Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-18, By: supranihilest
Info: Trail from Molas Pass to the D&SNGRR tracks and then to Elk Creek Trailhead is in great shape. Once heading up Elk Creek there are three avalanche debris piles, each one getting larger as you go upstream. There are plastic flags to follow through the debris. Past that there's plenty of deadfall all the way up to Vestal Basin. Prior to reaching Vestal Basin itself you'll come close to Vestal Creek and see a huge talus gully ahead and above you. This is your route into the basin with Electric, Graystone, Garfield, and Point Pun. Instead of heading directly towards it continue on the trail until you're in a tiny boulder field that obscures the trail. There will be a campsite near the creek to your right. Cross the creek here and then make an ascending traverse towards the talus gully from before. From this point on you will be on rock, often loose, until you're back at this exact spot. When we went up the gully it was full of snow - the snow is probably permanent - but there was a huge moat on climber's right side we snuck up at Class 2+. Continue into the upper basin on boulders and talus and then across massive low angle slabs towards Graystone's northwest ridge. The slabs are smooth and somewhat exposed but low enough angle that for the most part you don't have to use hands. Once on the ridge climb several hundred exhausting feet of loose talus and boulders to the summit ridge, which is actually a false summit. Cross the summit ridge and scamper through two short notches at Class 2+ to the true summit. Either descend back the way you came or, if Point Pun or Mount Garfield B are on your agenda, part way down the ridge until you can clearly descend southwest down super loose gray rock to the upper, unnamed lake in the basin. This entire mountain is super loose and the rock is generally large talus to boulder in size, so be careful not to roll it onto feet/legs/hands.