Waddington Range - Stiletto Peak, The Blade

While in the Waddington Range we'd hoped to try a new route on the South Face of Asperity, well to the right of the 2011 Elson/McClane route. However, after getting forced onto the rock on a buttress toe below the face proper, we spent 7 pitches and 7 hours in getting dead-ended on plan #2, and we did eventually reach a spot below our original destination, the South face. By this time we'd already dealt with the glacier and ice of the lower Tiedemann/Asperity Couloir in the pre-dawn hours, but a narrow snow couloir we'd have to cross was running with slush-a-lanches and big blocks. We stayed on a shaded rock ledge and watched the evening pass, deciding what to do. Not only did we think that the rock on the South Face was loose and sharp, but also quite blank. Our best options seemed to be the major fractured weaknesses, some of which ran with water. I think that a few thousand years of active glacial scouring along these steep upper couloirs had scraped the wall clean and left few open cracks or holds. Other faces which were higher on the peaks (or not exposed to such active snow/ice scouring) were more climbable. We bailed back to Sunny Knob and had an awesome rest day as the mountains continued collapsing around us.

(We had each placed bets on which bit of the ice fall was next to fall off)

The two new routes that we did climb on the trip were not particularly long (450-500m each on rock above our wandering, mostly non-technical approach via the lower Stiletto Glacier) but they did tackle two of the steepest sections of stone in the area and were done onsight and free with one point of aid. [edit: the above makes more sense if written "onsight and free, apart from one point of aid". ]
Here are a few photos:


  1. Yo Blake! Great trip, fun seeing pix.
    But what's this? Seems like being thin with an extra 30 pounds :).
    Giving you shit, since we've talked lots about words & language over the years.
    "The two new routes that we did climb [...] were done onsight and free with one point of aid."
    I think you mean that you almost freed it, or mostly freed it (one point of aid).
    Keep up the great adventures, and hopefully see you soon!

  2. Just googled the Blade and your blog came up.Jim Brennan and myself did a route on the Blade in 1994 and certainly looked at the wall where Incogneato is. We also had a go on Stiletto to the left of where your route starts but got shut down with a blank setion and no bolt kit. I always wanted to go back but never did. I think there are more lines to the left of Incogneato. Hard to believe so few people have gone up there over the years. Anyway I tremendously enjoyed reading about your trip to these hidden jems.

  3. Hey Kelly (C?) yeah - what a jumbled word salad of confusion that was. We did one route free (onsight) and the other route involved one point of easy aid on a leftward traverse pitch around some roofs. It'd probably go free at 5.12-.

    HarryHotDog - Did you guys try climbing the big square-cut corners on Stilleto which are obvious even form Sunny Knob? We began that line, which was amazing, but got dead-ended where the corner closed.