Vestal Peak Rock Climbing
|GPS:||37.689, -107.602 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
|Page Views:||49,861 total · 252/month|
|Shared By:||Jared Brin on Aug 16, 2002|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
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This peak is one of the highest peaks in the Grenadiers near Silverton in the southwest part of the state. It is also the location of the Wham Ridge, which is really the north face of the peak. The rock is mostly solid, but there is still a lot of loose rock, mainly sitting on ledges. Protection is also scarce, since most cracks are either seams or are filled with vegetation. I used the #.5-2 Camalots I had many times, since passive pro was usually hard to place. Although some of the climbing isn't super fun, the summit is awesome with views in all directions of the surrounding mountains. The maps that cover the area are Snowdon Peak Quad for the first half of the approach, and Storm King Peak Quad for the rest of the approach and the actual mountain.
The mountain is over ten miles from any roads, so plan on camping. The first part of the approach is to Elk Park, on the Amimas River just south of Silverton. To reach it, there are three ways. The first is to find the Molas Trail (Colorado Trail) that starts on Molas Pass (US Highway 550 between Durango and Silverton). The trailhead is on the north side of the pass, just before the road drops steeply down into Silverton. The trail drops four miles down to the river at Elk Park. Another way, which I have not done, is to hike a level four miles down the railroad tracks from Silverton to Elk Park, which might be dangerous and/or illegal. The final way to Elk Park is to take a very expensive train ride. From the bridge across the river at Elk Park, follow the railroad a few hundred feet south to the trail up Elk Creek. Follow this trail for four miles to a large beaver pond. This is the end of the easy hiking. Go around the east end of the pond on talus and follow a trail through the trees down to Elk Creek. Cross Elk Creek, and find a small but well used trail angling up and right from the creek. It is important to find this trail, and it is not obvious. This trail leads up a couple miles to the drainage below Vestal Peak. The trail is easy to follow, but is very steep. Once the trail comes down near the creek below Arrow and Electric peaks, start looking for a place to camp. I camped in this meadow, but it might be a little better to continue up a short hill to a large, flat area directly below Arrow Peak.From this lower valley, there are probably several ways to reach the base of Vestal Peak. The way I went was fairly easy, and is probably the most direct way. From the flat area below Arrow Peak, look for a nearly horizontal tree-covered ledge that angles up and left above a small cliff. Hike up to the right hand side of the ledge through a meadow and follow the ledge east. When the ledge starts to end, continue up and east through the trees and just below some small red cliffs until you hit a small stream running through talus in a gully. Either follow the gully or the rocks to the left to flat talus below Vestal and Arrow Peaks. From here, it is easy to reach the base of either peak.For the descent, go south from the summit of Vestal to a large gully with lots of loose rock. Follow a faint trail down as the gully steepens and narrows, downclimbing several short rock steps. Just before the gully widens out at the bottom, look for a cairn on the right and exit the gully above the last cliff on the right side of it. Follow another faint trail through loose rock down to the saddle between Arrow and Vestal, and continue down to the flat talus below. The descent is not bad, except for the loose rock.
Classic Climbing Routes at Vestal Peak
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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