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SEPT
7
2018

The WEDGE (HUMBUG Spires) Route: The Mutt and Jeff (5.8, 5p, 600')

Category: Montana      Trip Report #317
Partner: Andrew Morse
Rock Type: Granite
Summit Elev:
~7,000 ft

Pure entertainment.


INTRO

What had started as a 4-day trip to Blodgett Canyon had turned into a 2-week effort to climb as many classic routes in Montana as I could (partly because I was having so much fun in Montana and partly because weather back home in Washington had taken a turn for the worse). I looked on mountainproject for ideas, and spotted the Humbug Spires area. Humbug Spires contain excellent climbing on white granite of the Boulder Batholith, in a gorgeous valley. The main attraction here is the largest spire in the area, The Wedge. It is around 500 feet tall and requires 5.8 climbing to reach the summit. The must-do route on the wall is Mutt and Jeff, a 5-pitch 5.8 that ascends the longest face of the Wedge, following featured rock and ending with an exciting knife-edge traverse to the rap anchors. Sounded like fun!

I climbed this route with Bozeman local Andrew Morse, who had responded to my mountainproject partner post. Indeed, it was a fun day!

The following page gives a route overlay and pitch-by-pitch photos for this climb.


ROUTE OVERLAY



PITCH BY PITCH PHOTOS

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
A leisurely 4 mile hike from the Moose Creek trailhead to the base of The Wedge. As seen from the trail, Mutt and Jeff climb starts approximately in the middle of The Wedge and heads left at the large roof (Cyclops Eye) and then goes out of view. 
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1. Approaching the Moose Creek Trailhead. Montana is pretty.
2. The mostly flat 4 mile hike to The Wedge.
3. The Wedge as seen from the trail. The route starts up the center and cuts left following the diagonal crack system.
4. First 2 pitches.
Pitch 
1
5.7. Climb the flake, pass two bolts on featured face, climb a crack, pull a roof, and then traverse left across featured face to the Cyclops Eye. 
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5. Looking up Pitch 1.
6. A pair of old bolts on Pitch 1. Clip 'em because there are there.
7. Fun climbing on Pitch 1. 
8. The pitch ends with a long leftward traverse across featured face. Set a long sling on the last piece to minimize rope drag.
Pitch 
2
5.8. Climb the crack up and left, passing the crux at the roof, and continue up the crack to a small ledge with two bolts. 
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9. Andrew starting up Pitch 2.
10. Fun climbing.
11. Looking down on the belay at the top of Pitch 2. There are 2 bolts. But I'm not sure I would feel comfortable of the leader taking a factor 2 fall on these anchor bolts.....

Pitch 
3
5.8. Climb the offwidth (#4), which is so featured you can pretty much avoid actual offwidth climbing. It's pretty short so 1 #4 is probably fine. There is a crack to the left that can help if you want. After the offwidth continue up a leftward-trending crack to a belay on top of a chockstone wedged above a 400-ft abyss.
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12. The offwidth. We brought 2 #4's and I did place both just because we had them, but would have been fine with only one #4. You can also get a couple #2's back in.
13. Belay on top of the chockstone, a precarious perch 400 feet above the ground below.

Pitch 
4
5.7. Climb up wild featured rock, aiming for the chimney feature above. There is a chockstone in this chimney at the top of Pitch 4. For a comfortable belay, I would advise belaying from the top of the chockstone, rather than below it in the rat poop infested hole.
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14. Cool features. Aim for the chimney feature above. A short pitch.
15. Andrew chose a harder variation to the left.

Pitch 
5
5.3. Slab up to the top. There is a cam placement halfway through the pitch, but you could probably walk up it without using your hands if you tried.
16.   16. The easy romp to the top.

Top!
Yay! Enjoy the view!
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17. Andrew on top. 
18. View from The Wedge.
Descent
The descent is memorable. Head north following the ridge and walk across a knife edge to the rap anchors. Rap to the west (left). A 70m rope will get you down safely (if you have a stretchy rope or if you are—ahem—somewhat heavy, it might get you down to the ground; if not, you can stop on a ledge about 10 feet above the ground and downclimb or rap off a giant tree). 
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19. Andrew making his way over to the rap anchor on the exposed ridge traverse. Fun stuff.
20. Andrew at the rap anchor.
21. Rap on the left side. One 70m rope will get you down safely.