Bottleneck Direct is a 5.10a variation of the original Bottleneck Route (5.8) which is one of the more historical routes on Yamnuska (Yam) established in 1964 by Lofthouse and Cole. The direct variation involves the first two pitches and was put in by Greenwood and Vockeroth the very next year. In my opinion the first pitch of the direct version is one of the finer 5.10a trad leads on Yamnuska. The first pitch covers a total of 60 meters and combines a corner, roof and crack for fantastic climbing at the grade. It starts to the right of Chockstone Corner and ties into the top of the 3rd pitch of Chockstone and the top of the 2nd pitch of the original Bottleneck route.
After the stellar 5.10a first pitch of the direct variation, the 2nd pitch is just a 5th class scramble left to the top of the pillar that intersects the original Bottleneck and Chockstone routes. The third pitch is unremarkable after the first few meters trending out left from the top of the pillar. The fourth pitch is a bit of a tedious lead as you traverse some precarious rock out right to access the main chimney pitches above. These involve fun and sustained 5.8 climbing, making Bottleneck Direct one of the more enjoyable moderate climbs on Yamnuska in my opinion. All of the pitches were well over 30m long and therefore I did not combine any of them.
Follow the climbers trail up 1500’+ to the base of the wall. Turn left and follow the wall to the first scree ramp (Bottleneck Area). Ascend the scree ramp to a short scramble section (book says 5.5, but more like 4th class). Ascend to a large ledge with trees. Move left all the way into the prominent right facing corner. This is the first pitch and is a full 60m in height.
Route Description1000’+/-, 7 Pitches, 5.10a
1st Pitch- 60m- 5.10a/ Andy’s guidebook has the length of this pitch incorrect. He calls it 50m, but my belayer claims she had to simul climb just a bit. There is a piton mid station opportunity about 2/3rds up after the roof pull if you want to split this pitch in two. This is a fantastic pitch, one of the best for the grade on Yamnuska in my opinion. Start in the corner and stem your way at below the grade, 5.9 or so, placing gear at will until set deep under the large roof. Make some exposed traverse and stem moves at the grade to the right wall, clipping one piton along the way. Make sure you use double length runners for pro leading up to the roof. Move out right to a mid piton station. I cleaned up quite a bit of bail tat in this region. Continue straight up jamming several fine cracks until you get into a squeeze right before topping out. Make a hard stem with rope drag no doubt, moving out away from the wall to grab some jugs and land on top of a nice ledge to belay off of.
2nd Pitch- 35m- 5.6/ Up and to the left is a detached pillar. Between the pillar and wall at the top of it is the next belay which is the same as the top of the 3rd pitch of Chockstone Corner. This is also where the original line of Bottleneck intersects. Down climb a bit, traverse into the right side of the pillar and climb it to a fixed piton belay.
3rd Pitch- 35m- 5.8/ Climb the steep crack above past a few pitons at the grade. Move out left instead of right as you would do for Chockstone. Follow easy ground to an easy right facing corner. Take the corner up and belay at a comfortable ledge.
4th Pitch- 45m- 5.8/ This is a tricky and sustained pitch. Start by following the solid ramp up (a climb, not walk) and right on fairly run out ground. When it makes sense, move back left and follow a chossy crack/corner up to a small ledge below an overhang. Now traverse directly out right on run out and precarious holds until you reach a piton in a groove that allows you to climb straight up to a belay ledge on your left.
5th Pitch- 45m- 5.7/ Climb out right accessing an easy gully. Climb it to an intersection of sorts. Move up and right to climb a steep section of stepped ground with a few large chockstones/boulders interspersed along the way. You can exit at the top up and left on firmer rock or out right via looser blocks. Either way, set up the belay at the lip of the ledge above which is below the final chimney pitches.
6th Pitch- 45m- 5.8/ This is the namesake pitch for the route. Stem and chimney up the wide bottom portion of this obvious chimney. As it narrows to the bottleneck, make an exposed unprotected move right to latch onto a small sloping ledge on the right wall. Place gear in a crack up and right and make the crux move of the pitch by finger jamming up and into the solid, but slightly overhung, crack and follow it to the base of the next chimney (single piton with very small gear for belay). You will see bail tat where folks have stayed in the chimney too far up.
7th Pitch- 45m- 5.8/ The crux of this pitch is the combination of the stem/chimney moves required to get into and progress in the chimney at the beginning which can be protected by slinging a large chockstone. After that the climbing gets quite a bit easier. Towards the top, you get to do a fun squeeze through the top of the chimney to reach Yamnuska’s ridge . Gear belay on top.
DescentWalk off the east via the scramblers trail. It is not worth rapping, way too much loose rock. We carried our packs and shoes and used the hikers large switchback trail further east or you can circumvent back west underneath Yam and descend via the climbers trail that you came up. If you do this option, you can suit up there in the morning and climb without your packs.
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