Type: Trad, Alpine, 1500 ft, 12 pitches, Grade III
FA: F. Beckey, M. de Jong, J. Svensson 1987 Speedway: K. Wild, R. Mooney, A. Commazetto, 1996
Page Views: 5,657 total · 49/month
Shared By: Dru B. on Aug 13, 2009
Admins: Kate Lynn

You & This Route

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This route has a convoluted history and great climbing. In 1987, Fred Beckey, Maxim de Jong, and Joanne Svensson climbed a long and seriously runout route on the southwest flanks of Yak, weaving around to link up features where they could establish gear belays. Fred didn't think it was the greatest route. In the 90's, Roland Mooney and partners, unaware of the earlier ascent in the same vicinity, brought a powerdrill and established a bold slab climb that takes a more direct line through the same general terrain as the earlier ascent, using bolted belays to straighten out the climbing. The two climbs are very close to each other and today, the Speedway route makes the most sense as an ascent.

Begin in the centre of the SW face, near a small dead tree with a blue sling on it, directly below a faint white streak. The first five pitches are very easy (4th class through 5.3). The first three pitches feature almost full-length (50m) runouts between bolted stations; there is one bolt on the third pitch, which is easy to miss. Also,the first bolted anchor is very hard to see from the ground.

The 4th and 5th pitch angle slightly left and feature flake sections with good TCU or nut placements. Both are 5.3.

The sixth pitch is where the climbing gets serious. The rock steepens somewhat. Climb up to an overlap, clip a bolt, and run it out 25m past the bolt to a bolted hanging belay on a diagonal seam (clipping the pack to the belay and sitting on it can be a good way to rest the feet and calves).

The seventh pitch is committing; step off the hanging belay and run it out 20m or so on sustained 5.7 to the first bolt, then a similar distance to the second, then 10m or so more to the anchor, on a welcome ledge.

The 8th pitch is 4th class with some loose rock; climb up and left on ledges to another bolted belay below a flake.

The 9th pitch climbs a short flake (nuts and/or camalot for pro), then climbs glacier polish with spaced edges past two well-spaced bolts (5.8 crux) to a bolt belay.

The 10th pitch climbs easier, but sustained (5.5) slabs with 1 bolt for pro.

The 11th pitch (5.0, no pro) skirts a tree island on the left to a tree anchor with lots of slings.

From here it is possible to continue scrambling up tree ledges, moss grooves and dirty cracks for about 300m of sustained 4th class to the top, or rappel with 2 ropes back down.


Hike up the climbers approach trail to the base of Yak and slab climb, smear and scramble left across the base of the crag for 30 minutes to 1 hour to the climb. If you reach a small tarn, you have gone too far; backtrack 100m.


6 long slings and a light rack of finger sized (medium) nuts and 3-4 finger to hand-sized cams.

The climb is very runout for the grade (15-20m between bolts on the crux pitches, and easier pitches with no pro whatsoever) and parties should be solid at the grade. For those confident on runout slabs, it is a fine adventure.


Roland Moonie
Kamloops, BC
Roland Moonie   Kamloops, BC
There wouldn't be a convoluted history if someone actually asked me. I was very aware of the Beckey route, as I cleaned many old angles and rusted Leeper z pins in '93/94, which follows the features about 100' to the left of Speedway. I confirmed this with Fred, in person, using photos in '95, then went back and bolted the bare slab that is now Speedway. Aug 18, 2018