July 02, 2010

Climbing Astro Yam Yamnuska

Jesse Huey following pitch 5 (5.11b/c R) on Astro Yam.

Finally got back on Astro Yam yesterday after failing miserably on it two years ago. The Great American Eagle - Jesse Huey - happened to be soaring through town on his way home from crushing the Slovak Direct on Denali, and probably didn't know enough about the route to say no when I asked if he wanted to do it. Or maybe he's just such a hard ass that he wasn't in the least intimidated. I don't know. What I do know is that Jesse possesses that rare combination of stoke, talent and humor that has and will continue to see him shred many of the world's great climbs.

So on a cool, crisp Canada Day morning that felt more like Labor Day than the beginning of Summer, we plugged into the Ipods and cruised up to the base of Yam. Perfect temps for sticking to the stone! Since I've barely listened to anything other that Wilco for the past three months, I decided to stay the course and rocked out to a live version of Atleast Thats What You Said over and over.

Climbing something like Astro Yam is an interesting thing. The route is not impossibly hard, but it does require a certain commitment to the process. You really have to want to be there; way above your last marginal piece, pulling on questionable holds. In my experience, Astro Yam is among the best and most rewarding routes on Yam.

The holds are chalked. Go do it!

Jesse starting the runout 5.10c second pitch. The guide book doesn't even give this an R rating, yet we both felt this was the most serious pitch on the route. There are two bolts on the pitch but they are rusty and half out of the rock, and do not inspire much confidence. Whoever bucks up and retro-fits Astro Yam will be doing the climbing community a big favor.

Jesse getting into it on pitch 2.

Getting freaky.

Twenty feet out from marginal pro, fifty feet until the chains... The freak is on.

Following the third pitch (5.11b)

Jesse demonstrating gratuitous lunge technique.


Jesse leading the 5.10 b traverse. This pitch requires three long slings and breasts of steel.

Someone was kind enough to leave a pacifier at the top of the crux 5.11 b/c pitch.

Following pitch 5.

Cool view looking down at the scree slopes.

I passed the pacifier to Jesse moments after this photo was taken.

Starting the final pitch to the top. Jesse stepped up and linked pitches 6 and 7 with a 70 meter rope.

The climbing off the belay was really good!

Going for the top.

Some people call this a summit photo. I call it a Thank God It's Over photo.

But I guess it's not really over until the beers are cracked.


Rob Owens said...

Yo wex . Nice send. That pacifier belongs Thoren Verwey/Redhead. Mike found that in the pocket of the belay coat and we felt it was a fine place to leave it.

Ross Mailloux said...

Great work fellas! I lust for that thing!