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dberdinka

first ascent [TR] Vesper Peak - The Ragged Edge 8/18/2013

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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.

 

Paging Dr. Kaplan. Dr. Kaplan to the Earth Ward, stat.

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

 

Good to hear. I wonder if the lichens actually grown back or if in my day and half of cleaning I just didn't quite get it all. The start of pitch 4 had stacks of loose rock before cleaning. I aggressively cleaned it all off. I do recall one wedged block that rattled a bit but made a good foot and wasn't going anywhere. Definitely a spot to tread lightly.

 

 

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Good to hear. I wonder if the lichens actually grown back or if in my day and half of cleaning I just didn't quite get it all.

 

Quite possibly, it definitely wasn't crazy dirty or anything; pretty much par the course for alpine climbing in the cascades. I've climbed plenty dirtier things around here. I just got back from some time in the Bugs, so my perception of alpine rock is a bit skewed at the moment.

 

Bottom line: people should go climb this.

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The route was definitely getting some love this weekend -- three parties on it Sunday morning. Really fun, sustained climbing in great position. The "touch of heather" at the top is a bit sporting.

 

Really appreciate the effort required to put together a well-protected alpine route.

 

We didn't find anything large and loose on P4. Either it managed to seat itself or someone cleaned it within the last two weeks.

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I was up there yesterday. Unknown whether I was one of the parties counted in the above post, as we were probably last to summit that day (about 5pm). Outer-Space busy!

 

There was a party of six(!) on the route when we got there and they were stuck (not moving) for a long time, most likely on p5. It might be useful for potential climbers of this route to note that p5, while awesome, entails a horizontal traverse above the lip of of an overhanging cliff. Some may find it quite intimidating and there would be no comfort in being the second (i.e. due to the horizontal nature there is no toprope). Thus, I would suggest not bringing climbers along that are not comfortable leading 5.7. And if you do bring them up there, make sure that they have the equipment and knowledge to ascend a rope, just in case.

 

Great route. It's really fun and sustained for its grade, has outstanding position and amazing views, is easy to get to and has a walkoff descent. But be ready for crowds! :)

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3 separate parties - with the slowest in front.

 

Offering to let an obviously faster party pass might cost you 15 minutes. The cost to faster parties stuck behind a slower can cost them hours.

 

Just something for less experienced parties on busy routes to think about.

 

The route is very scenic, exposed, straightforward, and well protected.

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Yeah. With so many great options these days it's nice to see something one put some effort into achieve the "Critical Mass" that will keep it clean and enjoyable.

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Offering to let an obviously faster party pass might cost you 15 minutes. The cost to faster parties stuck behind a slower can cost them hours.

 

Just something for less experienced parties on busy routes to think about.

 

When the less experienced, slow-ass party starting the Ragged Edge asks you which route you're planning to climb and you grunt back, "The North Face" one might be forgiven for thinking that you were planning to climb the north face of Vesper.

 

Sorry that we dashed your hopes of speed record. But, honestly, the witty banter at the belay ledges was good enough that we wanted to keep you around (seriously, no sarcasm).

 

Next time, feel free to ask the slower parties to pass. We would have been happy to find a way to let you pass. Just something for the more experience, faster parties to think about.

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Is this route the modernized Sumner-Heath-Oas 1969 route?

Edited by num1mc

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It could be described as such, though the preferred right-hand start only shares a portion of one pitch in common out of six while the easier start shares the first pitch as well. Generally it stays further right closer to the edge.

 

I did retro-bolt the anchor on the shared pitch (P4 of the topo) as it required pins to put together a so-so belay.

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Very nice anchors, BTW. Leader have your camera ready for top of P5 (traverse) - the view of your follower with Glacier Peak in the background, although a challenging exposure shot - is really scenic.

 

The wall's lichened, but the route itself is quite clean.

 

As far as a rack goes, we actually placed the following:

 

C4: #3 blue, 1 red, .75 green, .5 purple

M TCU: #3 orange

Alien: green, yellow

C3: #1 burgundy

DMM offset nut: #9 red

BD offset micronut: #6

 

Runners:

1 quick draw

7 extendables

4 doubles (also used for anchors)

 

 

 

 

 

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Some friends and I climbed this route this past weekend...great position, stunning views, and fun climbing abound! Just remember to bring lots of beer and whiskey!

Random pics from the climb...

photo75.JPG

photo_4_10.JPG

photo_1_17.JPG

photo_3_2.JPG

10339431_10152608371453280_9112476620300591483_o.jpg

photo_2_18.JPG

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Just remember to bring lots of beer and whiskey!

and fleece? Looks a tad shady this time of year.

