Cheops and Sunrise Peak via Boiling Lake / 經沸騰湖上基奧普斯及日出山

Cheops and Boiling Lake

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For Sunrise Peak in the Pasayten Wilderness, see this post.

The Lowdown on Cheops and Sunrise Peak

Access: Crater Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 4760′-8270′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available

Crater Lake Trailhead to Eagle Lakes Trail

Five years had passed since we climbed the Sawtooth Slam. The mixed-use Crater Creek Trail was still popular among biking enthusiasts. The scenic subalpine forest approach had terrific mountain views straight ahead. There was also the view of the grand Columbia River Basin behind us to the east. The two peaks in my plan were far apart enough to make a pleasant loop trip.

On the Eagle Lakes Trail (#431), I chatted a while with two mountain bikers riding the Golden Lakes Loop. One of them had started pursuing the Bulger List this season. Soon afterward, a dirt biker greeted us by the bench overlooking Lower Eagle Lake. Laer, just below Horsehead Pass, the same man returned with a flat tire. We chatted briefly before he went down the rocky path on one good wheel.

Rest stop
Rest stop with Martin Peak

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Cheops Climb

Memories surfaced as we took our first look at Boiling Lake and Cheops from Horsehead Pass. During our first trip here, we by chance met ranger James. An excellent photographer and a dog lover, he greeted us warmly down by the lake. He had since taken on assignments in various wildernesses but we remained in contact via social media.

A lunch break by the lake outlet, then we hiked through the larch-filled basin to Cheop’s west saddle at 7500′. The Fork Prince Creek Basin to the south looked luscious under the afternoon sun. The craggy yet ledgy west ridge turned out to be manageable. Then at 7800′, we went up on the northwest face filled with choss and scree. Everything there felt unstable and could move at any moment.

Summit awaits
Summit awaits

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Cheops Summit to Deadmans Pass

We carefully traversed northeast below cliff bands to reach a notch south of the summit. Then a short, rocky scramble quickly put us at the top. I could see our destinations from the last two weekends. Not to mention many the highest summits of Washington were all in plain sight. Not too many bugs up here. Only a handful of flies to annoy the heck out of the pup.

Back down on the saddle, we scrambled the gentle south slopes into the basin. Then from there, we got on the Summit Trail (#1258) at 6800′, west of Martin Peak. The open terrain with minimal elevation changes made for a leisurely hike. Expansive meadows with vibrant flowers clear to the head of East Fork Prince Creek below Deadmans Pass. From there, we then dragged our tired bodies up to the pass at 7400′.

Heading southbound on the Summit Trail
Summit Trail southbound

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Sunrise Peak Climb

The aptly named Summer Blossom Trail (#1256) was very dry. We searched a while for water but couldn’t find any. Right before reaching the Sunrise Lake Trail junction (#417B), we scrambled uphill and found a hidden basin. A tiny stream from a tiny snow patch provided the much-needed and the only water source in the vicinity. So we set up camp here.

There were still a few hours until sunset. So the pup and I left for Sunrise Peak less than a mile away. From Sunrise Pass, the ridge crest with dense growth and steep drop-offs didn’t look very inviting. So as a result, we were on the south slopes for the majority of the traverse.

Sunrise Peak west ridge traverse
Sunrise Peak west ridge traverse

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Sunrise Peak Summit Evening Views Plus Outro

We got to the top half an hour before sunset. Several equally high points along the summit ridge looked equal in height. So we walked across all of them. Views were better to the north and the west included many familiar peaks. The beautiful Sunrise Lake in the large basin appeared unfazed by the occasional loud chirping from nearby marmots. As the sun slowly crept toward the horizon, we left the top and headed down the ridge.

Visibility was better traversing down on the ridge. As a result, we were back on the pass in half the time it took to get to the top. We got back to the camp basin just as daylight slowly dwindled. It was another frog-croaking, starry night for star trail photography.

Horsethief Basin sky
Horsethief Basin sky

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Exiting via Merchants Basin

Next morning. we packed up and went back on the pass overlooking Sunrise Lake. The faint trail had lots of loose rocks. Cairns was there to guide us down the east slopes to the lake. A group of campers hung out by the lake as we crossed the lake outlet. From there, we hiked down into the vibrant Merchants Basin. We then went on the Foggy Dew Trail (#417) in the open meadows and headed up to Cooney Pass.

After reaching the glistening Cooney Lake on the north side of the pass, we stopped for a quick break. Then we continued to hike out on Martin Lake Trail (#429). Just before re-entering the forest below Martin Peak, we met a group of seven Golden Lakes Loop bikers. Everyone from the crew stopped us wanting to greet the pup. They were the last people we saw on this trip.

Merchants Basin
Merchants Basin

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