Thursday, April 24, 2014

Grohman Boulders - Nelson, B.C


Incredible Granite within minutes of Nelson. Lots of classics here, a must for any visiting climber!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Classic Crack Climbs of the West Kootenay's

Kinnaird Bluffs

Access: Located on the Open Book Wall at Kinnaird. Take the trail from the parking, hang a left and follow your nose (you can see it from the car unmistakably)

Climb: Splitter in every way, climb through beautiful ground to a wild layback, a small roof and a long wide crack all the way up! Jamming, good gear and a fine position for the grade.

Kinnaird Bluffs

Access: As for 'Yellow Sling' wall but head up through the talus to the 'Squeeze Chimney' wall and a whole bunch of corners to where this crack is obvious.

Climb: Start up the easy ramp and into the seam/crack just right of the arete. Tricky gear and nice in cuts lead into the pumpy upper face and a wild finish. Hard considering the grade and length of it!

Tomas climbing the steep seam of  'RATTLESNAKE' 5.10c at Kinnaird

CROWBAR - 5.10D - TRAD - GEAR TO 3" - 25M
Kootenay Crag

Access: Park at the Rails to Trails trailhead at the very end of Elwyn St. near the Selkirk College Residence in Nelson. Bike or hike slightly downhill for 4kms to where the cliff will come into view on your right hand side. Walk up the base of the cliff to the obvious layback flake. 10 minutes on your bike or 1 hour on foot.

Climb: Head up past 3 bolts of slopey fun to a nice rest. Plug some gear and get ready for the beautifully sustained layback flake, with great gear!

Allen climbing the wild laybacks of 'CROWBAR' 5.10d at the Kootenay Crag

Kinnaird Bluffs

Access: From the parking head up the trail through the talus to where the trail meets the cliff. Look up this is it!

Climb: Climb up past a few bolts of (Daisy's Big Adventure) then swing onto the right hand face. A tricky sequence (small cams useful here) leads into the beautiful, steep, upper hand crack shaped light a lightning bolt. 

Tomas on 'LIGHTNING CRACK' 5.11b at Kinnaird Bluffs
Grohman Narrows

Access: Drive west out of Nelson past the first big bridge over the Kootenay River and hang your first right. Head up this road and take the left fork (Grohman FSR) for about 3km to a small pullout. Find the trailhead and follow it down to the edge of the cliff where you rappel into the canyon (you are rapping the corner) You need a 70m rope!!

Climb: Gain the nice initial corner then head up through two huge exposed roofs (cruxes) and the final sustained finger crack/corner. Take a full rack! 

Jason finishing up 'THE GREAT KOOTENAY CORNER' 5.11a/b at Grohman Narrows
Lion's Head

Access: From the parking at the end of Horkoff Rd, head up the trail through the boulders and up to the far end of the cliff. Climb the wonderful first pitch of 'After School Special' 5.9 to a single belay bolt across the gully on your right.

Climb: From the belay, head up the fun broken crack/corner through many fun transitions and the big upper roof. A wild final pull out of the roof makes for an exciting finish to this exposed climb!

View from the 'COLUMBIA CORNER' 5.10D at Lion's Head

YELLOW SLING - 5.10B - TRAD - GEAR TO 4' - 30M
Kinnaird Bluffs

Access: From the parking head up the trail to the first cliff and hang a hard right follow this around the bend, through the talus and down to the 'Yellow Sling' wall amongst the huge boulders.

Climb: Head up through the easy ground and wedged blocks (fun) to the splitter finger crack. Bring small cams for the technical finish.

'YELLOW SLING' 10b, finger crack extrordinaire

Ovis Wall/Arrow Lake

Access: Park beside the trailhead at the pullout on the road just before Scotty's Marina. Head up the scappy trail for about 15 minutes to the great cliff full of broken corner systems.

Climb: Climb through the beautiful finger crack bulges to the wild arching/overhanging roof full of beautiful hand jams. Bring big gear for the upper section.

Tomas climbing at the OVIS WALL at Arrow Lakes

Recommended Route(s)

Kinnaird Bluffs is an amazing old-school crag located on the south end of Castlegar overlooking the whole Kootenay river valley. There are many classic lines here, as well as some new ones that have sprouted up in recent years. Most of the REALLY good stuff leans towards the fine cracks that are abundant at Kinnaird. 

A line I've often looked at but deemed run-out in the guidebook and quite dirty looking stood there probably not getting any attention for some time. It was time to clean and try Lightning Crack. It ascends the steep face just to the left of the big roof system, zigzagging back and forth forming a kind of lightning bolt looking feature. It climbs up through a tough crux transitioning into the main crack to where some huge moves, sick jams and good gear pump you all the way to the top. A highly recommended adventure.

Now, a new line, that shares the anchors with 'Lightning Crack', was put up by Aaron Kristiansen in 2011. It climbs the arete where the trail from the parking meets the cliff, basically the far right side of the Open Book Wall and the first route you run into at Kinnaird. It is an awesome route worth doing on it's own right, it forces you to climb out on the arete on sick rock with some amazing exposed moves.

With the addition of this new route, you can simply clip the first few bolts, transition right into the 'Lightning Crack' and climb this without it being run-out anymore. So, in addition to having a sick new (read:well bolted) sport climb, Lightning Crack has been re-cleaned and should become an instant classic around these parts. Both are a must if you can climb these grades. Have fun!


