The FAer of this route, in his typical form, graded it generously and bolted the heck out of it. He offered up two 5.11 variations on the top pitches and I took those. Each had just one (slab) move at the grade. Gripped Magazine did a blurb on this route but I do not get the recommendation. It is not sustained, there is way too much 5th class like climbing and the rig is over-bolted. Plain Jane route at best, but I like the name obviously. Old Man Rules is located on the relatively popular McGillivray Slabs overrlooking the TransCanada Highway.
The most interesting pitch by far was the 9th pitch, 5.11 variation. It has featured limestone runnels that you side pull and oppose over a bulge to make it through the crux of the route. The lower pitches were way easier than the grade given and climb quite fast. The third pitch has some fun like exposure. The sixth pitch 5.11 variation has one solid slab move at the grade.
We had issues comprehending the FAer’s approach descripton as he just about always adds twice as many words as is needed to explain any approach. Post climb, I discovered that a friend of mine had the exact same issues with the approach description. To make it real simple, park at the Heart Mountain Trailhead complete with restroom. Head west out of the parking area along a trail that follows a utility line to a re-direction (three poles redirecting the power lines). Turn left up a relatively obscure game trail and follow this mossy trail up the west side rim of a significant drainage. The trail drops down to the drainage bed near the end, below the main wall. At this low point in the wall, head up and right several meters to the start of the route, where you can locate one bolt low enough to serve as a belay bolt. Expect one hour plus or minus.
1st/2nd Pitches- 220’-5.10-/ The FAer has this pitch, as most of this route, 5.10a/b. I could not find a 5.9 move, much less a 5.10- on either of these pitches. They combine well with a 70m rope and a few alpine draws. Like most of this FAer’s routes, I clipped about half of the bolts. Tightly bolted through uneventful ground, through one rap to a belay ledge at the second rap. Dow
3rd-4th Pitches- 225-5.10-/ Again, not really 5.10 climbing on any of this pitch, but the traverse up and left pulling out a small roof on pitch three is a fun 5.8-5.9 section. Otherwise uneventful climbing past a fixed rap to the 2nd rap on a ledge. Dow
5th- 6th Pitches- 215’-5.11/ I took what the FAer refers to as a 5.11b/c variation on the 6th pitch. When the climb splits off on pitch six near the top, take the slab up and right. The crux is relatively true to the grade for one slab move which is located atop of a short under cling. Fixed anchor, comfortable belay. Dow
7th-8th Pitches- 225’-5.10-/ Fairly uneventful climbing up slab and corners past a fixed rap to a second fixed rap which services as a comfortable belay atop Pitch 8. Dow
9th Pitch- 115’-5.11/ Yet another 5.11 variation to the route. After three bolts, head up and right on slab runnels. Side pull and oppose through the crux at the bulge above. One solid move at the grade. Continue back up and left through another stout slab move (5.10+) near the top out. Pull up onto the dirt and locate the fixed rap atop the route. The FAer mentions a 10th pitch of 5.4, but in reality, most would be comfortable un-roping here if they were to continue up and walk off. It is mostly just dirt and short walls from here to the top. Dow
Rap the route in nine raps. All solid modern hardware as of 2019.
70m rope. If competent at the grade, you would most likely be comfortable with 15 draws to combine pitches, mostly sport with a few alpine draws. Helmets advised, plenty of loose ground on descent. Southeast facing.