Overview/ApproachThe “East End” of Yamnuska (Yam) is chock full of less committing routes. And yes I am aware, there are hikers on SP that have no knowledge of the area that hate the fact we consider Yam an “area” of climbing versus just one object or mountain which can be easily traversed by the modest scrambler/hiker. I suppose we can’t help ourselves since there are over 130 published routes on Yam’s southern face as of 2008 with more being developed every year. Will Gadd just spent seven hard fought years completing Yamabushi, an 8 pitch 5.13a route. The complexities of the differing walls, corners, roofs and features on Yam’s limestone make it a popular climbing area with a world reputation. Albeit the rock at times is quite suspect.
Three of the more popular east end routes are Smeagol, Gargoyle and Dickel. A route that ranks above Dickel in my opinion is Flight of the Bumblebee. This is a relatively new route that cost Genereux a broken ankle trying to put it in (he is a bit accident prone on this cliff), thus the name “Flight of the Bumblebee”. In fact Brad Warne and Pierre Champness finished his idea for this route in 2004. It is relatively sustained in that each pitch has moves at the grade, but the route is not that sustaining overall. The first two pitches are excellent and the first half of the last pitch has the crux move of the route, but the finish gets quite chossy. As would be typical of any young route at Yamnuska, the 2nd and 3rd pitch could both use some more cleaning (2008).
As you traverse eastward below Yamnuska’s southern face, it diminishes in height which forms the “East End” section of shorter climbs. The 32 published routes (2008) at this end range from one to four pitches. The best approach is to follow the main climbers trail up to below Kahl Wall which is close to the center of the wall. (this is a 1500’-1700’ gain just to start the day) Traverse right along the base of Yamnuska all the way as it ascends steeper ground and curves left. On your left is a nice blank face down and left of a stepped yellow roof. Look for a bolt on this face. Flight of the Bumblebee is in the middle of A Route and A Crack with an easy to identify arch to the right of A Crack.
Route Description370’+/-, 3 Pitches, 5.9
1st Pitch- 30m- 5.9/ Start up the short, but steep, wall past a bolt to access a corner. Move out left and clip a bolt on the wall and enter the steep corner above. Place gear and jam at will. Past a ledge with a piton belay (A-Route) and follow a shallow groove to a comfortable one man belay ledge with rappel rings on the left.
2nd Pitch- 30m- 5.9/ Continue up the groove past a bolt, making a move left to another bolt below a steep wall. Climb the wall on thin holds (crux of the pitch). Angle right to clip another bolt. Surmount a shattered bulge and continue angling right to another rappel ring belay on yet another ledge.
3rd Pitch- 50m- 5.9/ This was the rope drag from hell the way I did it and is the crux pitch of the route. Climb a groove directly above the belay past a bolt gaining a short slab. Continue up the slab and make a crux move over a bulge at another bolt. Climb a finger crack with good pro to just below an overhang. Gain the roof on the right via a mantle move and traverse far over into a steep and loose gully. I went left up a loose and precarious wall as the guide book suggested. Instead, stick with the center of the gully and climb up to a ring bolt belay on a solid piece of wall to your left at the top of the East End. This is a rope stretcher. Place double length runners where possible.
DescentWalk off the east via the scramblers trail. It is not worth rapping, way too much loose rock. It is easy to walk off and do another route or two at the east end in the same day before losing the 1600’+/- approach gain.
- 100’s of Canadian Rockies multi-pitch rock climbs, ice climbs, alpine climbs and scrambles, just scroll down to routes
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