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#1112076 - 09/16/13 09:52 PM [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013
dberdinka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/29/00
Posts: 2093
TRs: 39 Photos: 569
Loc: Bellingham
Trip: Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge

Date: 8/18/2013

Trip Report:
Back in August Gene Pires and I wandered up to the north face of Vesper Peak to check out the steeper and much neglected eastern half of the face. We managed to climb the obvious exposed edge along its right-hand side. The position and the underlying rock quality were generally fantastic but the climbing itself was horrible due to a thick layer of lichen, heather and dirt that covered the face. Rock cruxes were protected by beaks, belays tended to be marginal and the actual crux involved mantling across a series of quivering hummocks. A good time was had by all (I think) but it sure as hell wasn’t anything you’d recommend to a friend.

So when I finally finagled two days to myself rather than hang out with friends, or go somewhere new or actually get in some pitches I carried a 70 pound pack of bolting, cleaning and bivi gear back to the summit of Vesper Peak. A dozen retro-bolts and fifteen hours of scrubbing later the end result is a potentially enjoyable six-pitch 5.6 or 5.7 rock climb in a stellar setting. The rock is excellent, the climbing is sustained at a very moderate grade, the position is spectacular and the protection and belays are solid and well situated. It’s pretty easy to overestimate the quality of your own routes but this has to be one of the better moderate and accessible alpine rock climbs on the west side of the Cascades.

I should point out that what we did was essentially a series of major variations to the “Center Route” established in 1969. The fourth pitch was shared in common and probably the first pitch of the original start otherwise we had stayed further right near the edge. Pretty bold climbing they did back in the day.

Until nature gives it a solid pressure washing the grit left behind from cleaning will inevitably collect in some of the cracks and edges I scrubbed. If someone heads up there this year consider bringing a small stiff bristled brush or at least a nut tool to clean off some holds. Would be psyched to hear feedback if anyone climbs it.

Click image for larger version



Approach Description

The trail fades out as you enter the basin between Vesper and Sperry Peaks. Cross the outlet of the lake and follow an obvious talus ridgeline up to a col between the peaks. The climb is accessed by a ledge system that cuts across the north face of Vesper at about 5800’ elevation and begins at a small notch overlooking the Vesper Glacier. Allow 3+ hours for the approach.

Walk out the ledge on steep exposed heather (snow until mid-late summer?). When you can’t walk any further either (A) scramble up over an obvious chockstone formed by a large, thin flake to a belay ledge or (B) as a variation backtrack a bit and figure out an exposed 3rd class traverse down and around the toe of a buttress before scrambling back up to an obvious and clean 5.6 layback crack (better start). The 3rd class slabs at mid-height on the first pitch could easily be accessed after climbing the lower half of the north face as well.


Route Description: The ratings below are potentially soft. Bring a full set of nuts small to large and a single set of cams from #0 TCU to #3 Camalot with extra #0.75 and #1.

Original Start - Red Line

P1) Climb approximately 60’ of low-5th terrain to 3rd class slabs. Continue up the obvious flaky gully and arrange a gear belay just below a short overhanging wall (low-5th 170’).

P2) Traverse right on a long, thin ledge then a short gully to a fixed belay on the skyline (4th 60’).

Slightly contrived variation start with better climbing - Blue Line

P1) Climb a nice layback flake then a low-angle groove to 3rd class slabs. Traverse hard right then follow the highest grassy ledge system approximately 40’ to a gear belay below a faint white dyke splitting a slab (5.6 160’). Note that you can also reach this belay from the original start as well.

P2) Climb the dyke past three bolts to a thin ledge. Traverse right and up a short gully to a fixed anchor on the skyline (5.7 90’).

P3) Step right then traverse back left on positive edges towards the skyline. Find a bolt then continue up a nice arête protected by fixed pins. Arrange a gear belay atop a heather ledge (5.7 95’).

P4) Step right and climb steep, stacked blocks. Easy zig-zag cracks above lead to a fixed anchor. I aggressively trundled loose and semi-loose blocks off this pitch but some caution is still advised (5.7 95’).

P5) Step right again and climb straight up in an exposed position. At the second bolt traverse right 50’ to a fixed anchor on the skyline (5.7 80’).

