The Wedgie

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.94440°N / 105.5584°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hiking, Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: A long day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: Class 4
Sign the Climber's Log


This route page is for The Wedgie, a prominent crack in Pico Asilado's East Face that provides an aesthetic and direct route to this beautiful peak's summit. As far as I know this is an exclusive to SummitPost because all the route descriptions I've seen in books have directed climbers to the tricky series of steep gullies and ledges to the right of the route described here.

The Wedgie was named during Erin's and my climb with Dwight Sunwall and Kurt Traskos. It was Kurt's idea to try climbing this route, and we started joking about climbing Pico's crack. It didn't take long for Kurt to start calling it The Wedgie, and the name stuck.
Pico Asilado s east facePico Asilado's East Face

Even though I'd say the Wedgie provides a less difficult routefinding experience than previously described East Face routes, you still must be prepared! The Wedgie is a Class 4 climb with a potential for rockfall. Helmets are an absolute necessity! That said, compared to Crestolita's North Couloir route, The Wedgie is quite solid.

Another complication arises because, unless public access is somehow restored at the mouth of Deadman Creek, the most reasonable way to approach Asilado's East Face is via Milwaukee Peak, a difficult peak to climb in its own right. Get an early start for this one! Lastly, I can't recommend using this route as a descent route unless you just climbed it or you're already familiar with it. Choosing the wrong route down Asilado's East Face can quickly lead you to technical terrain.

Don't let all these warnings deter you, however. This route is fun! Hopefully you'll find that the extra effort of climbing another peak along the way makes the reward that much sweeter.

Approach to Milwaukee Peak

The shortest way to climb The Wedgie is to start from the Music Pass TH and return via your ascent route -- up and over Milwaukee Peak both ways. But the Music Pass route is something of a dicey endeavor in my opinion. Once you're standing atop Pico Asilado's summit, if you decide you don't wish to downclimb The Wedgie (and/or deal with Milwaukee Peak's crux ramp a second time), returning to the trailhead on less technical terrain comes at a cost: your day becomes a demanding 14.4-mile, 7150' effort.
Approaching The WedgieApproaching The Wedgie

Therefore, my recommendation is that you use the Cottonwood Creek approach and bag Milwaukee, Asilado, and UN 13,020 as a trio. This option gives you the opportunity to climb three ranked 13ers and explore the upper reaches of beautiful Cottonwood Creek, which, I might add, is one of the finest valleys in the Sangres with its dense vegetation, plentiful wildlife, glaciated slabs, and the beautiful Cottonwood Falls. You can save Music Pass and the Sand Creek Lakes for a climb of Tijeras Peak or Music Mountain.

From Cottonwood Creek Trailhead:
including climbs of Milwaukee Peak & UN 13,020
RT Distance: 12.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 6350'

Please refer to the Cottonwood Creek Trailhead page for driving directions.

Follow the 'Approach' section on the West Face route page to the camping areas. Rather than turning south toward the unnamed lake, stay near Cottonwood Creek and keep heading west, picking up strands of trail where you can; you'll probably be bushwhacking here and there. Higher in the drainage, the vegetation thins and you'll find yourself under Milwaukee Peak. Look for the well defined trail that switchbacks up to Milwaukee Pass at 13,300'. At Milwaukee Pass, you'll join the East Face route on Milwaukee Peak (skip the approach section and go straight to the route description section on that page), which you'll follow to the summit. Now, please jump to the Route Description section lower on this page.

From Music Pass Trailhead:
with return trip back up and over Milwaukee Peak
RT Distance: 11.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 5190'

with descent of West Face route, climb of UN 13,020, and hike back up and over Milwaukee and Music Passes
RT Distance: 14.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 7150'

Please refer to the Music Pass Trailhead page for driving directions.

Follow Milwaukee Peak's East Face route to the peak's summit

Route Description

Steep scrambling in The WedgieIn The Wedgie

From Milwaukee Peak's summit, descend the ridge to the saddle with Pico Asilado. You will encounter only light scrambling on this section. From here take a gently ascending traverse toward Asilado's east face, making a bee-line for the base of The Wedgie. You'll have to drop into and climb out of a gouge in the slopes along the way (class 3). This photo may help you identify the base of The Wedgie.

Once you've entered The Wedgie start scrambling! Rockfall is a danger in this narrow gully, so take extreme care if you're climbing with partners. You'll have to make some class 4 moves on steep terrain and wedge through some tight spots before you reach the top, conveniently just a few feet from the summit!

Now that you're atop Pico Asilado, you have a choice. If you've come from Cottonwood Creek, the best option is to descend Asilado's West Face route up and over UN 13,020. If you came from Music Pass, you can either return via your ascent route or you can take the longer but easier (easier climbing-wise, that is) way, descending Asilado's West Face route and then hiking up the Cottonwood Creek Trail all the way back to Milwaukee Pass en route to the Music Pass TH.

Essential Gear

Climbing helmets are a must!



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