Type: Trad, 800 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: R. Ingraham, R. Hahn, H. Fisher
Page Views: 4,103 total · 30/month
Shared By: Aaron Hobson on Feb 11, 2008
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

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Access Issue: Placement of bolts/fixed anchors is prohibited in Wilderness Study Areas Details

Description

The South Face of the Wedge is truly impressive: smooth granite walls baked by the sun, improbable looking roofs. This route was bold in its day and even with modern climbing gear is a climbing accomplishment. Originally called the South Face, Diagonal route, it is more commonly referred to by its nickname Shillelagh as is evidenced from the summit register.

P1, 5.9, 120 ft: Start up a right-facing chimney with a couple of large chock-stones to surmount. A crux section of 5.9 hand jamming gets you to a small tree with a backup nut in place for a belay. However, continuing up another 20 ft to a bit of an overhang provides a better protection from loose rocks. A 5.7 variation climbs a bushy ledge system about 100ft uphill from the original start and joins up at the Green Band.

P2, 5.8, 180ft: Continue up the chimney system and then the wooded corner/ledge which it turns into - the Green Band Ingraham describes. Climbing will ease of substantially once out of the chimney and traversing the Green Band.

P3, 5.6, 80ft: Go up a groove and then left on top edge of a flake so thin its existence alone demonstrates how rarely this route is climbed. Continue up the slabs to a ledge beneath the summit overhangs.

P4, 5.9+, 100ft: Climb through the beautiful summit overhangs, marveling at how the first ascentionists managed to get through these challenges. Two crux sections gain a large corner system where the climbing eases to 5.6 up to the top of the West Ridge.

P5, 5.8, 110ft: Finish up the final pitch of The West Ridge.

Location

This route is difficult to point out during the approach, because the first 2 pitches are hidden from sight by The Tooth. Approach via the gully between the The Tooth and The Wedge which narrows down near a large dead tree. About 300 feet past the tree is a right-facing chimney just to the right of a large, blank slab.

The obvious landmark on the Wedge's South face is a tree-filled ledge high up on the face, commonly referred to by Dr. Ingraham as The Green Band. Shillelagh climbs up to the right side of the Green band and then up through a series of steep overlaps to gain the West ridge a pitch below the summit.

Approach and descent require a good deal of scrambling ability and bushwhacking.

Protection

On the first ascent, a Shillelagh (wooden stick) was used to get past the summit overhangs. Nowadays, a few large cams (#4 friend) are all you need. Even so, there are two old 1/4" bolts on the crux pitch, but there are good placements below and above these so there is really no excuse to rely on them.

Many of the trees along the route have poot slings and rappel gear and you can rappel the route easily until you pass the crux pitch, at which point you're better off finishing the route.

Photos