Sunrise Peak and Cheops on Sawtooth Ridge via Boiling Lake / 基奧普斯

  • Reading time:5 mins read

Sunrise Peak and Cheops are two high points on Sawtooth Ridge. Both places also nestle among some of Washington’s highest peaks. The former towers above Sunrise Lake, a popular stopover for backpackers.

Ridge traverse to Sunrise Peak
Ridge traverse to Sunrise Peak

See more trip photos here.

For Sunrise Peak 8144 in the Pasayten Wilderness, see this post.

Sunrise Peak and Cheops at a Glance

Access: Crater Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 4760′-8270′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

Crater Creek Trail

We continued our way south in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness after last week. It’s been five years since we came here to climb the Sawtooth Slam peaks. But this time, my goals were Sunrise Peak and Cheops.

The mixed-use Crater Creek Trail continued to attract outdoor enthusiasts. The scenic subalpine forest route boasted terrific mountain views as well. Then there’s the grand Columbia River Basin behind us to the east.

See more trip photos here.

Eagle Lakes Trail

While on the trail, I chatted with two mountain bikers riding the Golden Lakes Loop. One of them had started going after the Bulger List this season as well. Later we saw a dirt biker by the ledge overlooking Lower Eagle Lake.

We later went up toward Horsehead Pass. Then the same rider returned, but with a flat tire this time. So we chatted a bit about his trip. Afterward, he went down the rocky path on one decent wheel. Mad skills!

Rest stop
Rest stop with Martin Peak

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Boiling Lake

Memories soon surfaced as we got our first look at Boiling Lake and Cheops from Horsehead Pass. During our first trip here, we camped down by the lake. There we met ranger James by chance.

A fantastic photographer and a dog lover, James greeted us warmly by our tent. He has since taken on assignments in various places. But afterward, we stayed in contact through social media.

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Cheops Climb

The pup amd I took a lunch break by the lake outlet. Then we hiked through the larch-filled basin to Cheops’ 7500′ west saddle. From there, Prince Creek Basin to the south looked incredibly lush in the afternoon sun.

The craggy yet ledgy west ridge turned out quite manageable. Then at 7800′, we went up through the chose and scree-filled northwest side. Everything there felt unstable.

Summit awaits
Summit awaits

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Cheops Summit Views

We carefully traversed northeast below cliff bands to a notch just south of the summit. Then a short, rocky scramble put us up at the top. Right away, I saw our goals from the past two weekends.

Many of Washington’s highest peaks were all in plain sight. Thankfully, there weren’t too many bugs up here. But a handful of flies was enough to annoy the heck out of the pup.

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Sunrise Peak via Deadmans Pass

Back down on the saddle, we scrambled the gentle south slopes into the basin. Then from there, we got on the Summit Trail 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 was very dry. Then just before Sunrise Lake Trail junction, we scrambled uphill and found a hidden basin. The tiny stream from a small snow patch provided the only water source. So we set up camp here.

There were still a few hours until sunset. So we left for Sunrise Peak, less than a mile away. From Sunrise Pass, the crest with dense growth and steep drop-offs didn’t look enticing. So we stayed south of the crest for the bulk of the traverse.

Sunrise Peak west ridge traverse
Sunrise Peak west ridge traverse

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Sunrise Peak Summit Views

We arrived on top half an hour before sunset. Several high points along the summit ridge looked equal in height. So we walked across all of them. Views were more decent to the north, plus the many familiar western peaks.

The beautiful Sunrise Lake in the large basin remained unfazed by the occasional loud chirping of marmots. The sun slowly crept toward the horizon. Soon, we left the top and traversed down the ridge.

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Leaving Sunrise Peak

Visibility of the ridgeline was better going the other way. So it took no time for us to be back on the pass. We got into camp just as daylight dwindled. Then it was another frog-croaking and starry night.

Horsethief Basin sky
Horsethief Basin sky

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Sunrise Lake Below Sunrise Peak

The following day, we packed and went back up to the pass overlooking Sunrise Lake. The faded path had lots of loose rocks. But cairns guided us down the east slopes to the water.

A group of campers hung out by the lake as we crossed the outlet. From there, we went into the vibrant Merchants Basin. Shortly, we went on Foggy Dew Trail in the open meadows and aimed for Cooney Pass.

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Exiting Merchants Basin

Later we went over the pass and reached the glistening Cooney Lake on the north side. Then we stopped for a quick break there. Soon, we hiked out on Martin Lake Trail.

Right before we re-entered the forest below Martin Peak, we met a group of seven Golden Lakes Loop bikers. Everyone stopped us wanting to greet the pup. Then they were the last people we saw on this trip.

Merchants Basin
Merchants Basin

See more trip photos here.

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