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Vesper conditions..


Original Post
Paul L · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 205

I have plans to head to Vesper next week to try and do True Grit, and nearby Mile High Club.  I expected snow travel to reach the base of Vesper, especially, but was hoping that the rest of the approach would be largely clear by this point.  Some word of mouth reporting  (a friend of a friend of a friend skied the area a week ago) says there is still a lot of snow on the approach and a cornice above True Grit that is leaving the wall wet from melt (as well as leaving a cornice over head).  

Has anyone been out that way and have any info on conditions?  

Paul L · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 205

Still looking for conditions if anyone gets out that way.  Now looking at an early July visit.. 

Curt Veldhuisen · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 642

Beautiful area! Haven't been up there this year, but I would guess that there will still be steep snow on the traverse to the Vesper climbs. Quite a drop off below, so take axes for sure!  This photo gives you a general idea. I'd guess the slab itself will be fine, but you'll probably have a recent report by then

Paul L · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 205
Curt Veldhuisen wrote: Beautiful area, for sure! Haven't been up there this year, but I would guess that there will still be steep snow on the traverse to the Vesper climbs. Quite a drop off below, so take axes for sure!  This photo gives you a general idea. I'd guess the slab itself will be fine, but you'll probably have a recent report by then

Yeah, can't wait to actually get in there and see it myself!  I had plans to do a trip up there this past Tuesday, but there was supposed to be measurable fresh snow and/or heavy rains, and supposedly there was still a cornice of snow hanging over the routes as of early last week.  All-in-all, a bit too iffy to make the trip worth while.  Aiming to head up there in 2-3 weeks now.  At least one axe and crampons will be coming for sure to get across those heather ledges, as I think they will still have a fair amount of snow on them.  

Still hoping someone on here will get up there first and report back... 
Alex James · · Ballard, WA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 186

I was planning on going to check it out next weekend but don't think I will anymore if that cornice is still there. Might be good to give a few more weeks. I was up there last year in early july and there was snow on the ledge and the whole backside of the summit but the cliff edge was entirely melted out (like 30 ft back from edge). Let me know if you get up there. 

mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

Haven’t been to Vesper this year, but my own experience on N Face/Ridge routes thus far has been lots of snow. 

Paul L · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 205
Alex James wrote: I was planning on going to check it out next weekend but don't think I will anymore if that cornice is still there. Might be good to give a few more weeks. I was up there last year in early july and there was snow on the ledge and the whole backside of the summit but the cliff edge was entirely melted out (like 30 ft back from edge). Let me know if you get up there. 

With the weather cycle over the past couple of weeks, and the warming coming this week, I'm willing to guess the cornice will be gone.  My plans right now are still a couple weeks out, but I'll update if/when I make it out there.  You do the same if you beat me to it!  

Jon Nelson · · Redmond, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,990

Paul,
Someone just posted about conditions for Mile High Club:
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/112553808/mile-high-club 

Alex James · · Ballard, WA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 186
Paul L wrote:

With the weather cycle over the past couple of weeks, and the warming coming this week, I'm willing to guess the cornice will be gone.  My plans right now are still a couple weeks out, but I'll update if/when I make it out there.  You do the same if you beat me to it!  

Ha yeah should have looked at the weather. Wasn't expecting mid 80s this early in the summer... 

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107
Jon Nelson wrote: Paul,
Someone just posted about conditions for Mile High Club:
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/112553808/mile-high-club 

MHC is southwest facing and gets blasted by sun in the afternoon, not so much the same case with vesper...

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 491
slim wrote:

MHC is southwest facing and gets blasted by sun in the afternoon, not so much the same case with vesper...

Vesper does have the exposed snow traverse, I know it was ok this last weekend.  If it stays too warm at night with the current weather and is isothermal mush over heather it could be a bit sketch this weekend. You can sling/rely on the rope going around trees, but it's a fairly decent distance between them. 

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

yeah, i consider vesper to be a mid to late summer deal to avoid the snow.  approach to MHC should be snow free by now i would think?

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 491
slim wrote: yeah, i consider vesper to be a mid to late summer deal to avoid the snow.  approach to MHC should be snow free by now i would think?

I would think MHC has got to be good to go now, I did true grit this time two years ago and don''t remember seeing any snow over there. 

Paul L · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 205
Nick Drake wrote:

I would think MHC has got to be good to go now, I did true grit this time two years ago and don''t remember seeing any snow over there. 

The most recent post on the route page here says there is still a snowfield to cross to MHC, but otherwise good. 

Two years ago was the low-snow year, right?  This year I think is a dramatic difference in total snow and late-season snowfall.  
Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 491
Paul L wrote:

The most recent post on the route page here says there is still a snowfield to cross to MHC, but otherwise good. 

Two years ago was the low-snow year, right?  This year I think is a dramatic difference in total snow and late-season snowfall.  

No 16 was relatively normal, it was 15 that was the very dry winter. It's been a pretty average year in total snowpack depth this season. 

Alex James · · Ballard, WA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 186

Went up vesper today (didn't climb just went to summit due to conditions). It was pretty hard to see how things looked as it was pretty foggy. Snow starts when you gain the basin before headlee pass. Definitely need an ice axe to get up headlee. It looked like there was still the steep snowfield on the ledge traverse or at least I saw nothing to indicate the pictures (on fb) from last week were much different. The backside of vesper easily has 8+ ft of snow although it is melted back from the edge so there's no cornices. I would say another couple weeks before you can get to the base comfortably without pickets (unless you're super comfy on steep snow with a bad runout). Most of the north facing snow was super icy and hard to kick steps in so would recommend crampons if you do traverse.

Looking up the basin before the pass

Looking down part way up to the pass 
Approach to Mile High Club
Vesper summit ridge
Paul L · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 205

Thanks for reporting back!

Paul L · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 205

We made it up to the area on July 4, but decided to do MHC instead of the North Face Vesper routes.  There is still intermittent snow travel up to the base of Headlee Pass and traversing to MHC, but is easy travel.   From the pictures above, currently there is probably about half the snow coverage.   We carried crampons but didn't put them on.  The pass looked to have snow the entire length, still, as did the approach ledges to the North side.  

As a side note, whoever is making it to the base of the North Side in 3 hours is a machine.  I thought we were moving pretty well and it took us just over two hours to reach the base of MHC.  Maybe it would be a bit quicker in snow-free conditions.. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Pacific Northwest
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