Getting ThereWedgemont Lake is the easiest and most standard approach for the North east Arete of Wedge Mountain. From wedgemont Lake the route is clearly visible as a well defined arrete coming out from the summit plateau of the mountain.
Route DescriptionThe North east arete is a classic climb of the BC Coast Mountains its difficulty varies on glacier conditions but mainly on the snow conditions of the arete itself. Probably AD
There is two ways to gain the north east arete from Wedgemont Lake,
1) traverse around left side of lake from hut and ascend directly up the wide wedgemont glacier on easy grades not getting steaper than 25 degrees for most of it. The glacier will take you straight up to the bottom of the North face of Wedge but near the top of the glacier there is a crevasse field (sometimes called an icefall but harldy is) that must be crossed usually from bottom right travering left and up. Once past the crevasses a short snow or scree slope rises left onto the skinny arete that takes you to peak. There are open crevasses and icefall in summer using this direct glacier approach.
2) Traverse around left side of lake and follow glacier leading directly to arete as above but an hour or so past lake veer up left off of main glacier (caution do not take first oppertunity left off of main glacier just after lake) up easy snow slopes and wind right gaining a ridge line at low point(possibly a bergshrund here but in early summer of 2007 there was no obstacle.) You are now on the extended arete and follow the scenic and slightly exposed ridge as it meanders not gaining or losing much elevation along to base of arete that then climbs directly to summit. This route is more asthetic, skips the crevasse section on upper glacier but is more exposed to falls as the sides drop fairly abrubtly. It is slightly less direct
The north east Arete climb.
The route up is reasonably steep, 40 degrees for much and perhaps 50 degrees at its steepest point and sustained for almost a full rope length before it mellows out onto broad summit ridge. In icy conditions it feels exposed because to right is a long steep drop and left steep snow slopes to snow or glacier and rocks below. Some parties belay, others have a running belay, if skipping the crevasse area of wedgemont glacier and following the extended arete it could make an excellent solo objective climbing a high glaciated peak while avoinding hazardous crevasses.
with Either approach the climb should take about 4 to 7 hours from hut to summit
If descending the same route is not desired because of exposure then the broad scree covered west ridge is an easy scramble down, however, the scree is absolute crap here, poorly settled, large size rocks that can be hazardous as put into motion. IN summer sometimes there is limitied exposed glissading oppertunities to bypass scree. The problem with the west ridge is that you arrive at base of ridge far from Wedgemont Lake and an hours hike with short scrambles along base of north face is required to simply arrive back high on Wedgemont Glacier, best avoided if possible. One carefully placed rapppel, usually there are exposed rocks above the steepest part that have many old sligs hanging off them (IM not suggesting that you use them!) that people set rappels off. This using a 60m rope would pass the steepest most exposed part of the arete on the decsent but two ropes would clear it much better.
Wedge Mountain is a popular ski objective in winter and offers many exciting descents, the most mellow whould of course be the west ridge or a west ridge/north face variation. Many snow couloirs come down the north face and Im pretty sure all have been skied (probably many times), there is a possibility of bergshrunds and crevasses on these as they are glaciers. The arete climb offers very good views of a couple possible descents.
Essential GearExcellent tent pads have been installed in the summer of 2007 at Wedgemont Lake. The hut is very small, it sleeps 4 in the loft and the base could maybe sleep another 8 uncomfortably. The hut is at about 1900m so warm gear is recomended even in the summer.
For climbing you must decide for yourself what to bring. If taking the extended arete route than crevasses are unlikely to be a great danger however roping up and being prepared for rescue is always recomended when travelling on glaciers. Depending on conditions you may be happy free climbing if you are a skilled climber but if it is bulletproof north face ice than climbing on belay may be the only safe way.
This route is in prime avalanche terrain and avalanche safety gear is recomended unless the dangers are very low. Note that the aspect of this route is likely going to create wind loaded slopes and unpredictable loading. Most parties in the summer probably do not carry avi gear.