Bottleneck Wall covers the part of Yamnuska from the Balrog corner to the infamous Grillmair Chimneys. This section of Yam contains both historic and modern routes. Grillmair Chimneys, Chockstone Corner and Bottleneck Direct make up some of the earlier routes established on Yamnuska. Wild Boys and Stir Crazy did not come along until the mid 80’s. Glory Days was established in 2002. Grillmair Chimneys has a ton of history behind it. The chimneys are comprised of several route variations. They were first ascended by Leo Grillmair, Hans Gmoser and Isabel Spreat in 1952. This was the climb that began the Yamnuska climbing era. Since that time Grillmair Chimneys has become a breeding ground for new Canadian trad leaders.
The 13 published routes on Bottleneck range from five to 12 pitches. The Grillmair Chimneys route variations are by far the most common objectives at Bottleneck, but the Bottleneck and Chockstone route variations see quite a bit of relative traffic as well.
As you approach the wall from the climbers trail, top out and traverse west along the face and you will immediately be below the Bottleneck Wall. To reach Grillmair Chimneys, continue for a short distance until the trail becomes faint. As the trail peters out into a ramping collection of rock and scree, circumvent such to the west end where another trail zig zags up through the loose scree to the base of a low 5th class move or two required to ascend a short rock band. Continue angling back right along ledges to the base of the vertical wall above. Descend the apex to a small tree and position yourself below a large separated pinnacle on the wall. The first pitch is directly below the left side of this pinnacle and the 2nd pitch ascends the left side of this pinnacle via a chimney behind it.
Bottleneck Area, Left to Right as you Face the Wall
- Balrog- 12 Pitches- 5.10b/
- Wild Boys- 9 Pitches- 5.10dX/
- Chockstone Corner- 9 Pitches- 5.8+/
- Chockstone Corner Direct- 9 Pitches- 5.10a/ I combined the nine Chockstone Corner Direct pitches into five total pitches utilizing a 70m rope. I combined pitches 2-3, 4-5, 6-7 and 8-9. The crux of the route was definitely the contracted section of the first chimney pitch (Pitch 8, 5.8+). As you lose your stemming walls, the inside of the crack is quite wet and muddy making it a sporty transition to break out of the chimney proper. The last pitch finished out on run out ground in that it is more of a true squeeze knee and arm bar chimney with one large chockstone to sling for pro if you really want to make the effort. Outside of pitches 1, 8 and 9, the rest of the route if fairly uneventful, with moderate climbing to be had here and there. Dow
- Stir Crazy- 7 Pitches- 5.10bR/
- Bottleneck- 7 Pitches- 5.8/
- Bottleneck Direct- 7 Pitches- 5.10a/ 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 forth pitch is a bit of a tedious lead as you traverse some precarious rock out right to access the main chimney pitches above which involve fun and sustained 5.8 climbing make 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. Dow
- Gormenghast- 5 Pitches- 5.12a/
- High Voltage- 11 Pitches- 5.10a/
- Glory Days- 6 Pitches- 5.11c/
- Grillmair Chimney, Left- 8 Pitches- 5.6/ Most of the belays have at least one piton (2007). Pitons and knife blades are also found at most crux positions, particularly up the start of the last pitch. The route is set up to be rapped at any time with double ropes (2007), although it is best walked off due to potential rock fall. The last chimney pitch makes the climb worthwhile. Always fun to climb the traditional routes and get a feel for what they must have been thinking 50 years ago. Dow
- Grillmair Chimney, Right- 5 Pitches- 5.6/
- Hare and Tortoise- 7 Pitches- 5.10a/ The first pitch tries to provide a more direct line than other routes to the chimney system above, but in the end is hard to decipher and did not really seem to accomplish much versus just running up the typical Grillmair Chimney start. The second and third pitches are the same as Grillmair Chimneys Right. The fourth pitch is a bolted slab out to the left of the corner/chimney that although contains a move or two at the grade, was rather contrived. The fifth pitch is the 2nd best pitch of the route. It provides a stellar 5.8 hand crack by Yam’s standards that leads to an exposed traverse by suspect blocks. The sixth pitch starts out with a few fun moves on good rock but becomes mostly low to mid 5th class scrambling up to the final exceptional seventh pitch. This final pitch is definitely the money pitch and saves this route from one out of five star status for me. It runs up the face past a few bolts and into a stellar crack that turns to off width that your must pull out of and onto the right wall via an exaggerated move or two. Someone, presumably Andy, bolted an escape route for this interesting, hard, but fun move. Dow
- Alpine Club of Canada
- Environment Canada