Type: Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, Grade II
FA: Darin Berdinka, August 18, 2013
Page Views: 11,376 total · 294/month
Shared By: Jennifer L on Oct 7, 2015
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

53 Opinions

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This is a nice, moderate route that follows the eastern "ragged" edge on the north face of Vesper.

From the col, scramble/traverse a ledge system around to the north face.

The route consists of 6 pitches (5.5-5.7), with the cruxes at P5 and possibly P3. The variation (shown in blue on the topo) on P1 and P2 is worth doing (if there's not a queue for it already).

The following is copied from the first ascensionist's route description:

Approach Description

The trail fades out as you enter the basin between Vesper and Sperry Peaks. Cross the outlet of the lake and follow an obvious talus ridgeline up to a col between the peaks. The climb is accessed by a ledge system that cuts across the north face of Vesper at about 5800 ft elevation and begins at a small notch overlooking the Vesper Glacier. Allow 3+ hours for the approach.

Walk out the ledge on steep exposed heather (snow until mid-late summer?). When you can't walk any further either (A) scramble up over an obvious chockstone formed by a large, thin flake to a belay ledge or (B) as a variation backtrack a bit and figure out an exposed 3rd class traverse down and around the toe of a buttress before scrambling back up to an obvious and clean 5.6 layback crack (better start). The 3rd class slabs at mid-height on the first pitch could easily be accessed after climbing the lower half of the north face as well.

Original Start - Red Line

P1) Climb approximately 60 ft of low-5th terrain to 3rd class slabs. Continue up the obvious flaky gully and arrange a gear belay just below a short overhanging wall (low-5th 170 ft).

P2) Traverse right on a long, thin ledge then a short gully to a fixed belay on the skyline (4th 60 ft).

Slightly contrived variation start with better climbing - Blue Line

P1) Climb a nice layback flake then a low-angle groove to 3rd class slabs. Traverse hard right then follow the highest grassy ledge system approximately 40 ft to a gear belay below a faint white dyke splitting a slab (5.6 160 ft). Note that you can also reach this belay from the original start as well.

P2) Climb the dyke past three bolts to a thin ledge. Traverse right and up a short gully to a fixed anchor on the skyline (5.7 90 ft).

P3) Step right then traverse back left on positive edges towards the skyline. Find a bolt then continue up a nice arĂȘte protected by fixed pins. Arrange a gear belay atop a heather ledge (5.7 95 ft).

P4) Step right and climb steep, stacked blocks. Easy zig-zag cracks above lead to a fixed anchor. I aggressively trundled loose and semi-loose blocks off this pitch but some caution is still advised (5.7 95 ft).

P5) Step right again and climb straight up in an exposed position. At the second bolt traverse right 50 ft to a fixed anchor on the skyline (5.7 80 ft).

P6) Follow the nice arĂȘte to a final touch of heather and the summit. (5.5 130 ft). Walk off to the southeast.



Gear: Doubles of .5 - 1, singles of .2 - .4, 2, 3, and a set of small nuts. The route is protected by a mix of gear, bolts, and pins. Pitch 5 required the most gear, as it is very exposed, but takes gear well.

Set up gear belays at the top of P1, P3. The rest of the pitches have fixed anchors for belays.
Max Leitner
Seattle, Washington
Max Leitner   Seattle, Washington
We followed the mp recommended gear. If I do it again I'd probably go with a single #1. The route never felt runout. There are plenty of places for pro and bolts where you want them. Only a handful of 5.7 moves on the route... I'd say most the climbing was 5.5ish. Aug 8, 2016
Ragged Edge and True Grit (along with several other new moderate routes) are featured in a new full color PNW guidebook called Cascades Rock . The guidebook has route descriptions and topos, as well as driving, approach, and descent info. Available Here Sep 12, 2016
Skip Thompson
Skip Thompson  
We climbed it yesterday, in ideal conditions. The bolts were all exactly where you needed them, the pins exactly where they should be, and the route cleaned with loving care--you can see where so much work and attention has been paid. I made the fifth pitch much harder by missing the BOLT 20 feet up and over to the right on the climb and being obliged to run out a spooky section by staying too low. Making it far spookier! As a Gunks 5.8 leader, I'd say the 5.7 rating is spot on for this climb. It's all there, it's just hard. Aug 22, 2017
Madison, WI
LeifWiebe   Madison, WI
We climbed this on 8/6/18. Minimal snow on the approach ledge - nothing you couldn't just walk around. The scramble down to the lieback start did not look fun, and a slip or fall would be disastrous, so we did the regular start, which I still screwed up and ended up too far left at a bolted anchor used for Fish & Whistle or True Grit. One long traversing pitch got us from there to the top of P2 on Ragged Edge. P3 and P4 are fun with plenty of protection, but a follower fall after unclipping the second bolt on P5 could send them on a thrilling pendulum off the bottom of the slab - this fall potential is right at the crux of the climb, too. Not dangerous, just airy and terrifying.

P6 is cruiser with awesome exposure. It's not really that runout, either. Aug 16, 2018
Lauren LittleRedClimbingHood
Seattle, WA
Lauren LittleRedClimbingHood   Seattle, WA
Location of cairn marking the start of the heather-covered approach ledges, per Galileo app: +48.013844, -121.514401. I thought the ledges (without snow in late September) were briefly borderline 4th class, then truly "exposed 3rd" to the original start (not the lieback). Sep 30, 2018