Type: Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, Grade II
FA: Darin Berdinka, Gene Pires, August 18, 2013
Page Views: 22,889 total · 330/month
Shared By: Jennifer L on Oct 7, 2015 · Updates
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Z Winters

You & This Route

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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 a short gully to a broken ledge or (B) drop down and around the buttress toe on a very exposed 3rd class scramble 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 arête 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 arête to a final touch of heather and the summit. (5.5 130 ft). Walk off to the southeast.

* A great route description by the first ascensionist is here (cascadeclimbers.com/forum/u…).
* Nice photos of the route are here (nwhikers.net/forums/viewtop…).


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.