TR: East Vidette July 29-31, 2019

Topics related to peak bagging, rock climbing and bouldering in the foothills and high country of the Sierra Nevada. Be sure to also check out the Information Booth forum category to learn from / see if you can contribute to a profile for High Sierra 13'ers, 14'ers and cross country passes.
Post Reply
User avatar
CAMERONM
Topix Regular
Posts: 296
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:04 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

TR: East Vidette July 29-31, 2019

Post by CAMERONM » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:41 pm

Ascent of East Vidette. 3 days, 26 mies, 8,984 ascent.
IMG_2418.jpg
I have always admired the profile of East Vidette when viewed going south on the JMT. Finally I have the time to climb it.
IMG_2399.jpg
It is a beautiful morning in Lone Pine, and because of the newly instituted night boxes for permit pickup, Annie and I are able set out early for Onion Valley. We have two agendas; I want to climb East Vidette, and Annie wants to realize an artwork in a natural setting. It is her first time backpacking but I am confident she can do the trip. We bring clothing and nets for mosquitos, and I mention but downplay the potential misery of the insects we may encounter.
IMG_2413.jpg
It is a thrill when East Vidette comes into view. It is also very late in the day; Annie is lagging with the length of the hike and possibly the altitude. We do not make it to the Upper Vidette Meadow until 7 pm.
IMG_2433.jpg
The next day I set out to climb East Vidette. There is no way around it, I must walk through Bubbs Creek, starting my ascent with soggy feet. I take the East Ridge, which is mostly class 3, with a few not so exposed class 4 moments, and a few dead-ends and cliff-outs. The path is not as straightforward as the “ridge” description suggests. I see evidence of possible class 2 scree approaches on the north side of the ridge. I do not find a register at the top, but I am on the south side of one large summit block, and someone might have thought it clever to put the register on the side most don’t approach from. The move required to mount the block involves an exposed heave-ho that is out of my league. It appears that I can retrace my climb for a bit, drop down and circle clockwise to climb back up to the other side of the summit block, but that seems not worth the effort.
IMG_2446.jpg
IMG_2448.jpg
IMG_2449.jpg
The views of Center Basin and University Peak are exceptional.
IMG_2452.jpg
I take 7 hours to climb up and back. I find several steep scree runs on the south-east side that save me at least an hour on the descent.
east vidette.jpg
IMG_20190730_195300.jpg
While I do my climb, Annie finds a double waterfall near to the camp and spends the day building her installation. It turns out nicely and we spend some time admiring and documenting it. More of Annie's work can be seen at https://www.anniem.me/ The mosquitos were numerous but with proper clothing and head-nets we managed just fine.

My summation: I am glad I did this climb, as I pass by East Vidette all of the time, but I found the actual climb not so interesting and the summit experience underwhelming. There are clearly many mini-alternative paths to take up, and that may account for differing opinions about the East Ridge. I did not encounter the loose material some have mentioned, actually the opposite; the scree and sand were pretty solid, just like recent snow-melt sand can sometimes be. East Vidette, or at least the East Ridge, is probably not a good destination for anyone new to peakbagging, with its various obstructions. Not truly hard, but not straightforward.
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.
Last edited by CAMERONM on Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:20 pm, edited 8 times in total.








User avatar
c9h13no3
Topix Expert
Posts: 684
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:19 pm
Experience: Level 1 Hiker
Location: San Mateo, CA

Re: TR: East Vidette July 29-31, 2019

Post by c9h13no3 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:25 pm

The East Vidette's east ridge gets more polarizing reviews than any other mountain on the intarwebs. It's on the mountaineer's list for supposedly the east ridge route, but then it gets trashed in many places like Summitpost. Your thoughts?
"Adventure is just bad planning." - Roald Amundsen
Also, I have a blog no one reads. Please do not click here.

User avatar
CAMERONM
Topix Regular
Posts: 296
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:04 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: TR: East Vidette July 29-31, 2019

Post by CAMERONM » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:29 am

A good question which prompted me to edit/improve the description of the climb in my post. I agree with the general drift that the East Ridge is not straightforward nor terribly interesting.

User avatar
ExploreABitMore
Topix Regular
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:38 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Contact:

Re: TR: East Vidette July 29-31, 2019

Post by ExploreABitMore » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:30 pm

Nice trip report and photos, thanks for sharing, brought back good memories.

c9h13no3, I personally thought the E Ridge was a really enjoyable climb, but I know what you mean, it's surprising how polarizing the views are on this climb
Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, Night Sky Photography: http://www.evanthomasphoto.com/

User avatar
c9h13no3
Topix Expert
Posts: 684
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:19 pm
Experience: Level 1 Hiker
Location: San Mateo, CA

Re: TR: East Vidette July 29-31, 2019

Post by c9h13no3 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:00 pm

ExploreABitMore wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:30 pm
Nice trip report and photos, thanks for sharing, brought back good memories.

c9h13no3, I personally thought the E Ridge was a really enjoyable climb, but I know what you mean, it's surprising how polarizing the views are on this climb
Yeah, I'm always looking for fun class 3 stuff on solid rock. But some people say the route is loose class 2 low angle boredom, and this report mentions up to class 4. I think my main takeaway is that it's probably very easy to get off route, and so things can vary wildly. This report even mentions "The path is not as straightforward as the “ridge” description suggests."

So yeah, I'll probably give it a try sometime. But I doubt I'll take newbies or my wife (who HATES loose rock) on it.
"Adventure is just bad planning." - Roald Amundsen
Also, I have a blog no one reads. Please do not click here.

User avatar
Fviolich
Topix Novice
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:41 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Re: TR: East Vidette July 29-31, 2019

Post by Fviolich » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:11 am

Hi Cameron - Yes thats the same Frano Violich. I tried to Private Message reply but don't seem to have permission. Ive asked Admin to enable me. Sheila and I are headed out for the last week of August roaming around the Keyes/Kern Divide. Cant wait to get out of New England and recharge. Thanks for sharing your trip and installation.

User avatar
ExploreABitMore
Topix Regular
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:38 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Contact:

Re: TR: East Vidette July 29-31, 2019

Post by ExploreABitMore » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:10 am

c9h13no3 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:00 pm
ExploreABitMore wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:30 pm
Nice trip report and photos, thanks for sharing, brought back good memories.

c9h13no3, I personally thought the E Ridge was a really enjoyable climb, but I know what you mean, it's surprising how polarizing the views are on this climb
Yeah, I'm always looking for fun class 3 stuff on solid rock. But some people say the route is loose class 2 low angle boredom, and this report mentions up to class 4. I think my main takeaway is that it's probably very easy to get off route, and so things can vary wildly. This report even mentions "The path is not as straightforward as the “ridge” description suggests."

So yeah, I'll probably give it a try sometime. But I doubt I'll take newbies or my wife (who HATES loose rock) on it.
The bottom does require a bit of route finding to keep it at Class 3, but not bad. The rock is good for this part too. It does get looser higher up, but it is not bad at all for the Sierra. It is more like Class 2, as well, but easier to follow. And, the summit is an amazing place to visit. I seem to remember more good scrambling near the top.

I think people just expect too much from this one and then get disappointed. It's not an uber-classic climb by any means, but definitely worth a visit ;-)
Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, Night Sky Photography: http://www.evanthomasphoto.com/

User avatar
thegib
Topix Regular
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:37 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Berkeley

Re: TR: East Vidette July 29-31, 2019

Post by thegib » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:46 pm

When I topped out on E Vidette I was shocked how quickly the climb had gone. I felt really strong. I finally figured out the peak was 1000' shorter than it was supposed to be.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: kdemtchouk and 2 guests