Wednesday, September 22, 2010

50 days

Time runs by, even when the weather is bad. It's been 50 days since the last time Derek and I have been up on Yamabushi. Nevertheless, Derek managed to red point the rig, leading every single pitch. This was probably the second red point after Will Gadd did the first ascent in 2006. A very impressive effort on Derek's part, since he did not know the route very well and he had to clip all the draws on lead, where Will had it rigged top to bottom. Derek also had to deal with damp holds in the crux section of pitch 2, had to haul a bag almost every pitch and had to belay me following the route, where Will had someone jugging. Don't take me wrong, I don't want to downgrade Wills achievement, I think it was an astounding effort on Wills part. Not only he put multiple days in to actually establish one of the finest sport routes on Yamnuska, he also had the vision of freeing it in one single push very late that year with lot's of time pressure before the winter arrived. I've personally never been a big fan of rope bags on alpine rock routes, but I must say it came in handy today. The flap provided the only place where we could flake our two ropes and were able to change into rock shoes without soaking them.
After weeks of bad weather we had some wintery conditions to deal with. Lot's of snow on the approach and on the few ledges on the route. Like the last time, we opted to rappel the nearby "Lord of the Rings", which paid of big time and saved us from hiking down in the snow on the back side.
Above you can see Derek leading out of the morning mist into the roofs of pitch 2.
From the belay ledge after pitch 3 you climb 3 pitches in a row through the upper roofs. 12a/b/12b/12c and after that (picture below) a 35m vertical crimp and search fest which is hard to rate and to memorize, feels like another 12c. This second last pitch has probably some of the finest rock Yumnaska has to offer, and the exposure is unbeatable. It is mid afternoon by now and all the snow below on the approach slopes from this morning has melted of already.The view from the parking lot in the morning versus the evening, it's amazing how much a nice day of sun can do to the snow.
Now it's time for me to put in my first red point attempt, I'm looking forward to the challenge and hope I don't have to wait another 50 days for it. My time is running out soon, got to go back to work in October. If anyone is keen to go up there with me, please let me know, you will not regret it.

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