Mt Vesper – True Grit

My cousin Josh and I were looking for a training climb for our upcoming trip to Mt Waddington. We decided to go for True Grit, a 5.8 route on Mt Vesper. Josh had done The Ragged Edge earlier and raved about it. We headed out fairly early to avoid the hot sun and made it to the trailhead around 8 only to find that the road had been closed ~2miles from the trailhead. We trucked on up the road only to see several cars parked passed the road closure sign with $498 tickets. Ouch! We didn’t have much difficulty on the trail other than one creek crossing in which the bridge had been washed out and required walking several hundred feet uphill to find trees to navigate across. After a long trek up the pass and over to the bottom of the traverse to the route, we noticed there was a fairy large cornice above so we decided to just summit Mt Vesper and probably call it a day. While at the top, we took a better look and determined the cornice wasn’t above the route so we decided to go for it. The initial traverse was fairy easy until we reached steep heather(not my favorite) followed by 70% snow patches. Josh and I also unfortunately didn’t bring any crampons which would have been really nice. It was fairy obvious no one had climbed any route on Vesper yet, as there were no steps kicked in. Josh and I simulclimbed accross the snow with Josh luckily kicking in steps. We reached a few points where there was no pro which wasn’t too fun but I was able to let out more rope so Josh could put in a rock piece midway through. I made it to the midpoint and Josh finally made it across. The second section went well until 30ft or so to solid ground when one of my feet blew out and I slid a few feet. A fall wouldn’t have been fatal but wouldn’t have been fun as the 30 ft traverse meant a 30 ft pendulum into rocks and trees. I caught my composure and continued traversing to the belay. My adrenaline was through the roof.

Josh asked me if I wanted the first pitch. Easy 5.4. I declined as I was still thinking about the fall that almost happened. He continued up and the fun climbing began. The rest of the climbing seemed easy once you reached high and get creative. Its also well bolted so you won’t have to run anything out very far. Josh and I both agreed The crux of the route was on P4 but was the long splitter crack itself, not the step across. Would recommend small gear(c3 #2,3 plus small nuts) for P4 and its not splitter :P. It requires alot of technique and not brute strength. I would personally put at 5.9. The last pitch is rated 5.7 in the guidebook(and 5.6 on mountain project) but I would rate at 5.4. It was very well bolted and super easy.

Route is a walkoff which is awesome. Overall I think this route is very ascetically pleasing and the exposure is out of this world.

Route Notes:
Be prepared for unprotected snow traverses with huge exposure early season, and also cornices, depending on the year. Picket might be handy but I would bring crampons and/or two small tools. My cousin said later in the season requires a good scramble to the notch before the traverse.