Vestal and Arrow

27 Jul 2000 - by Mike Stallard

Pam & Mike asked, and Keith Jensen interspersed replies:

> Three of us will attempt Vestal [Wham Ridge] and Arrow [NE Rib, E Face, N
> Ridge?] soon.  We've studied _Climbing Colorado's San Juans_ by Robert F.
> Rosebrough [which appears to be about twelve years old] and have the 7.5'
> topos.

> Is his Vestal Wham Ridge description accurate; that is, will we see 
> anything greater than 5.4 there?

Start and stay on the right side where I've been told it is only 5.2. I went straight up the middle and it is harder, someone said it is 5.8. The top where the route selection narrows is easy.

> If we select Arrow's NE Rib, and finish via the NE Face direct, what class
> climbing will we see on the NE Face?  Is his description of the E Face [8
> pitches of lower fifth] accurate?  What does 'lower fifth' mean?
> This involves a little bit of routefinding. You have to move to an upper rib before it gets too steep. If you start making 5.7 moves, you are off route, look at the next ramp running above your head. When I did it, the correct ramp to the NE Face had plenty of cairns on it.

'Lower fifth' means it is easy climbing but if you slip, you die.

> Any undisclosed logistics 'gotchas' [changes in train schedules 
> and stops, required permits, etc.] of which we should be aware?

You should call the railroad (888-872-4607). The train schedule does vary from year to year and not all trains stop at Elk Park. However, it has been no problem in the past to go to the depot in Silverton and purchase a ticket to Elk Park. The south bound trains are not full because people ride the bus back to Durango. Mike asks further:

> Is the SE Couloir the best way to come down off Vestal?  
> Is the NE Rib best for coming off Arrow, 
> skirting the N Ridge the first 400 ft?  
Steve Bonowski remarks: There are no permit issues in the Grenadiers that I'm aware of. Because of high use in the wilderness, the FS and San Juan Mtns. Assn. strongly encourage that hikers follow Leave No Trace principles closely. Check out the trailhead kiosks for more info.

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