 

Also looks like a fine climb - glad it's catching on.

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Just remember to bring lots of beer and whiskey!

and fleece? Looks a tad shady this time of year.

 

Also looks like a fine climb - glad it's catching on.

 

The shade is what made it perfect for the hot day we climbed it on.

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Climbed this yesterday, what a fun route!  There were probably 30 climbers sharing the stoke on Ragged Edge and True Grit with a gaggle of international tourists at the top applauding as we summited.  

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1 hour ago, Bronco said:

There were probably 30 climbers sharing the stoke

Is it just me, or has use of all types exploded in the Cascades in the last 3-5 years?  It seems like a couple hundred percent increase, maybe more, in that short time.

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I was out there on Fish and Whistle yesterday and "only" counted 13 climbers on various routes on the face, including my friend and I. That was in the morning before 11 or 12. Not sure when Bronco counted 30. Anyway, it's quite evident that that area specifically is getting a lot of use. The trail was noticeably more beaten in since the last time I was there. Ragged edge and True Grit are becoming/have become mega popular. 

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30 could be a little high but we were at the approach ledge at 9:30 and there were already multiple groups on the face that probably summited by 11:00.  I assume a bunch of folks camped out at the lake Friday night and were climbing shortly after dawn. We counted approximately a dozen different parties, some with 3 climbers.  Certainly not the place to be if you're looking for solace. 

I do agree with Jason, there are a lot more folks out climbing these days.

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My mistake, my pre-coffee morning brain took your yesterday as Sunday for some reason when you meant Saturday. That just puts the usage into better perspective. I don't think the newer routes on Vesper will have any problem staying clean.

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I'm not sure I would have done what I did if I had realized how popular those routes would become.   The trail is noticeably being pounded into dust and I've become old enough to feel an intrinsic need to kick over the preponderance of unnecessary cairns.   How many hundreds of pounds of fecal matter are now hiding under rocks in that gorgeous basin?  Whatever you do don't drink the water without (heavily) treating it.  Of course Vesper seems to have blown up with hikers/instagram crowd about the same time, so maybe that area would have been hammered rock climbs or not.

Jason, I just spent Friday night at Image Lake with my family.  No one else until early evening when a very chatty party of two showed up.   Saw only a handful of folks heading that direction over the weekend as we hiked out the Suiattle.   Talking to the volunteer manning the Miners Ridge lookout, in the 1960's over 200 people would be at Image Lake on summer weekends.  He said that in the early 1970's over 1,200 people were recorded at Capa Lava/Sand Point on a a single day.  So crowds and heavy use are nothing new.  Maybe just the location du jour changes or it all just ebbs or flows.  Ultimately it falls back on managing the individual impact which clearly a lot of current backcountry recreationists are falling short on.

BTW kmfoerster what did you think of Fish & Whistle?  I really liked it, thought it was the best route up there, but apparently some have not been so impressed.  

   

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17 minutes ago, dberdinka said:

Maybe just the location du jour changes or it all just ebbs or flows

So true.  I too have heard of the 1960's and 70's crowds.  I'm beginning to realize that the 90's were a pretty good time to start climbing.  Gen X was too busy hanging around town!

And Image is on my list for sure....need to work up to it with the boys.  Thanks for the reminder!

And I need to check out Fish and Whistle!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, dberdinka said:

BTW kmfoerster what did you think of Fish & Whistle?  I really liked it, thought it was the best route up there, but apparently some have not been so impressed.  

It was awesome! My buddy and I connected p1,2 and p3,4. I think that's the best way to do it if you're both comfortable at the grade. I wish pitch 5 went on forever, so good! Overall such a quality route. You did a great job with the Vesper routes man. I wouldn't feel too much regret if I were you, that face is just begging to be climbed. I think having more routes on it was just inevitable. 

Edited by kmfoerster

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On 8/4/2019 at 9:21 PM, JasonG said:

Is it just me, or has use of all types exploded in the Cascades in the last 3-5 years?  It seems like a couple hundred percent increase, maybe more, in that short time.

IIRC there was a bit of a lull in usage not that long ago - maybe in the wake of the prolonged hangover from the tech bust? If that actually happened, I'd chalk it up to a minor halt in the in-migration of the young, single, childless types that make up a disproportionate share of the climbing demographic. On the flip side, I'd be willing to bet that the massive, sustained hiring binge at Amazon, etc over the past decade-plus has made an outsized contribution to the crowds I keep hearing about. 

Strangely, I haven't noticed much of an uptick in the numbers of people kayaking. Seems like numbers are holding steady at best. 

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