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New Routes in the Waddington Range

The routelines of IncogNeato (ED:1 5.10+, C1, 500m) on The Blade (3340m) and The Canadian Club (ED1: 5.11-, 450m) on Stiletto Peak (3397m) as climbed by Scott Bennett, Blake Herrington and Graham Zimmerman. [Photo] Courtesy of Graham Zimmerman

During the month of August, Scott Bennett, Blake Herrington, Graham Zimmerman and Forest Woodward spent two weeks climbing in British Columbia’s Waddington Range. Bennett, Herrington and Zimmerman climbed new routes on southwest face of The Blade (3340m) and the southwest face of Stiletto Peak(3397m), ascended the Skywalk Buttress (ED1: 5.9, ) on Combatant Mountain (3756m), with Woodward, and attempted a new line on Mt. Asperity (3716m) before returning to civilization.

The team’s new routes consisted of IncogNeato (ED1: 5.10+, C1, 500m) and The Canadian Club (ED1: 5.11-, 450m). Zimmerman writes that both routes were, “sustained 5.10 outings, offering outstanding and well protected climbing, unlikely passages through blank-looking sections, and a healthy amount of shattered alpine choss.” The C1 portion of IncogNeato consisted of a traversing pitch that Zimmerman believes could go free at 5.12. When asked what stood out in his memory about climbing in the Waddington range, Herrington described the variable nature of the rock. He told Alpinist, “…in one pitch it [the rock] would change multiple times and often dead-end you, which, I think, is why there are so few high-end free climbing routes there. Without bolts or pins, it forces you to just keep going one pitch at a time and hope stuff connects. [Due to the nature of the rock] the idea of rallying some mega-new-route onsight and ground up isn’t as practical there as (for example) in Patagonia.” Harrington’s other advice included loading one battery backwards in any headlamp that could accidentally turn itself on, and actually checking to make sure you and your partners’ headlamps work. His advice may come from the fact that a malfunctioning headlamp and a camera screen displaying a snowfield illuminated ten of the group’s night rappels off The Blade.

Scott Bennett leading on Stiletto Peak. [Photo] Graham Zimmerman

The trio also explored the potential for a new route on the south face of Mt. Asperity but abandoned their attempt after seven pitches poor rock and object hazards. Their climbs were made possible by grants from The American Alpine Club and the New Zealand Alpine Club.

Sources: Blake Herrington, Grant Zimmerman, Don Serl’s The Waddington Guide

Scott Bennett traversing across the south west face of The Blade. [Photo] Blake Herrington