On August 6, 2012, Blake Herrington, Scott Bennett, and I flew into the Sunny Knob base camp on the Tiedemann Glacier of the Waddington Range. We were accompanied by our very good friend and talented photographer Forest Woodward. We spent two weeks in the range, during which we experienced generally clear and hot weather, constantly active seracs, and the breaking up of glaciers.
We climbed two new routes: the southwest face of the Blade by our line IncogNeato (500m, ED1 5.10+ C1) and the southwest face of Stiletto Peak by the Canadian Club (450m, ED1 5.11-). We accessed both faces via a several-hour technical approach up the Stiletto Glacier from Sunny Knob, which sits at the confluence of the Stiletto and Tiedemann glaciers. 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 one pitch of aid on IncogNeato involved ducking left beneath several roofs to access the more western-facing headwall. This pitch will likely go free in the 5.12 range, but, late in the day, the sideways lead didn’t invite any redpoint attempts from us.
Both routes were climbed in single-day pushes without bolts or pins. We descended the Blade via a circuitous night of rappels to return to the Stiletto Glacier beneath the Blade-Dentiform col. A vastly superior descent was used from atop Stiletto Peak: We rappelled 200m down the north face from a notch just north of the summit, and then downclimbed onto the upper Tellot Glacier, circling back to Sunny Knob via Plummer Hut and the range’s eastern margins.
We also attempted a new line on the central south face of Mt. Asperity, to the right of the Elson-Richardson route [AAJ 2011] and made a two-team ascent of the classic Skywalk Buttress on Mt. Combatant.
We were all very impressed with the Waddington Range, finding it to offer a truly big-mountain experience with good access. We would like to thank the American Alpine Club and the New Zealand Alpine Club for providing grants to help defray the cost of our trip.