P6) Follow the nice arête to a final touch of heather and the summit. (5.5 130’). Walk off to the southeast.


A lot of the greenery in the following three photos is now gone.












Never heard good things about the lower wall. Maybe a direct starts needs a scrub-down next year.


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#1112078 - 09/16/13 10:10 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
Tyson.g Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 980
TRs: 7 Photos: 133
Loc: Bellingham
Nice one! tup
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#1112080 - 09/16/13 10:20 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: Tyson.g]
JasonG Online   sleepy
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 1799
TRs: 74 Photos: 1068
Loc: Mount Vernon
Thanks for all your hard work on this! I just may have to check this out sooner rather than later.
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#1112082 - 09/16/13 10:32 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
Rad Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/11/03
Posts: 2131
TRs: 23 Photos: 569
Loc: The Emerald City
Wow. Scrubbing and bolting a multi-pitch line many hours from the road? Must be true love. Thanks for the effort. I enjoyed the lower part of the face but probably started further right than most do.
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Earth and stone echo my bone.

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#1112085 - 09/16/13 10:52 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
ivan Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 15407
TRs: 111 Photos: 1635
Loc: Oceania
pts for future community service sentences smile
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Ignorance is Strength
War is Peace
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#1112095 - 09/17/13 07:29 AM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
kurthicks Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 04/22/03
Posts: 2518
TRs: 21 Photos: 316
Loc: Seattle
Gene was telling me about this. I need to put it on my list! Nice work Darin.
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#1112132 - 09/17/13 02:02 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
Alex Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 4562
TRs: 22 Photos: 86
Loc: Seattle, WA, USA
thanks for your effort Darin, I will def go in and do it, as the position is amazing on that peak, and skipping the bottom junky pitches is also good

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#1112158 - 09/17/13 07:49 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
genepires Online   content
spray'prentice

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 3435
TRs: 8 Photos: 59
Loc: monroe-ville
damn D, save me the trouble of going back in there for the hard manual labor. was planning on trudging up there this fall. Now I can just go in with light pack and send the radness.
Any fools wanna hit the second (or third) ascent?
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climbing is good enough for a lifetime but a lifetime is not good enough for climbing.

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#1112159 - 09/17/13 07:51 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
genepires Online   content
spray'prentice

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 3435
TRs: 8 Photos: 59
Loc: monroe-ville
somewhere below in the photos are girls in bikinis. really.
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climbing is good enough for a lifetime but a lifetime is not good enough for climbing.

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#1112178 - 09/17/13 10:57 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: genepires]
dberdinka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/29/00
Posts: 2093
TRs: 39 Photos: 569
Loc: Bellingham
If any of you get on it this year I'll be real curious to see if I'm not just full of shit.

Just one more pic of a real beautiful nook in the Cascades.

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You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!

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#1112215 - 09/18/13 03:50 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
JasonG Online   sleepy
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 1799
TRs: 74 Photos: 1068
Loc: Mount Vernon
THAT is one fantastic image. I need to plan more high alpine bivies. Thanks.
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#1112218 - 09/18/13 04:41 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: JasonG]
hanman Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 12/11/02
Posts: 364
TRs: 25 Photos: 266
Loc: Arlington
Wow- nice work Darin.Really cool that you went up there, nothing but respect for the amount of work expended to reveal this gem. Love that last shot, the peak in the foreground is Wolf Peak, Howling Ridge is the left skyline in the sun. Amazing photo of that! An excellent under appreciated 5.8 route as well.

MH

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#1112233 - 09/18/13 08:45 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
olyclimber Offline

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 24464
TRs: 31 Photos: 838
Loc: In Love with You
what a cool chunk of rock.
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SNACKS!!!!!

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#1112288 - 09/19/13 03:31 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
OlegV Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 08/14/04
Posts: 591
TRs: 19 Photos: 244
Loc: Potland, OR
strong work!

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#1112295 - 09/19/13 04:24 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
genepires Online   content
spray'prentice

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 3435
TRs: 8 Photos: 59
Loc: monroe-ville
Of the 4 FA's I have done with Darin, I think this route may actually get a second ascent.
It deserves fairly regular traffic and is actually more fun than the normal n face route. Oh the heresy!
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climbing is good enough for a lifetime but a lifetime is not good enough for climbing.

