The S Route, 5.6/7, 350m (The Wedge North Face)
FA – B.Gadd and R.Ballard, July 1970
Ben Gadd said that this route was like any new north-facing route (at least in K-Country) which was loose – too loose to really become popular. With that said however, many people wonder where this route exactly went on the triangular face, and with its’ striking location above Wedge Pond, a popular approach trail and a casual descent, lets hope it may see a second(?) ascent. Could it make a hard winter alpine objective? Most people read about it in the ‘green bible’ to the southern Rockies and have always likely thought The S Route went up that obvious break/corner system that falls straight down from the summit – not so, and this tempting feature may still be unclimbed….
“The gash thing was too horrible to contemplate, a deep, loose, dripping chimney full of killer bombstones, yuck.”
But The S Route meanders up an obvious line of gullies and breaks near the centre of the face coming out pretty close to the summit, and takes on the shape of a skinny letter ‘S’.
On a 150 foot rope it runs about eight pitches and took the FA team around three hours. Expect lots of stemming. They rated it F6 as per the Yam standards of the time, which means mostly lower fifth class with some moves around overhangs that go at 5.6 – 5.7. Gadd said he never bought any wired nuts until 1973 so they used either all pitons and early hexagonal nuts, not Chouinard, but sawed out of aluminum bar stock.
Park at Wedge Pond about 30km south of Hwy #1. Follow around the left side of the lake then find a trail leading through pretty forest and a fable like stream: stay on the left side and follow a better trail up, up, up out of the drainage and onto the hillside. Here is a good place to scope the line. Drop down into the rocky basin below the north face and the start of the route. While enroute, enjoy the grande vistas of the expansive valley: in the mid-1930s when the fire broke out up nearby Galatea Creek, it torched the entire area to and past the Village in a day!