Wasootch Tower North Ridge, 5.6/7
FA- C.Locke, J.Martin, G.Rathbone, S.Slymon, June 1968
There are no copies of Ben Gadd’s pocket-size guidebook to Wasootch Creek available for the public to take out from the Calgary Public Library anymore, however, one can view it in a special locked security room at the main branch, then placed again in a crisp envelope in a locked filing cabinet! A fine example of how information is becoming harder to track down. The original route was done up from the high col in 1952 by Hans Gmoser and party and a nearby concave arching slab below the summit now is home to two sport routes. The south ridge was also climbed decades ago but has recently been retro-fitted for a direct finish. Park at Wasootch Creek and walk about 2km past the practice slabs. Go right up the drainage before the Tower and follow a good trail up the streambed. When the drainage forks at a cairn, scramble up the left drainage as the right takes you up to the high col(Gmoser). Shortly, another drainage comes in from the left, coming straight down from the Tower. Follow this up and over ledges and ribs. Aim for a yellow and black streaked wall up and to the left. Arrive at the base of a long smooth slab with the vertical streaked wall on the right and make a belay here. This is the ridge facing the Hwy #40.
1.)Follow the corner past a bolt when the slab flattens and breaks. Belay just below the ridge or use the bolt for an optional belay(5.5, 50m+)
2.)Just over the ridgeline, follow easy terraces and a ledge to a tree and crack belay at the base of a short smooth but featured face. (30m)
3.)Climb the face on good holds to a piton with a ring. (5.5, 10m)
4.)Traverse across the wide gully, first down and to the right, pass just below a tree in the middle. Climb up a short rockband past a small grassy ledge. Belay in gully just above the rockband. (5.7, 40m+)
5.)Climb up and right over easy terraced ledges toward a right-facing corner. Climb the corner(crux) with poor pro. Climb up and left above the corner past dark colored rock to a good belay.
6.)Climb up easily toward the ridgeline.Just below the ridgetop, climb a right-facing corner ledge system on the buttress to a stepped wall and leftward trending break. Climb this to the summit.
DESCENT:Use the rap route from the 2-pitch 5.5 NW col route(Gmoser). There are rap anchors to climbers left and below the bay belay.
Wasootch North Ridge Direct, 5.5
This topo was sent to me in 2007 by Tom Wolfe as he said is different than the route in the second edition of Kananaskis Obscure #2. Seven pitches of low class climbing combined with mostly bolted belays will likely see it having more action in the future, who would not want to climb this classic feature?! I am not sure if he was the one whom bolted this.
Walk up Wasootch Creek past the practice slabs to the main drainage coming down on the west side and walk up it taking the occasional trail until the drainage turns left and you first see the top of the Tower. Move out of the creek to the bank on the left and follow it up to the base of the north ridge where the two bolt belay signifies the start. Bring a 60m rope, 4-6 slings, #.03 – #2 camalot and some anchor material.
To descend, follow the ridge across the summit and descend SW for 5-10m to a set of bolts with rap slings. Rap 15m down a low angle gully, climbers left to a second set of bolts with slings. Make a 25m rap to a small ledge which leads, climbers left, to easy the easy trail back down.
Wasootch Tower SE Ridge
This is the ridge that would face opposite the Hwy#40 and can’t be seen until you are under it, a 2 hr. hike from the road, however it looks a bit more involved than the North Ridge. The north face has no routes and maybe the future will allow a line up this very steep and impressive wall.
Park at Wasootch Creek and hike past the Tower. Turn right and take a bouldery dry creekbed up to the ridge start, or make a rising upward traverse throught the trees to the ridge.The first 15m step off the creek is shattered overhung rock so scramble up the side on scree to the crest to start up.Expect 13 rope lengths to the summit ridge, 7-9 of those are pleasant low 5th class moves on decent rock with reasonable means of protection. The rest are walking/scrambling pitches along the tops of steps in the ridge. There is almost no fixed protection, maybe the odd pin but there are occasional trees most of the way which make good running belays or belay spots-they also work as easy escape by rappelling into the scree gully paralleling the ridge in case of emergency. Recently a direct finish has been bolted up a steep slab near the top.Wasootch Tower Descent Options: the most obvious starts with half-ropelength raps over the west lip of the summit from bolts beside a feeble snag; traverse a rubbly ledge south(left) through a notch, cross a steep gully to bolts on solid rock shoulder on the sunny side and finish with a single rappel to scree at the col. Choice two, a bit less obvious but nicer, start with a short stroll back along the summit rappel or toprope down an awkward rubbly groove to a nest of bolts and pitons on a big ledge. From there, a long rappel down the west face reaches the scree a short distance south of the crest of the col.