27/09/06: New Yamnuska Route

This September, Jonny Red and I polished off our new route on Yamnuska that we began working on last summer. This is both of ours first new Yam route and are psyched to get it done. It is named Zigzag (5.12-) after its not-very-plumb-line which tends to stray all over the frickin’ place keeping with the best of Yam tradition. Think Red Shirt but harder. It tackles the vast terrain between Red Shirt and Excalibur with the big prize being the big overhanging yellow headwall just left of The Bowl. We put six days into it last spring, climbing ground up and drilling on lead. The first couple days went well following our noses up mainly gray rock. The learning curve was huge as we struggled to impersonate Andy G with a Makita dangling from our harnesses. After five wandering pitches, we smacked up against the yellow headwall. Not wanting to drill a bolt ladder on aid in the wrong place, we opted to hike to the top to scope the best avenue for last pitches. Scoping turned into drilling but at least the route was rigged and ready to send. Our final day on the route last fall went well freeing everything except a single hang on the second to last pitch. With me training for my ACMG exam and Jonny off exploring the Karakoram, we didn't find time to return until a whole year later. I was in pathetic shape from short-roping 5.6 rubble all summer but Jonny found the guns to fire the crux clean. Of course we are biased like any first ascenionists so we think it is quality. In my opinion, the last 5 meters before topping out are absolutely stunning: 5.10 jugs on an exposed headwall with big air below. This is only the 5th route to be graded 5.12 on Yam which doesn't seem right with the amount of overhanging stone available for hard routes. Will Gadd is close to finishing a long-term project between Balrog and The Wild Boys through the oft-looked-at tired roof system. Once complete, it will be not only the first 5.13 on Yam but the first 5.13 multi-pitch in the Canadian Rockies. Long time coming…

I will post a route description and topo soon.



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