Vesper Peak/North Face

The North Face of Vesper Peak has a difficulty of Grade II-III, and has multiple ascent routes including Ragged Edges (5.7) and True Grit (5.8).

getting there

Drive I-5 to exit 194, US 2. Exit to US 2 eastbound and follow to exit for SR 204 North to SR 9 North . Turn right on SR 92 to Granite Falls. Drive Mountain Loop Highway east from Granite Falls 28 mi (2 mi before Barlow Pass). Turn right (south) on Sunrise Mine Road (Forest Road 4065) and drive 2.3 mi to the Sunrise Mine Trailhead.

APPROACH

 Hike trail 3 mi to Headlee Pass, 4,720 ft. From the pass, follow trail skirting around the south flanks of Sperry Peakto the upper Vesper Creek basin between Sperry and Vesper Peaks. Campsites are available on grassy bench near trail above stream, or farther upstream near a small lake in the basin.

ASCENT ROUTE

From basin campsite, hike up the Vesper scramble trail toward the head of the basin. But angle off trail, bearing to the high first notch in the ridge dividing Vesper’s north and east aspects, not to the lower, more prominent pass at the basin head. The “high” notch leads to a long ledge system that crosses north face (photo in CAG II, p. 50). Scramble the ledge to near its end.

Starting here, the route consists of two class 4 pitches followed by three class 5 pitches, but is not obvious. Climb or scramble the first two pitches to a small ledge. From ledge, pitch 3 traverses leftward and ascends a small shallow chimney (5.5-5.6) to belay. Pitch 4 again bears leftward on slabs (5.5). The final long, runout pitch works rightward to slightly west of summit (5.8).

Ragged Edges Ascent

This is the 5.7 variation that is on the eastern half of the North Face and the direct start begins at a large flake. Ragged Edges was retro-bolted in some places in August of 2013 and there are still some old pitons along the route. Generally done in 6 pitches.  

DESCENT ROUTE

Scramble down east slope to camp in Vesper Creek basin.

TRIP PROFILE

SEGMENT TIME (HR) ELEVATION GAIN (FT)
Seattle to Trailhead 1.5
Trailhead to Camp 3-4 2,500
Camp to Summit 4-5 1,615
Summit to Trailhead 3

EQUIPMENT

Small to medium stoppers and cams. Crampons/ice ax in early season.

NOTES

Described with two (easy) days in mind, this climb can be done in one long day. The North Face has many variations with different degrees of difficulty. Route is very hard to protect and belay anchors are difficult to locate.

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Intermediate Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Rock Climb
  • Elevation Gain: 4,115 ft
  • 6,214 ft
Map
  • USGS Silverton
  • USGS Bedal
  • Green Trails Mountain Loop Highway No. 111SX
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