The “East End” of Yamnuska (Yam)
is chock full of less committing routes then the rest of the wall. 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
and Dickel. Dickel was one of the first routes established on Yam, put in 1970
by Dick Lofthouse and Dick Howe thus the name. It is a pleasant enough route through three relatively easy pitches to the top of the East End. The 2nd pitch (an open book corner) is the gem of the route.
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. Dickel starts as does Gollum Grooves which is a prominent corner system with a large yellowish roof forming the right side. Dickel traverses below that roof to the right and then up a corner and then traverses right again to gain the open book corner which is the 2nd pitch. The climb begins off the top of a large blocky ledge about 10m above the trail.
400’+/-, 3 Pitches, 5.8
1st Pitch- 40m- 5.7/
Start up the main corner which is beneath quite a few routes here at the east end (Gargoyle
, Dicks Route, etc). Traverse right below the huge roof above and continue up into a steep corner. Climb the short corner and exit at a fixed belay on a ledge to the left.
2nd Pitch- 45m- 5.8/
This pitch is considered one of the better pitches for the grade at Yamnuska. Although I did enjoy it, I did not necessarily think it ranked that high on the list. Traverse way out right past a piton to the base of prominent open book corner. The route FA’s ended the pitch here and restarted up the book. But that puts a huge factor fall on the belay. It is best to protect with a double length runner up the book a ways and deal with the rope drag.
Take the corner, easily protecting in the crack. Pull a small roof at the end and belay (gear) atop a pillar of sorts to the right.
3rd Pitch- 35m- 5.5/
Angle up and right on easy ground to the top of the east end.
Walk 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.
Plenty of fixed pro but those 1st and 2nd pitches will take as much gear as you want to put in. I would not take more than a single rack to 3” with a set of nuts. Mostly shoulder length slings with at least one double length for the 2nd pitch. A single 60m rope will do. You can easily return to the base of the climb, but biner your trail runners to your harness for the walk around. It is a distance with quite a bit of scree.
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