Wully Wall is a rather short non-descript wall in the North Ghost that offers great accessibility via established camp (CMC) sites at its base and thus a short approach. Its most notable feature when viewed on the drive in, is the obvious “tree island” in the center of its face. Wully Wall mostly faces east and thus loses most sun before noon making it a better mid to late summer objective. By far the most common route on the wall is Consolation which is the first route I did on Wully Wall. Consolation was put in by Chris Perry in 1977 and offers one of the more unique easy grade (5.8) exposed traverses on solid rock in the region.
The rest of the wall is an eclectic combination of older and newer routes, both trad and sport, with sort of a two decade (80’s and 90’s) void in between. There is tons of fixed gear, both pro and stations, on the wall. It would be a hard place to get in much trouble. A lot of the pitches are short, and you can almost always find a piton or bolt when in doubt.
Head for the North Ghost. As soon as you cross the bridge, turn left and pull into the first campground spot for access to the main wall, longer routes. On my first visit, I actually crossed the canal before the bridge which obviously is not neccassary. Locate the decent trail (hard to get a visual for the start of the trail) immediately heading up the hill to the wall. Cross the drainage to the left at the top and you will be standing below the Trace route. Continue left to find the start of Consolation and Heavyweight Contender.
The Routes are Listed Right to Left as you Face the Wall
- Snake Bit- 4 Pitches- 5.8/
- Trace- 4 Pitches- 5.10d/ Trace was put in by Nielson and Huisman, 1998. Although it has not received much attention yet, I consider it one of the better short multi-pitch sport routes in the Canadian Rockies and highly recommend it. It is the only sport route on Wullly Wall and makes for a great combination with any of the moderate trad/mixed routes to the left for a full day of climbing. Dow
- Wully Sport- 6 Pitches- 5.11b-c/
- Wully Watchers- 4 Pitches- 5.8/
- Consolation- 7 Pitches- 5.8/ Consolation was one of the first established routes in the Ghost, put up in 1977 by Perry and White. It is considered the most popular route in the north ghost due to its moderate climbing as well as ease of access compared to most of the rock in the Ghost.By far the most interesting aspect of the climb is its 6th pitch traverse below a massive section of overhanging rock. You traverse a long way out left over an airy arête. Tons of variations exist and it is easy to get off course. I actually found the best pitch of the day by going off route (Wully Sport’s amazing 2nd pitch- corner and roof which can easily be rapped back to where you started). Dow
- Prize Fight- Single Pitch- 5.11a/
- Rattie the Rope Eater- 5 Pitches- 5.10c-d/
- Heavy Weight Contender- 6 Pitches- 5.10b/ The first two pitches are the best on the route. I led all the pitches and would advise the first one as a good pitch for an entry level trad leader. It is a nice 5.7-5.8 trad lead accepting all kinds of gear. Still Andy put a few bolts on it as you meander over broken ground towards the fixed belay. The second pitch is the crux of the climb if for no other reason than it can be quite wet and chossy. I found it in those conditions in late July. Move up and left past a bolt into a deep right facing corner (not a shallow left facing corner as the guidebook suggests). Continue up the sustained corner passing through a small roof/off-width that protects well. The third pitch is fully bolted. It was my second time up this line of bolts as I took this pitch as a variation when I climbed Consolation versus groveling up fifth class ground to the right. There is no way this is 5.10b in my opinion but that is how Andy has it rated. The pitch seemed much easier. Just move right and follow the bolts up solid slab edges to the next fixed belay. The fourth pitch did feel not look or feel much like 5.10a either, although one move off of the first deck to gain the first corner was probably at the grade. After that corner, follow spaced out bolts up and left to a fixed belay in the awesome traverse pitch of Consolation. The fifth pitch is nothing more than completing the exposed foot rail pitch to the fixed belay up and left. When on Consolation, you go around the arête and do not use this belay. The final pitch goes up the bolt you see above the belay and then takes the arête around to the corner and finished up on Consolation. A much better finish would be to take the 5.10c/d bolted finish of Rattie the Rope Eater. All three routes end up at the same rap station on top. Dow
- Runner Up- 5 Pitches- 5.10d/
- Chicken Heart- 6 Pitches- 5.10b/
- Countdown- 6 Pitches- 5.9/
- Sellout- 5 Pitches- 5.11b/
- Jeff’s Route- Single Pitch- 5.7/
- Hangover- 2 Pitches- 5.8/
- Chicken on the Way- 4 Pitches- 5.8/
- Big Willy- 3 Pitches- 5.9/
- Gateway- 3 Pitches- 5.8+/
Descent OptionsQuite a few. You can walk/scramble off from the top of Wully Wall although I have not done it to date. Most of the longer, more common, routes reach the same top rappel option. They have retrofitted Heavyweight Contender to be rapped back to the ground which would serve quite a few routes including Consolation, all solid ring bolt raps as of 2010. However, I have always used the direct rappel line (as of 2010) from those top rap rings which utilize a few older pitons and such, but follows the direct fall line to the ground.
“I used double 60m ropes for the straight down rappel, but you could descend this wall via a variety of fixed gear. Although it would be tempting to skip a rap here or there, I advise against it due to rope pull and subsequent potential rock fall. Take a double rap back down to last belay. Then another past a deep corner/chimney on your left that reaches an older rap on a ramp. The next several raps are free air type of raps utilizing piton/bolt combinations with some old tat here and there (2010). Do a free air rap off of the ramp, making more of a true double rap before you find your next station below an overhang. Make a single rope rap to a ledge out left with a tree and one final double rope rap to the ground.” Dow
External Links100’s of Ghost and Bow Valley multi-pitch rock climbs, ice climbs, alpine climbs and scrambles, just scroll down to routes
Best Eats in Canmore: Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, all organic fare, not just a pizza place, but a true best of the best mountain local dining experience, great on site owner and customer service with a smile, not easily obtained in Canmore
Best Eats in Banff: The Bison, all organic/free range fare, with a detailed description of their suppliers. Recently expanded (2010), I recommend sticking with the downstairs. Better menu, prices and social ambience. Maybe retire to the bar upstairs for sunset or late night. Bison chili is amazing!
Best Coffee in Canmore: Beamers, the locals favorite, super wholesome lunch stuff, local guys, no attitude on service
Best Climbers Hangout: Summit Café, most likely place to find me or my brethren shooting the bull about beta. Best breakfast place in town, good coffee as well, serve Mennonite meats from Valbella, which is the best place to buy free range products anywhere in the world, right here in Canmore.
Climbing Gear: All way too expensive in the Bow Valley, but if you must, Mountain Magic in Banff is far superior to service and actual knowledge about climbing than the two in Canmore.