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Arrow/Vestal Access Beta

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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Arrow/Vestal Access Beta

Postby gdthomas » Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:10 pm

After reading Lordhelmut's excellent trip report of his Weminuche assault earlier this month, it sounds like the Vestal Creek Trail is easy to follow but Roach's 13er book suggests otherwise. Anyone have experience on this trail as it leaves the Elk Creek Trail? Any beta on Vestal's South Face route would also be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Re: Arrow/Vestal Access Beta

Postby lordhelmut » Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:14 pm

gdthomas wrote:After reading Lordhelmut's excellent trip report of his Weminuche assault earlier this month, it sounds like the Vestal Creek Trail is easy to follow but Roach's 13er book suggests otherwise. Anyone have experience on this trail as it leaves the Elk Creek Trail? Any beta on Vestal's South Face route would also be appreciated. Thanks in advance.



Greg,

Scottsu might have some decent beta on the South Face of Vestal, he mentioned in his report that his group had no problem staying on that route, something we surely could not. Nevertheless, its probably not a 2/2+ route, but more like a class 3 and maybe even 4 at sections with somewhat loose rock.

The only reason I think Roac describes Elk Creek Trail as difficult to follow was the unpopular-ness of the region back in the day. It seems, behind Chicago, Vestal Basin sees the most amount of feet these days, with No Name, Ruby and Tenmile hogging all the solitude in the western Weminuche. We ran into quite a few groups the weekend we were up there.

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Re: Arrow/Vestal Access Beta

Postby scotthsu » Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:34 am

gdthomas wrote:After reading Lordhelmut's excellent trip report of his Weminuche assault earlier this month, it sounds like the Vestal Creek Trail is easy to follow but Roach's 13er book suggests otherwise. Anyone have experience on this trail as it leaves the Elk Creek Trail? Any beta on Vestal's South Face route would also be appreciated. Thanks in advance.


I just re-read my own Vestal trip report (on this website), and it contains some description of where we lost the Vestal Creek Trail briefly. You might find that useful. I remember Roach's description for finding the Vestal Creek trail being pretty good. Basically, after you cross the creek, you head up the hill, and if you pay attention, you will come across the Vestal Creek trail. As for the south face route, I remember carefully reversing Roach's description (we had ascended via Wham Ridge), and I don't recall any particular route-finding difficulties (although it's been 3 years so the memory isn't fresh). I do remember it being more like class 3 instead of Roach's claimed 2+. Feel free to PM me w/more specific questions!

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Re: Arrow/Vestal Access Beta

Postby d_baker » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:06 am

When we did this trip three years ago, I don't remember there be a problem with route finding on the Vestal Creek trail. However, we did a loop on our trip, so we only came out the Vestal Creek drainage. But I don't think you can miss the turn-off from the Elk Creek trail, and the crossing seemed to be evident.

We started from Beartown and hit the Valecito trail, cut-off into the Storm King drainage, over Trinity pass, and then set up camp east of Vestal on a high benchmark (which is south and higher in elevation than where Lordhelmut & crew set-up). This campsite was pretty spectacular because Wham Ridge was staring us in the face the whole time in camp!

Climbers right on the face (Wham Ridge seems more like a face to me) is mostly class 3 & 4 with good holds.
(Not sure where the 5.4 is that Roach talks about.)

We had a hard time route finding on our descent (and I think we probably got off route), and ran into loose class 4 terrain quickly. Seems like there were cairns here and there, but not reliable.

Arrow is a lot of fun too.
IMO....this area is a must do for anyone that likes scrambles!
Beautiful scenery as well.

enjoy...

Darin

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Re: Arrow/Vestal Access Beta

Postby elevationcelebration » Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:42 am

We just got back from a trip in Vestal Basin earlier this month. Our group had to come in at two different times and both groups got a bit lost finding the correct Vestal Trail. The best way (as we later found out on our descent) is to follow the trail around the beaver ponds eastern end and then trend a little to the left. This should take you down to a reasonable log crossing over Elk Creek. Once on the correct trail it should be easy to follow but there are several workable trails in the area. It stays way up above the creek until you enter the basin at 11,000 ft or so. Also, I would recommend avoiding the "Dues Collector" slope on the up or down and head up to the Vestal/Trinity saddle. Not great but much better. The route up Vestals S. face is easiest to the left of the gully (at least class 3 in many areas) or some great and more solid low 5 and 4 stuff well to the right of the gully. Anyway, its a lot of choose your own adventure terrain and one of the best areas of the state. Enjoy!

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Re: Arrow/Vestal Access Beta

Postby ilanarama » Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:08 pm

I climbed Arrow in 2003. I'm curious, can someone who's been up there more recently tell me whether the downfall on the trail is still as bad? I think we counted 99 fallen logs across the trail and then gave up :-)

We climbed Pigeon Peak last week and had a fabulous view of the backside of Arrow and Vestal, got me thinking about climbing Vestal next year once I touch up my climbing skills.

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Re: Arrow/Vestal Access Beta

Postby elevationcelebration » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:26 pm

Yeah there are still a lot of downed trees crossing the trail. Sure makes the 2 mile hike up Vestal Creek feel much longer (as does the hike in from Molas Pass)!. The "correct" trail is not too bad and most are at a height you can go over and not have to duck under. However, if you get off trail it could easily turn into a nightmare. Congrats on Pigeon, that mountain looks awesome from the Grenadiers! Cant wait to get back down to that area.

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