Missionary’s Crack, 5.10a
5th and 6th Pitches- 60m- 5.10a/ I combined these pitches (the 5th being 5.9 in the guidebook topo and the 6th a 5.10a). My partners, both experienced and long time Canmore residents and climbers, both thought this pitch was 5.11a. The one has lead a lot of 5.10d and said he swore this pitch was at the higher number grade. I do a lot of off width and crack in the desert and thought the pitch was tough, but am ok with the published grade. Due to the variety of experience I have, I have also been accused of sandbagging, so be prepared for a possible hard pitch. I am sure if you took 10 different opinions, they would be all over the place regarding the grade for this pitch. Rock has fallen out of this corner making the original aided ascent somewhat obsolete.
The main thing, if you are going to combine the pitches, is that you want all the gear. I let my partners keep their gear belay established even though there was a solid chock stone to belay off of and regretted it as I had to run out the line at the end. Climb up the wide crack above via easy stemming moves, placing a #4. Don’t fret to much about letting your #4 go, as most of the crack above is too big for it anyway. Climb up the crack/corner until you reach a small overhang section that can be taken at 5.10a, but is somewhat loose and dirty. I placed a piece below this section, used a double length sling and then moved out right on sticky and hard limestone face climbing. There is some exposure in doing this. Cut back left into the corner above the loose overhang. You can belay here for the top of the 5th pitch or continue into the 6th pitch. There are opportunities to use some of your gear as you work your way up the wide crack/corner. Most of the chock stones mentioned in the guidebook appear to be missing however. Two #3’s were handy. You eventually work into an off-width section that is the crux of the route. Squeeze in, face out and arm and knee bar your way up past an active eagles nest (2008). Eventually, you have to make a desperate move out of the narrow chimney and mantle up to a good foot ledge with a piton. From there, I had no viable gear left and ran out the remainder of the easier ground diagonally up left to the very top of a pillar that forms the corner. I small C3, an existing jammed nut (2008) and another off set nut will make a solid gear belay here.
Missionary’s Crack, 5.10a, 7 Pitches, Yamnuska, Canadian Rockies, August, 2008