Placeholder Routes & Places

Trip Report    

Wedge Mountain/West Ridge

The NE Arete is a great climb, but the West Ridge is an extremely loose and fairly hazardous boulder field.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

I (Max Buchsbaum) was a member of a Mountaineers Adventure Club party that climbed Wedge Mountain on July 14-16.

We intended to do a two day climb via the NE Arete (for route information see Alpine Select: Climbs in Southwest British Columbia and Northern Washington by Kevin McLane) on July 14-15 with a camp at Wedgemount Lake. We hiked into camp on the 14th. We left camp at ~3:00 on the 15th and summited at ~9:00. We climbed the NE Arete (Half Arete) route. It is an excellent climb, with interesting glacier travel, exposed and moderately steep (40-50 degree) snow, and incredible views the whole way. We lost about 45 minutes trying to find a way through the crevasse field. We also used a running belay through pickets on the steepest part, though a more experienced party could easily do it unroped.

Not everyone in our group felt comfortable downclimbing the NE Arete, so we decided to descend our planned alternate descent route, the West Ridge, which we thought would be a reasonable option based on the description in Alpine Select and the Mountaineers route profile. It turned out to be ~1 mile of extremely loose scree. Probably half of the large rocks moved when touched. About an hour after we left the summit a member of our party was injured when a man sized rock that he weighted shifted, causing him to fall and rolling over his leg. His leg was not severely injured, but had circumstances been slightly different it could easily have been pinned or shattered. he also injured his shoulder when he fell. He was able to walk the rest of the way down the ridge unsupported but aggravated his shoulder injury while descending a snowfield at the base of the ridge. After that he had to be short roped and lowered back to the emergency use hut at Wedgemount Lake, where we decided to stay the night because the injured climber was in extreme pain and would not make it back to the trailhead before dark. W hiked out the next morning and our climb leader drove the injured climber back to a hospital in Washington.

Everyone in our party agrees that the NE Arete is an excellent climb and that the West Ridge route should not be taken unless it is snow covered due to the loose boulders.

(Note: I accidentally submitted this trip report twice but cannot figure out how to delete the extra copy)