Gargoyle, 5.10a, 3 Pitches

Page Type
Alberta, Canada, North America
Route Type:
Trad Climbing
Time Required:
Half a day
Rock Difficulty:
5.10a (YDS)
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Gargoyle, 5.10a, 3 Pitches
Created On: Sep 7, 2008
Last Edited On: Mar 31, 2013


Gargoyle, 5.10a

On our original attempt at Kahl Wall, we were beaten to the punch (only two other parties on the entire wall that morning) and thus opted for several routes at the east end of Yamnuska, Gargoyle and Dick’s Route. I had only been climbing once before, previous to this visit, on the shorter east wall, on a popular (relative term in the Canadian Rockies) route called Smeagol and knew there were several other good routes at the east end. Gargoyle was no let down. For a three pitch route, it was actually quite interesting.
Gargoyle, 5.10a

Gargoyle was put in by Joe Josephson and company in 1996. He mentions that the “rock quality suffers a bit at the start” and unfortunately that does include the crux climbing at the start of the 5.10a 2nd pitch. The 3rd pitch has an interesting traverse out left.

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 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. Traverse right along the base of Yamnuska. Left of the prominent corner system known as Gollum Grooves is an overhung yellowish wall with three exit cracks/chimneys. Smeagol follows the left most crack slicing through three overhangs for one of the steepest and best pitches on Yamnuska for the grade. Gargoyle takes the next exit west, up a steep corner, which is also quite entertaining. The climb begins off the top of a large blocky ledge about 10m above the trail. Stay out of the main corner to the right, rather follow a crack system left.

Route Description

Gargoyle, 5.10a

400’+/-, 3 Pitches, 5.10a

1st Pitch- 40m- 5.7/ Climb the crack left of the main corner until it starts to trend right into the corner. Move left at that point across some loose climbing onto a small ramp. Follow the easy ramp left to a bolted belay on a comfortable ledge.

2nd Pitch- 40m- 5.10a/ This is the crux of the climb and early off the deck too. Angle up right to a piton that is hard to see until you start climbing towards it. Turn back left and start climbing an overhung section of suspect rock to get over a bulge and onto much better rock. Getting over that overhang was the mental crux of the climb in my opinion. You eventually reach a shallow corner. Climb it to its end at a small ledge. Continue past several bolts on solid slab moving left into another short corner, then back right to the bolted belay.

3rd Pitch- 40m- 5.8/ A fun pitch. Follow a bold and blind traverse out left through a bolt and hard to see piton and continue up and left until at the base of a corner. Avoid being sucked too low or too high. Climb straight up decent rock using the corner at times until you have to circumvent an overhanging arête to the left. Pass some large blocks to the top of Yamnuska.

Climbing Sequence


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.

Essential Gear

Plenty of fixed pro but those 1st and 3rd 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. 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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