end of the road (2.7 miles).
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