Technical climbing info
- Mountain: Vesper Peak
- Elevation: 6,221′
- Route: Ragged Edge
- Length: 1,600′
- Grade: II, 5.7
Up until this week, the majority of the 2022 season had been plagued with snow and rain. We had 5 good weeks under our belt instead of 15. We had used those 5 weeks to shoot for summer snow climbs that we had been gunning for during the last few years. The Adams Glacier went beautifully. Two weeks later, Buckner’s North Face weathered us off far before we could reach it. And two weeks after that, Shuksan’s North Face’s melted out slabs deterred and redirected us to the Fisher Chimneys & SE Corner. 1 for 3, not the best ratio, but not the worst in rapidly melting conditions that would eventually become an official heat wave in the PNW.
Still resting after our little failed Shuksan’s North Face mission / jaunt up the Fisher Chimneys and SE Corner, and totally enveloped in Seattle’s heat, Jessica and I relegated ourselves to normal-city-livin’ and planning our Bugaboos trip for the week ahead. However, sitting is not our forte, and we started itching for the alpine. But the heat, the heat. We continued flipping through our Bugaboos guidebook and sorting freeze dried meals. But none the less, the alpine called.
Vesper Peak’s Ragged Edge had consistently sat in a little corner at the bottom of our massive to-do list in a section labeled “other”. Out of the sun? Check. Moderate enough to not burn us out for the Bugaboos a few days later? Check. Local classic status? Check. Okay, that’s the one. We packed 7 liters of water and filled one up with electrolyte powder. Heatwave, here we come.
The approach and the climb
Having basically done zero research on this climb, I was fairly surprised when the approach was not short. I don’t know why I thought it would be short, but I was wrong, and it was long. (Rhyme intended.) Approaching the climb over the notorious ledges was far milder than I anticipated, and we stashed our crampons and ice tools far in advance. The mosquitoes were after us and wouldn’t let up for the entire climb from that point forward.
I’ll spare everybody the fine details of the climb, as it’s extremely well documented all over the internet. (This blog is more about the story than the climb, anyways.). The crux was certainly the route-finding and the mosquitoes. We ended up teaming up with the party in front of us to figure out where the heck to go, with a fair bit of trial and error. I don’t know if I can certainly tag this one as a classic in my book, but I would consider climbing it again if the moment called for it.
Back to packing for the Bugs…
Up next…Maybe a step into the alpine?
I mentioned to Will that Jess and I were looking at climbing the NE Face of Eldorado. His AMGA Alpine exam happened to take him pretty close to our objective, the relatively untouched North Ridge of Eldorado. Kind of a coincidence because I had just been looking at the N Ridge topo wondering if it…
We had spent the previous day hauling up to the 7400’ camp of Eldorado. This camp is such a long way to go that it doesn’t particularly make sense to me for anything except mini-basecamping. Our primary objective of the trip was to climb the rarely touched North Ridge of Eldorado, with the NW Ridge…