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True Grit 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 590', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Darin Berdinka 2015
Season: Mid to late summer
Page Views: 2,562
Submitted By: Nick Drake on Jun 27, 2016

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Ken at the col looking out at the approach ledges ...


A fun moderate route in a great setting that will leave you wishing it were longer. With the highlight definitely the cracks on P4 with a step across.

While it has convenient bolted belays at nice stances don't let this fool you. It is an alpine climb. You'll scramble heather benches (or traverse steeper snow) with good exposure, potential for loose rock and some lichen still here and there. Darin did a great job of cleaning up this route, but freeze thaw cycles could cause more rocks to loosen up and it will need traffic to keep it clean.

FA description:
P1 Easy climbing on clean granite. Step left to a bolted belay below an obvious narrow chimney. 5.4 ~200'

P2 Up a groove to the squeeze chimney then a difficult move onto a short bolted slab. The chimney can be avoided by moving right into a short corner (watch for loose blocks at it's top) 5.8 100'

P3 A nice pitch. Slab, then a shallow corner, pull over a small overhang and follow jigsaw rock to a tiny belay ledge. 5.7 100'

P4 Climb the long sustained splitter with a crux step across where the crack disappears briefly. Fun juggy climbing leads to a belay at the crest of the headwall. 5.8 120'

P5 A short scruffy pitch of easy face and slab climbing leads to the top of the face. 5.6 (not 5.8 like in the image below!) 80'


North side of Vesper peak. Approach as per Ragged Edge.

Route is north facing, heather benches on approach will be quite slick if there is any moisture. There is also a short heather bench to reach the belay on P2. Give the route a day to dry after any significant precip.

Note if going in early summer the heather benches will be a steep snowfield. If you are not sure on conditions bring an axe and crampons. You can evaluate the route from the col and leave gear there if it is snow free, easily picking it up on your descent. The traverse is exposed above a cliff, if snow is too soft a fall unprotected would be bad m'kay.


This is what we used, if leading near your limit you may want more.

Single set of cams from micro to BD #2. Narrow head width of TCU/C3 can give you more placement options than a 4 lobe cam for P4.

Doubles in fingers to rattly fingers (BD .3-.5).

nuts from medium to RPs. Offsets placed well.

60cm slings and one or two 120cm.

Photos of True Grit Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Jim following up the top out, Glacier Peak in the ...
Jim following up the top out, Glacier Peak in the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of P4
Start of P4
Rock Climbing Photo: The P2 chimeny
The P2 chimeny
Rock Climbing Photo: Early season snow traverse, steeper in sections th...
Early season snow traverse, steeper in sections th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Heather benches early season. Note cornice at the ...
Heather benches early season. Note cornice at the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down P4 from the belay.
Looking down P4 from the belay.
Rock Climbing Photo: FA topo

Comments on True Grit Add Comment
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By oretro
Aug 15, 2016
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

When you are at the notch looking down at the lake, with the north face of Vesper to your left, go up (and left) to get to the base. The downward, sketchy-looking parts at the notch are not for you. Right now (mid-August), the path is worn enough and is not covered by snow, so you should be able to traverse comfortably without roping up.
I believe that the original start to Ragged Edge is the same as that of the only start to True Grit. If there is already one party waiting at this spot, consider waiting at the notch before proceeding over, as there really isn't room for more people at the base.
By Vlad Alexandrov
From: Kirkland, WA
Aug 6, 2017
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Climbed today after getting tired of waiting for the Ragged Edge line (judging by the number of parties climbing Ragged Edge, you would think it was one of the "50 classics" or something :)). I was a bit concerned that I didn't have enough small gear (didn't have any C3\TCUs) but it worked out just fine. I did use both 0.1 and 0.2 X4s on the finger crack pitch though. Didn't place a single nut anywhere on the route. YMMV. For me, the crux of the crack pitch was about 6 feet above the belay (though adequately protected), the step across was easy and with a bolt right in front of you.
Pretty nice route overall, a bit dirty in places but more traffic should fix that (and, given Ragged Edge's popularity, True Grit is certain to see a lot of traffic too).
By Benjamin Pontecorvo
From: Seattle, WA
Aug 22, 2017

This climb goes fast, and you can link pitches with a 70. From the summit, you can rap the top half of the route with a 70, swing across the ledge to the belay below the steep stacked blocks, and do the last three mega pitches of Ragged Edge , also link-able. We left the trail head at 5AM and had done both routes by 1PM

Now combine this day with doing Mile High Club on your way in, would be an awesome amount of climbing, with less approaching than a typical 2 day North Cascades trip.
By cspieker
Aug 22, 2017

We did the route last week and linked pitches 3 and 4 with a 60m (barely). Depending on how many pieces you plug you might run out of draws, so keep that in mind as p4 ends with a bolt-protected stretch (3 bolts).

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