One of my favourite routes on Yam. Mostly 5.10 climbing. A great job by Andy Genereux putting this thing up in great style. Ground-up ascent means there are not many excess bolts on this thing. Gear where the gear is good, safely bolted where bolts are needed. Superb positions, great rock, great climbing, and a direct line up the wall.
See Yamnuska (and Direttissima route) approach described on other pages. The route starts left of Direttissima. Walk up the rock cone but before the apex (and start of Direttissima) jog off left up a ramp system that leads to the climbs on CMC Wall. This route starts to the right of CMC Wall itself. You will see a line of bolts heading up an arrete like feature.
Pitch 1. 10c. 60 m. You can belay left of the approach ramp on a ledge. I can't remember - there might be a single bolt here, or put in a cam. The route starts up moderate ground on good rock, bolts in situ, on the main cliff. The crux is quite thin. Above the climbing is fun 5.9/10a on gear up to a big ledge and bolt belay.
Pitch 2. 11c, 45 m or so. Great pitch. Jog left the back right up a ramp with some precarious blocks. My second pulled out a block that hit him in the chest. Nothing moved for me, but take care. You end up at a pedestal feature. Cool climbing above this (well bolted, 10d, but delicate looking rock) leads up and then left (there are some weird bolts way off left I think - skipped one of them because it seemed too far left, would have caused drag). The corner above looks inviting and not too steep. You get a good rest at a bolt. A good nut placement exists above. This is nice because you pull the crux not too far above the nut. You're 30 m out from the belay at this point so rope stretch would increase your fall length - nice to have the nut a couple of feet above the bolt. A couple of stiff moves on slopey side-pull crimpers gets you to a rest stem, a couple more moves, and an awkward exit right (bolts and gear here), eventually up to hidden bolt anchor up and right.
Pitch 3. 10c. Follow the bolts. Good climbing on bomber grey limestone. The route finding is a little tricky here, generally trending up and left. Eventually you end up at a 2-bolt belay on a little ledge.
Pitch 4. 10d. Another awesome one. A really fun traverse around a pedestal and ledgy terrain (great rock) leads to the crux bit that continues on well-placed bolts up and right, eventually back left to a bolt belay.
Pitch 5. 10b (felt soft for the grade). This pitch is fantastic. Up the right facing corner above. Bolts are there because the rock is a bit scruffy. You could place gear here, but the bolts are a bit better. The corner then rears up and right into an arching roof feature. You jam the crack in the roof and stem the corner below, with nothing but air between you and the bottom of the crag some 700' below you. Bomber rock, bomber gear through the roof. (Somehow my buddy again yanked a rock off at the top of the corner - I don't know where he found it; the rock was bomb-proof). Follow the nice crack above, take the right hand fork, and up to a ledge and a bolt belay. A great piece of Rockies climbing.
Pitch 6. 5.9/10a. 60 m. Our "pitch 6" was a linkage of pitches 6 and 7 (as described in Andy's Yamnuska Rock) into one 60 m rope strecher. He lists the pitches as > 30 m each, but with half ropes (60 m) we just got to the anchor right at the end of the rope. No simul-climbing required if I recall correctly. This is a great pitch when linked. Basically 60 m of sustained 5.9 climbing with the odd 10a crux. Bomber grey limestone leads up to an anchor on CMC wall (excellent climbing, takes great gear throughout). Up and left of this continue up the corner. A small bulge (bolt - not terribly necessary but does protect the move better than anything you could place) leads to more great 5.9 climbing on good gear, and up to a small ledge on the right - 2 bolt anchor. Another great pitch of trad climbing. Only 2 bolts on the 60m, one redundant, one useful if you're not feeling super brave.
Pitch 7. 11b, or 10a, or 5.8 - take your pick. Contrived. Andy bolted a line 5 feet left of the obvious groove that Highlander follows. You clip a couple of bolts then pull through an overhang (11b). It's really hard. I tried a few times and couldn't figure it out. I was pretty tired at that point - may have been part of the problem. I bailed off right into the groove (5.8), and rejoined the bolt line above the crux. 5.10a moves above lead to a ledge system that traverses up and left to a bolt belay just below the lip. You can also bypass the 10a moves by climbing higher up the groove and exiting easily onto the foot traverse .
Two 60 m half ropes. Double rope technique saves drag. You need 2 ropes to bail. I brought my standard rack - nuts, with extra small to medium, including RPs. Metolius purple to orange. Camalots small grey (0.4 to No. 4 with double 0.75 to 2). For the long trad pitches it's nice to have extra pieces, though you can do with a little less because the belays are bolted.
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