6th Pitch- 30m- 5.8
Consolation along with Trace
, are the first routes I have climbed on Wully Wall in the North Ghost
. I was quite impressed with the rock compared to the routes I have been climbing on Phantom Crag in the South Ghost
, i.e. Angelus Vicia
, The Wraith
and Silver Ghost
, all three chossy 5.10 routes. The rock on Wully Wall appears to be a more consolidated form of limestone in general. We combined Consolation with a sport route called the The Trace, 5.10d
to make a full day of climbing.
At the base of Wully Wall is a CMC (Canadian Mountaineer’s Club) campground. From the number of routes that criss cross each other, it appears these old boys have scoped out the wall thoroughly. 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).
The funny thing that happened to us on approach was that by trying to read the guidebook directions literally, we ended up crossing the river through the narrow canal section. Although that made for a sporty 4WD experience, it is best to cross the bridge over the canal, turn left and then right into a campground area. The directions are that simple really. We did not figure this out until we had a bird’s eye view from high up on the wall. From that vantage point, how we crossed the river kind of looked silly. The approach trail takes off into the woods directly behind the campground, slightly to the right. A decent trail meanders up the hill to the right of a drainage. 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, a shallow groove leading to a ledge with a large tree. There is an orange (2008) hanger on the first pitch about 10m off the deck.
800’+/-, 7 Pitches, 5.8
1st Pitch- 35m- 5.8/
Climb up the groove past the before mentioned orange bolt (2008) and belay at the large tree above below the right facing corner. This pitch was considerably easy for the grade I thought.
2nd Pitch- 50m- 5.7/
Where to end this pitch is variable. To begin, you can climb the corner above or move left to an easier variation. The corner directly above (right) was an enjoyable lead and worth doing. Stem out on solid face climbing while protecting in the corner and turn a small roof situation at the top. From there you continue up easy ground and can build a belay about anywhere. We stopped at the base of the open book corner with a small roof above. There is a small ledge next to a flake of sorts to the left of the corner.
3rd Pitch- 20m- 5.6/
The Ghost Rock guide book is misleading here. It tells you to move up into the open book as though you belayed lower than makes sense in my opinion. Therefore I climbed the 2nd pitch of Wully Sport, which is a fantastic 5.9 trad pitch by the way. Up the right facing corner, over a roof and up to a fixed station. I advise adding this pitch to the route, you will not regret it.
I rappelled back down and went out left over blocky, but firm, terrain to a comfortable ledge with a fixed station as I recall.
4th Pitch- 30m- 5.8/
We no doubt were off route again (routes criss cross all over the place), but found a sport pitch that took off back right into a large gully system. My partner, on 2nd, thought this pitch might be 5.9, but I led it and did not think it was difficult enough to warrant not using it with this route. Whatever section through here the guide book references, we sure did not follow. I advise utilizing this pitch as this was a well protected and fun portion of the climb anyway. Follow the bolts up and right until you can finish by scrambling all the way back right to the right end of the huge overhang above.
5th Pitch- 35m- 5.7/
Despite rope drag, I combined these two pitches (4-5). To do this, you will have to go without pro below the roof so you can make the stretch. Angle up and left beneath the huge overhang, avoid placing pro to make this combination work, past a piton you can clip with a double runner (if you see it) to a bolt belay.
6th Pitch- 30m- 5.8/ The crown jewel pitch of this climb, no question.
Walk along a foot ledge via an awesome exposed left traverse.
Few hand holds add to the excitement as you “walk the wire” if you will. Eventually start climbing via features aiming for a station above a small ledge to the upper left of the wall right before the arête. Clip a double runner here on this station (used for a different route) and continue around the arête via the crux move of the climb.
The guide book has you believe that you descend at this point and then traverse the arête. That is wrong.
Stay par or even climb up to a squatting position and turn the arête to a ledge and bolt belay on the other side.
7th Pitch- 35m- 5.8/
Another easy pitch for the grade I thought. Follow the arête up a corner with good pro opportunities past a piton to a small roof problem
(another piton) at the end. Squeeze through here to a fairly new rappel station (2008) off to the right. This station is preferable vs using the trees as it will be a cleaner pull for the ropes.
Descent can be a little confusing as a relatively new rappel (2008) has been added and original not removed. It is set up for double 60m ropes. Rappel back to that station you passed on the 6th pitch. Then three more double rappels gets you to the ground. There is a death block hanging below a large roof on this rappel. Be careful when you pull the ropes on the 2nd rappel.
Double ropes for rope drag benefit and the rappel are a must. Gear to 4”, but if I were doing it again, I would just carry singles to 3” plus wires. Several double runners or just plenty of shoulder length. A few draws. Always wear a helmet rock climbing in the Ghost and the Canadian Rockies in general.
External LinksAlberta’s Provincial Parks