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NikiY

[TR] Vesper Peak - True Grit 9/28/2017

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Trip: Vesper Peak - True Grit

 

Date: 9/28/2017

 

Trip Report:

My friend Sudha called me to let me know that she was driving from Squamish to Smith Rock, and asked if I wanted to climb anything on Thursday while she was passing through Washington. I immediately suggested Ragged Edge on Vesper Peak.

 

We left Seattle around 6:15am and made it to the trailhead a little before 8am and started our hike. After an hour or so we reached the talus and began the slow slog up to headlee pass. Finally at the pass we could see our objective and made quick progress across the basin and up the slabs.

 

According to the guidebook there is a bench at 5,800ft that traverses climbers right around to the north face so we kept going up the slabs until my altimeter said 5,800 and we reached a bench. we started traversing and hit a cliff. Looking down the cliff we could clearly see the ledge we were supposed to be traversing on about 200ft below us. A quick recalibration of my altimeter revealed we were almost 150ft too high and we back tracked until we found the approach trail.

 

By the time we made it to the original start of the ragged edge there was a party of climbers starting the route. AND another party climbing it via the newer start. At this point we decided to do True Grit instead to avoid the traffic jam.

 

As I hadn't climbed in almost a year due to an elbow injury, Sudha took the first lead. In retrospect I probably should have offered to lead it as it was by far the easiest pitch of the climb and would have been a nice, gentle reintroduction to climbing. While I had no trouble following this pitch the easy nature of the pitch didn't led itself to building up my confidence. As such Sudha led the next pitch as well. Some fun chimney moves lead to a well-bolted slab. The moves never felt hard and I arrived at the anchor eager to lead the next pitch.

 

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Sudha finishing the chimney on pitch two.

 

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Me belaying Sudha on the chimney.

 

The third pitch starts out with some slab/thin face climbing. Overall the edges were fairly positive and the whole pitch felt very secure for a slab climb. I don't recall making any pure friction moves.

 

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Climbing pitch three.

 

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Sudha at the belay.

 

Sudha got back on lead for pitch 4 to tackle the finger/hand crack. I found this pitch to be much more difficult than I expected. The crack is uneven and shallow in most places, and even when it widened to perfect hands I found I could rarely get my hand deep enough in the crack to get a solid hand jam. Perhaps with more traffic the dirt in the crack will get cleaned out and the climbing will get a little bit easier.

 

It was once again my turn to lead, and I made quick progress up the slabby and overall unmemorable fifth pitch to the summit.

 

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The summit!

 

After a short break to each lunch on the summit, we started the descent, and after a seemingly endless amount of time hiking down on talus we made it back to the car. Total time was just shy of 8 hours and 45 minutes. Overall I must say this was a fantastic route - especially pitches 2 - 5.

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Nice photos - snuck one in before the snow flies. Man - multiple parties on a Thursday - too many friggin' folks out there. Those routes are seeing a lot of traffic.

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i wonder if anyone ever does the regular n face anymore?

 

Probably not very often. The original route (in Nelson) involves crossing ice/glacier/moat that can be pretty sketchy in late summer, the lower section has loose rock and is the place where Steph nearly lost her leg, and the upper section is slab that is easy but quite run-out.

 

The newer lines involve less risk, lower commitment as they are shorter, more interesting climbing, and a better position.

 

 

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But that open book is certainly worth doing at least once! Not without danger to attain, as you mention.

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