The Wedge has been called "The Jewel of the Organs" by the areas most prolific early climber, Dick Ingraham. It certainly is one of the most eye-catching peaks when viewed from La Cueva or most other views from the west. A huge and clean looking 1000 ft face, a knife-edge west ridge, and pink-rosy monzonite will help you identify this peak.
Royal Robbins was responsible for some of the first ascents on this peak, and his climbs are still a benchmark for some of the hardest routes in the Organs. There are two classic routes which seem to get the most ascents, The West Ridge and Shillelagh (referred to as the Diagonal Route in Ingraham's guide). Other routes are poorly known and seldom climbed although I would guess that there are some amazing climbs among them.
The Wedge is situated just above The Tooth and shares the same approach. Depending on which route you intend on doing you will diverge from The Tooth at different points.
The descent: There is a good rap station on the east face over a steep wall. To find it, from the summit walk along the ridge in the direction of Sugarloaf and look to your left for a large boulder right on the edge with a slightly scraggly looking, small aspen tree above it. The rap station is in a pinch on the right side of the boulder, but you won't see it until you are right on top of it. One single-rope rappel gains a saddle below the summit.
If you came from the West Ridge, once off the summit scramble down the north side until you can see a col between The Wedge and Lost Peak. Gain this col and descend down the narrow gully between these two peaks. This meets up with the approach for the West Ridge above the "hole" that you must climb down after you collect your packs.
If you have approached the Wedge from the east or south, scramble/down-climb to the south all the way to the oak forest. From here you can either hike down to Aguirre Springs, or hike west over a saddle and down into the gully between The Wedge and the Tooth.
There is also a rap station on the Normal Route, just below the crawl-through near the top, but the rock below it is not as clean. I heard that there is another to the north as well (going straight to the col between the Wedge and Lost Peak), and I have rapped down the huge south face of the Wedge, in several rappels but without problems. This might work well for a way back to the start of Shillelagh.
For first timers, the approach and descent will probably take about 3 hours each. Plan accordingly, or beg a local climber to act as a guide.
The South Face of the Wedge is truly impressive: smooth granite walls baked by the sun, improbable looking roofs. This route was bold in its day and even with modern climbing gear is a climbing accomplishment. Originally called the South Face, Diagonal route, it is more commonly referred to by its nickname Shillelagh as is evidenced from the summit register.P1, 5.9, 120 ft: Start up a right-facing chimney with a couple of large chock-stones to surmount. A crux section of 5.9 hand jamming gets yo...[more]Browse More Classics in NM
By Aaron Hobson Administrator From: Las Cruces, NM Nov 14, 2006
The summit register is in very poor shape. I intend to replace it next time I get up there (hopefully soon). Does anybody know what happens to old Summit Registers? I'd hate for all the history therein to be lost, but I'm not sure exactly what is normal practice as far as preserving that information.
I seem to recall someone taking the summit register from either North Rabbit Ear or the Citedal to the NMSU library. This would have have happened no later than the early 1990s.
By Aaron Hobson Administrator From: Las Cruces, NM Jan 18, 2011
I recently transcribed the summit register (the wedge) and posted it for anyone to read. The original will go to the NMSU archive. A copy of the transcription is headed back up to the summit. The register I found in Nov 2010 only went as far back as 1989, and had around 40 records.
We did the east-face descent and then returned to packs at the base of the south face. We found the first rap station right away - down and slightly skier's right of the summit top.
Our aim was then to go south down a gully to find a rap from oaks, scramble further down a gully towards the south, and then hike up a gully going ~west to cross the saddle in the Organ Ridge. And, lastly, take the scramble down along the base of The Wedge to packs.
We didn't find the second rap. We eventually left what we thought was the gully between the two raps by traversing to a point high above and a little east of the saddle in the Organ Ridge. We then did a full-length one-rope rap on an improvised anchor to a spot in the gully ~50 feet to the east. Not recommended.
The west face of the Wedge is a great piece of rock. Several parties have climbed it since the Robbin's Route (where exactly) in the 1950s. Parties who climb there should look for evidence of the climbing.
The flat west face: direct route: Edmund Ward and Paul Seibert (70s?) runout and at least 5.11 (fixed stopper left). dihedrals on the right: Mike Head and Mark Motes (ca. 1980) again at least 5.11 up to the green ledge.
The ridge triangles below the West Ridge Route: Glen and Mason (Boulder, CO climbers mid 1970s) at least solid 5.10 and aid. Dave Bowling and Mike Pollat (about 1989, "Wedgie") mid to hard 5.11, 2 pitches unfinished, bolt on first pitch.