Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yamnuska, The Wall Of Stone, 

After a long cold and wet spring the sun came out and we were granted with many sunny days in a usually clouded May.

Yamnuska was looking good to go and the snow was melting, The 300m face was drying rapidly

May 5/2013

First up was a Great day with long time friend Steve Johnston on the ultra classic Kahl wall (280m 5.10a of excellent quailty limestone climbing). After meeting in the parking lot for an early 0630 start, we were soon cruising up the steep hills that guard the proud face, After a quick bite and water break we were off, climbing the lower sections quickly as the grade is quite low compared to the upper half.  arriving at the first 10a crux pitch, And what a pitch it is! Heavily fixed with bolts and pins. However alot of the gear is dating back so many decades ago that alot of it should just not be trusted anymore, forcing clean protection to be placed. Steve did an excellent job following this pitch. Another 10a pitch and a few 5.8's and 5.9's later we are sitting ontop of a snowy Yamnuska, Basking in the ever strengthening sun. A beautiful Spring day.
Steve Following the amazing 2nd 5.10a Pitch

May 8/2013

Another sunny morning and a strong sunny forecast had me heading upto Yamnuska again for a fun route on the westend of Yamnuska.

Unnamed  (the Pumpkin route)  217m 5.7

Audrey Hebert joined me in canmore in the morning for a climb. Sunny skies and a fairly early start had us at the base of the route just as the sun was warming things up.  The west end offers great options for climbing in the hard easy medium grades. Unnamed follows the obvious corner straight up. the big pay off is the orange and black pumpkin that was painted up there back in 1968. Getting to the pumpkin it is much bigger then expected! A cool sight indeed. Again the sun shining no wind and not a cloud in the sky. Spring is starting off with a bang this year.
Audrey Hebert and I on top of Pumpkin Route.

May 14/2013 Shuftee 325m 5.9

Jim Elzinga and I met almost 2 years ago, A Rockies legend who has established more first ascents and more boldly First Winter accents around the world. Was my partner for the day. We choose a long moderate line for the day. The morning was chillier then the last few times I had been up in the last week but still excellent spring conditions. Today I was to do all the leading, I could not of been more stoked on that! I love being out front all day. That first 5.8+ pitch is always in your face on Direttissma, good wake up to the days climbing that lays ahead. Stiple climbing/corner climbing/crack climbing a full 50m To the first belay. Soon there after we are at the intersection where direttissma goes right on a delicate traverse and we go straight up the guts of the corner above. after re racking and having a quick look at the topo, off i went, climbing loose blocks right on top of your belayer is a delicate procedure, testing every block every foot and hand hold thoroughly. Getting to the top of the corner a WILD traverse out left demands attention. clip 2 pins and head left, a good crack in the roof provides protection while small holds and even smaller feet are your way across the seemingly blank rock, With almost 180m exposure below your feet to the scree basin below, this pitch has your attention! Jim quickly follows and we finish up the route to the sunny summit where we embrace the sun we have been void of for the last 3 hours, May is proving to be outstanding!
Jim following the first 5.8+ pitch on Direttissma.

May 15/2013 Chock stone corner Direct Start. 5.10a 55m

Again Jim and I headed back up to yam for a later start and a shorter day. After leisurely  drinking cappuccino's and eating muffins from the summit cafe in Canmore we made a 0930 departure for the yam parking lot. After finally passing a group of about 30 senior women on a morning hike we were well on our way up. The sun was strong this morning and we were panting and sweating heavily by the time we reached the base of yam. Gearing up and leaving a bag at the base (as we were rappeling) we were off. That 5.10a Direct start is entertaining and good for the grade, good gear and lots of it! corner climbing with finger/hand jams, scumming and smearing  brings you to the upper corner, a pair of parallel finger cracks that stretch upwards to the slab above. Having run out of this size gear i was mentally focused on efficient solid climbing. finally pulling over the slab I build an anchor and bring Jim up, we do one more pitch a 5.6 corner to a great ledge belay where we had lunch and drank flavored water for a while before making our way back down 2 rappels.
Jim working his way through the 5.10a Direct start.

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