The Hare and Tortoise version of Grillmair Chimneys on Yamnuska is a combination of work done by Lofthouse and Greenwood back in the 60’s and Andy’s (Genereux) tinkering on Yamnuska in 2005. The money pitch of this climb, the last pitch, is a credit to Lofthouse and Greenwood. It is a classic off width chimney and involves one of the finer pitches in this Bottleneck area. The rest of the route was quite unimpressive. Andy bolted the 5.10a pitch (contriving a pitch out on open face left of Grillmair’s Right) and also bolted a variation to the last pitch that would allow someone to escape the moves that actually make that pitch so unique to begin with. Andy’s call for a “standard yam rack to 6”; double up on cams from 2”-4”” is quite excessive and unnecessary. He has bolted the route fairly heavily as is the norm for his mixed routes. I found that a single rack to 4” was more than adequate.
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 you 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 for the grade, but fun move.
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 right past several bolted lines to an obvious easy break in the wall.
Route Description1000’+/-, 7 Pitches, 5.10a
1st Pitch- 45m- 5.9/ Good luck finding the first pitch as Andy describes it. Sounds like he ran up the blank textured limestone to the right of the easy Grillmair Chimney access. I found his bolt eventually above the supposed finger seam (run out), but then just traversed back left and up back right to the fixed belay on the outside and to the right of the “obvious bulging pillar”.
2nd Pitch- 60m- 5.5/ Walk right to the base of Grillmair Chimney right. Ascend the chimney for a full rope length and either belay off of gear anywhere you want or find the fixed belay down and to your right on a flat out of the way platform.
3rd-4th Pitches- 60m- 5.10a/ I combined the next 20m or so of easy ground (3rd pitch) with the lone 5.10 pitch (4th pitch), which is not the crux pitch of the route. Continue up the chimney until the ground opens up. Look for a bolt line that runs up a rib on the slab face above. Move up to a horizontal seam, move left, then angle back right, following well placed bolts with just a few moves over a bulge at the grade up to a ledge with a very chossy pedestal on the right. Avoid the pedestal and do a gear belay to the left in solid cracks below another bolt line.
5th Pitch- 35m- 5.8/ This is the 2nd best pitch of the route in my opinion. You can either ascend a bit and traverse right and then descend crossing the gully to the base of an obvious hand crack in the face to the right, or traverse directly right around the very loose and chossy before mentioned pedestal. In either case, you are probably better served to move the belay to the low angled gully itself or at the base of the hand crack. Jam your way up the surprisingly (by Yam standards) consistent crack until it bleeds into a large horizontal break out right. Follow this ledge over precarious and loose blocks until you reach a bolt out on the arête. Climb the arête to a small fixed belay position below a wavy slab face.
6th Pitch- 60m- 5.8/ Fun slab climbing at the grade on solid limestone reaches a broad area on yam. Stay right and scramble up a ramp to its top and then down the other side and up a short pedestal to a fixed belay below a line of bolts.
7th Pitch- 60m- 5.9/ The money pitch of the route. Follow a few bolts through face moves that lead into the obvious corner. Work your way up the corner as it widens into off width climbing. Ignore a bolt line out right that avoids the off width section. That is not part of the original route and misses the whole point of this trad climb. A bolt on the left followed by large gear will protect a heady move out of the corner to the right wall to clip a bolt. No doubt the crux move of the climb, a physical move for the grade. Continue up right of the main corner into a more shallow one that leads past rubble to the top of Yamnuska. Some small to medium gear protects via several blocks on the ridge.
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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