| Heart of the Grenadiers.
August 13-15, 2011
~28.6 Miles, ~14,000 Gain
Trailhead: Molas Pass South, Colorado Trail.
Continued from Part 1:
We packed up our camp and continued hiking higher into Vestal Basin. We found a good camping spot at ~12,100 just below the ramp for Arrow. Our plan for the next day was to get up early for Arrow, climb the Wham on Vestal, and then, weather allowing, for Steve to climb the Trinities.
The alarm went off early, but to our dismay, it was raining outside. The wet quartzite was going to be a challenge so we went back to bed and woke up later. At least the rain had stopped . We decided to try Arrow and then evaluate the weather for the Wham. It didn't take long, and we were hiking towards the ramp for Arrow at 6:50 AM.
Arrow from camp.
Questionable weather with the sunrise on the Trinities.
Climbing up the grassy ledges to the ramp wasn't difficult and we followed the route description up the ramp. Most of the route finding wasn't difficult except for maybe the last 100 feet to the summit. The scrambling to the top above the ramp was a lot of fun as the rock was solid. It would certainly be a nightmare if it was wet. The summit of Arrow arrived at 8:20 AM and the weather in the distance didn't look good.
Steve working his way up the initial ledges up arrow.
Vestal from Arrow. The weather appears to be improving.
The lower ramp on arrow.
Upper ramp and most of the class 3 on Arrow.
Vestal and Trinities.
Steve working his way up the ramp on Arrow.
Fine class 3 on Arrow.
Pigeon from the summit of Arrow.
Clouds swallowed the Chicago Basin Peaks and clouds were dancing around Vestal. It was especially dark towards the west. Our stay was short and we descended back down Arrow. At the bottom of the ramp, we decided not to climb the Wham due to the uncertainty in the weather. Some of the clouds were beginning to tower vertically. Steve had no desire to climb the south gully on Vestal so he headed back to camp as I started towards the Vestal-Arrow saddle. The talus was pretty miserable to the saddle and once at the saddle I was able to find a climber's trail which circumnavigated the south slopes of Vestal. I stayed on the trail as it worked east towards the prominent south gully on Vestal.
Vestal Lake from our descent on Arrow. The weather is getting worse.
Steve down-climbing some class 3 on Arrow.
Arrow from the Vestal-Arrow saddle.
I climbed up a fairly solid rock/talus rib (class 2) up the west/left side of the gully. Eventually, the rib ended and I did an ascending traverse northeast into the gully. Staying on ledges in the gully, I was able to keep things at class 2. Eventually the gully ended on the east ridge where I stayed on a ledge which took me to a short gully which took me to the south ridge. A few short class 3 moves were required to gain the south ridge which took me to the summit where I arrived at 10:30 AM.
The route up the south face gully on Vestal.
Looking back down the south face gully on Vestal. Came from far right.
Upper south face gully on Vestal.
The very short class 3 section to gain the south ridge of Vestal near the summit.
Arrow from the summit of Vestal.
Chicago Basin Peaks from Vestal.
Vestal Lake and the lower Wham.
Climbing up the gully wasn't that difficult nor that hard for route finding but I can see how the route finding might be hard on the descent if one had climbed the Wham. Knowing the route down definitely made things much easier. I moved quickly and returned to camp around 11:00 AM. All of the weather that was threatening the area had dissipated; I guess it could have gone either way. The Wham is a place neither Steve or I wanted to be during a rain storm.
We decided to clean up camp and make the long hike back to Molas Pass so Steve could salvage a vacation day. The switchbacks back up Molas Pass were brutal, almost making the money for the train worthwhile. We arrived back at the car around 4:45 PM and started the long drive home. The Wham will have to wait until next time.
Vestal from our hike out.
Arrow on the hike out.
Arrow and Vestal from the Beaver Pond.
Train on the way out.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):