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#1112311 - 09/19/13 11:04 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
ZakG Offline
stranger

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 7
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Loc: Ballard WA
That is an incredible photo from that area. When was it taken? Is that a September picutre?

Oh, I realized that it was from the same trip, by the same person...


Edited by ZakG (09/29/13 10:57 PM)
Edit Reason: cluelessness

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#1112312 - 09/19/13 11:15 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
Tom_Sjolseth Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 501
TRs: 45 Photos: 1948
Loc: Wenatchee (The Kent of the Eas...
That's awesome! Nice work, Darin.
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#1115971 - 11/18/13 09:06 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
mountainsloth Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 762
TRs: 25 Photos: 568
Loc: Seatte, WA
tup tup
I spent 5 nights in the vesper/sperry basin with a group of teens this past summer and have a new found love for that corner of the cascades. Way to make it that much better.

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#1115993 - 11/19/13 03:12 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: hanman]
Off_White Offline

Capricious Warlord

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 9192
TRs: 22 Photos: 353
Loc: Tenino
Originally Posted By: hanman
Wow- nice work Darin.Really cool that you went up there, nothing but respect for the amount of work expended to reveal this gem. Love that last shot, the peak in the foreground is Wolf Peak, Howling Ridge is the left skyline in the sun. Amazing photo of that! An excellent under appreciated 5.8 route as well.

MH


I just twigged to the fact that there is a shot looking down Howling Ridge back in Darin's pics, and it was clearly the vantage where he took his excellent beta pic of Vesper.
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#1115996 - 11/19/13 03:55 PM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
dberdinka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/29/00
Posts: 2093
TRs: 39 Photos: 569
Loc: Bellingham
Howling Wolf Ridge has a great name. On the drive in, shortly before the parking lot, there is a great vantage point of the valley including Howling Wolf. In the middle of the ridge there is a rock formation on the skyline that looks exactly like a howling wolf. As a climb it looked a bit dirty but who knows.
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You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!

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#1128163 - 08/13/14 07:23 AM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
jared_j Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/15/06
Posts: 292
TRs: 0 Photos: 37
Loc: Trip planning
Anyone been up in this recently? I'm thinking about it as an alternative to the regular N face route. Sounds cool, curious if nature has tried to re-take it with lichen.


Edited by jared_j (08/13/14 07:23 AM)

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#1128164 - 08/13/14 08:05 AM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
genepires Online   content
spray'prentice

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 3435
TRs: 8 Photos: 59
Loc: monroe-ville
should be fine. alpine fine that is. not squamish fine.
_________________________
climbing is good enough for a lifetime but a lifetime is not good enough for climbing.

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#1128493 - 08/25/14 07:54 AM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
dberdinka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/29/00
Posts: 2093
TRs: 39 Photos: 569
Loc: Bellingham
Has anyone jumped on this this summer? I thought it was easy and spectacular enough to get a heap of traffic. Maybe I was wrong?
_________________________
You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!

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#1128495 - 08/25/14 08:04 AM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
tvashtarkatena Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 09/25/06
Posts: 19139
TRs: 99 Photos: 16
Loc: ked Down
People go where the guidebooks tell them to.
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#1128496 - 08/25/14 08:43 AM Re: [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013 [Re: dberdinka]
BootsandPants Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/02/11
Posts: 256
TRs: 13 Photos: 29
Loc: under there
Originally Posted By: dberdinka
Has anyone jumped on this this summer? I thought it was easy and spectacular enough to get a heap of traffic. Maybe I was wrong?


I actually just climbed this yesterday. It looked more interesting and aesthetic than the standard NF route we were thinking about.

The lichen is back and we threw off a few sizable chunks of moss, but we gave it a bit of cleaning on our way up. There's still one very large, loose block on P4 that's a bit scary. My partner stepped on it and it teetered and rumbled; couldn't get it to bust free though. It's easily avoidable, just be careful. The rock was solid for the rest of the climb overall (I chucked off a few pieces here and there).

Darrin isn't full of shit; I thought it was a fun day out on a great line. Very reasonable and easy climbing; it was a nice break from going balls to the wall for the past month. The position is impressive and striking, and the views back behind you are fantastic. Really nice thing to do that's so close to home. Thanks for putting it up and the new hardware!
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