2017/7/22-23 – Cheops + Sunrise Peak / 基奧普斯+日出山

Cheops and Boiling Lake
Cheops and Boiling Lake

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Five years had passed since we first visited Sawtooth Slam peaks. The mixed use Crater Creek Trail was especially popular among biking enthusiasts. The scenic subalpine forest approach had terrific mountain views straight ahead, as well as views of the grand Columbia River Basin behind us to the east. The two peaks in the plan were far enough apart to make a nice loop trip.

On the Eagle Lakes Trail (#431) I chatted awhile with two mountain bikers riding the Golden Lakes Loop. One of whom had started working on the Bulger List this season. A dirt biker greeted us before the bench overlooking Lower Eagle Lake. Later, just below Horsehead Pass the dirt biker returned with a flat. We chatted for a few before he headed down the rocky trail on one good tire.

Rest stop
Rest stop with Martin Peak

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Memories surfaced as we got our first look at Boiling Lake and Cheops from the pass. During our initial trip we met ranger James, an excellent photographer and a dog lover, who greeted us warmly down by the lake. He had since taken on assignments in various wildernesses but we remained in contact via Flickr.

Lunch break by the lake outlet, then we hiked through the larch-filled basin to Cheop’s west saddle at 7,500′. Middle Fork Prince Creek Basin to the south looked especially luscious under the afternoon sun. Craggy yet ledgy west ridge turned out to be quite manageable to 7,800′ before needing to get onto northwest face overrun by choss and scree. Everything there felt unstable and could potentially slide downhill at any moment.

Summit awaits
Summit awaits

Photos from this trip can be found here.

We carefully traversed northeastward below cliff bands to reach a notch just south of the summit. Then a short, rocky scramble put us at the top. Our destinations from previous two weekends, together with many the highest summits of Washington we summited in years past, were all in plain sight. Not many bugs up here, just a handful of flies to annoy the heck out of my climbing partner.

Back at the saddle we scrambled down gentle south slopes into the basin and picked up Summit Trail (#1258) at 6,800′ west of Martin Peak. Open terrain with elevation gain/loss of plus or minus 200′ made for a relaxing and enjoyable hike. Boundless meadows, with vibrant flowers strewing high and low, clear to the head of East Fork Prince Creek below Deadmans Pass. We then dragged our tired bodies to the pass at 7,400′.

Southbound on Summit Trail
Southbound on summit trail

Photos from this trip can be found here.

The aptly named Summer Blossom Trail (#1256) was quite dry, as we searched for water source but none to be had. Just before connecting with Sunrise Lake Trail (#417B), we headed uphill and discovered a hidden basin. A tiny stream flowing out of a small snow patch provided the much-needed and the only water source in the vicinity, so we set up camp here.

Still a few hours till sunset, so pup and I left for Sunrise Peak less than a mile away. From Sunrise Pass the ridge line didn’t look conducive to traversing on the crest. Dense growth plus steep drop-off on the north forced us onto south slopes for majority of the traverse.

Not so fun ridge traverse
Not so fun ridge traverse

Photos from this trip can be found here.

We got to the top half hour before sunset. Several seemingly equally high points along summit ridge, so we walked across all of them to be sure. Better views to the north and the west with many familiar high points. Beautiful Sunrise Lake in the large basin seemed unfazed by the occasional loud chirping from nearby marmots. As the sun began to crawl near the horizon, we quickly packed up and headed down the ridge.

With better visibility, the downward ridge traverse got us back to the pass in nearly half of the time it took to get up, and we got back to the camp basin just as daylight began to dwindle. Another frog croaking starry night for a star trail shoot.

Horsethief Basin sky
Horsethief Basin sky

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Next morning we packed up and got back on the pass overlooking Sunrise Lake. The loose and sometimes faint trail (with the aid of cairns) switchbacked down the east slopes to the lake. A group of campers hung out by the lake as we crossed the lake outlet and hiked down into the vivacious Merchants Basin. We picked up Foggy Dew Trail (#417) in the open meadows and headed for Cooney Pass.

Down by the glistening Cooney Lake, we took a short break then proceeded to hike out on Martin Lake Trail (#429). Just before entering the forest below Martin Peak, a group of seven Golden Lakes Loop bikers stopped us awhile to play with the pup. They were the last people we saw on this trip.

Merchants Basin
Merchants Basin

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Access: Crater Creek Trail > Eagle Lakes Trail > Summit Trail
Gear: helmet


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s