FATMAP difficulty grade
Summer description for the Harvey Ramp climbing route (a winter route description follows below) - The ramp is very exposed, and several 4th or easy 5th class cruxes are encountered.
The rock is quite solid, but few protection placements are possible. Best climbed on a dry, warm day in late summer, due to snow that is slow to melt as the ramp is almost always in shade.
Melting snow, or recent heavy rain, can make many places on the route slippery.
Although the rock is solid and the grade is low 5th class, this route should not be underestimated.
At the top of the ramp is a very exposed traverse which heads East and then winds its way up an Eastern face to the peak of Harvey.
Several groups have been rescued by SAR from this route in recent years.
Rockfall from above is not uncommon, and a helmet is highly recommended.
A slip during a solo ascent from much of the route would likely result in a fatality.
Parties using a rope will find gear placements to be extremely infrequent, with few good belay possibilities.
Caution is encouraged.
The treed slope to climbers left, looks like an easy escape route, but don’t be misled, it is a thoroughly disagreeable thrash through dense trees. Descent: A hiking trail leads south west from the summit, and descends to 680m where it joins up with the Lions Trail and further descends to the Fire Road used on the approach from Lions Bay.
Follow this back to the trailhead.
Winter Ascent of Harvey Ramp. The Harvey ramp is a notable 45° to 60° feature on the North West side of Mt Harvey.
It’s of moderate grade, being a mountain class 4 or low 5 in the summer, but the exposure can and should be daunting for newer climbers, as it is not always easy to protect with belays.
In early winter it may be bone dry seamless rock at the bottom with shallow pockets of verglas, transitioning to hollow aerated water ice, changing to 1.5 m of powder snow by the time you hit the top of the ramp.
Later in the season, it could be deeper, well consolidated snow in which you are kicking easy steps for most of the climb.
Although often climbed solo or unprotected, any misstep and slide would quite possibly be fatal, and since the conditions are rarely the same twice, the prudent climber would be deciding which gear was pertinent to the climb, as climbing rope, crampons, ice axes, rock protection, ice screws, and snow pickets can all come into play at different times of the year.
The Ramp should only be climbed in stable avalanche conditions and dry days, as it tends to collect and funnel all the snow and rock that falls off the sheer northwest face of Mt Harvey.
An important note for early spring climbing - when the cornice on the peak fails, it will likely fall right into the Ramp and sweep it clean to the runout zone below. Once at the top of the Ramp, there remains a very steep and exposed traverse to connect to the trail that goes up to Harvey Peak.
There are a few trees that can be used as belays, but climbers often use a few running pickets as well to prevent a possible pendulum fall.
The snow formation at the top of the ramp can change from year to year as well, with some heavy snow years seeing an overhanging cornice at the top of the ramp.