A - Daisy's Big Adventure - 5.10+ - 30m - 11 Bolts - SPORT ***
Grade and crux are quite height dependant. Climb up to the arete on easy ground to where 2 cruxes greet you at both bulges. Awesome exposed jugs to the finish!

B - Lightning Crack - 5.11b - 30m - Gear to 2" - TRAD ***
Climb the first few bolts of 'Daisy's' then transition right onto the steep face. Pretty pumpy and tricky movements into the main crack (C3 BD Cam useful here) to where some flawless jamming and good gear continue up the overhanging face. Classic!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Skaha Climbing Tick List

View from 'Slow Pitch, 10c' towards Penticton
As a rock climber you have probably been or heard of SKAHA if you are from the western part of Canada. It really has become THE spring/fall road trip destination in Western Canada and for good reason. Over the years I have had many special days at this wonderful place. With tons of variety, friendly climbing, good weather, beautiful lakes and great people, the list goes on. I thought I would put together a kind of TICK list (not to be confused with those dirty bastards out there looking to suck you blood) of routes that I have had the privilege of climbing (most of them) over my many visits. I thought that the list would maybe give you (the readers) a kind of goal or list of climbs you SHOULD get on when you are looking through the huge new guidebook full of climbs. Have fun and happy climbing!!

We will start at the bottom grades and work through to the higher, this will include Trad & Sport:
60 Routes In Total From 5.7 to 5.13d
  1. Lichen in My Bellybutton/Granola Bar - 5.7 - 50m (2 Pitch Link-up) SPORT - FernGully
  2. Skunked - 5.8 - 15m - TRAD - Elusive Edge
  3. Black Widow - 5.8 - 20m - TRAD - Red Tail
  4. Assholes Of August - 5.9 - 25m - TRAD - Upper Red Tail
  5. Mea Culpa - 5.9 - 25m - SPORT - Blipvert Tower
  6. The Dream - 5.9 - 15m - TRAD - The Turret
  7. Double Exposure - 5.9 - 30m - TRAD - East Portal
  8. Flying Flowers - 5.9 - 20m - TRAD - Morning Glory
  9. Homer's Wake - 5.10a - 22m - SPORT - Claim-It-All
  10. Vertical Bliss - 5.10a - 20m - SPORT - Claim-It-All
  11. Ready 2 Strike - 5.10a - 30m - TRAD - Diamondback
  12. Plumb Line - 5.10a - 35m - SPORT - The Fortress 
  13. The Raven & The Bear - 5.10a - 30m - SPORT - Raven's Castle
  14. Grassy Glades - 5.10a - 22m - TRAD - Grassy Glades
  15. Golden Pie Crust Award - 5.10a - 15m - SPORT - Elusive Edge
  16. Fun Run - 5.10a - 35m - TRAD - Great White
  17. Looking Glass - 5.10a - 30m - SPORT - The Fortress
  18. Watching Bananas Bend - 5.10b - 30m - SPORT - Screeching Wall
  19. Logan's Run - 5.10b - 22m - SPORT - Great White
  20. Mr.Muscle In A Bikini - 22m - SPORT - Muscle Beach
  21. Life In The Slow Lane - 5.10b - 25m - SPORT - The Terraces
  22. Stingo - 5.10c - 12m - TRAD - Elusive Edge
  23. Slow Pitch - 5.10c - 60m (2 Pitches) - TRAD - The Prow
  24. Gang Bang - 5.10c - 35m - TRAD - Great White
  25. Dr.Crow - 5.10c - 30m - TRAD - Doctor's Wall
  26. Genetic Mirror - 5.10b - 30m - SPORT - The Fortress
  27. Minor Skirmish - 5.10c - 25m - SPORT - The Fortress
  28. Sex Machine - 5.10d - 20m - SPORT - The Belfry 
  29. The Beach is Over There - 5.10d - 22m - SPORT - Muscle Beach 
  30. Ebbing Strength - 5.10d -  25m - SPORT - Ochre Wall
  31. Falling Into Blackness - 5.10d - 25m - SPORT - Doctor's Wall
  32. Here Doing This - 5.10d - 22m - SPORT - Morning Glory
  33. Supercharger - 5.10+ - 25m - TRAD - Morning Glory
  34. Evrily Hanging Out - 5.11a - 30m - TRAD - Great White
  35. Beach Comber - 5.11a - 22m - SPORT - Muscle Beach
  36. Naturopath - 5.11a - 30m - SPORT - Doctor's Wall
  37. Surfin Skaha - 5.11a -  20m - SPORT - Jughall Wall
  38. The Bottom Line - 5.11a - 30m - SPORT - The Belfry
  39. The Real Special Forces - 5.11a - 25m - SPORT - The Fortress
  40. Cocasion Blend - 5.11a - Little White
  41. Being There - 5.11b - 22m - SPORT - Morning Glory
  42. Light Duty Power Pack - 5.11b - 20m - SPORT - Werbworld
  43. Unethical - 5.11b - 25m - SPORT - Doctor's Wall
  44. Flight of the Fledgling - 5.11b - 30m - SPORT - Screeching Wall
  45. Test of the Ironman - 5.11b - 35m - SPORT - Great White
  46. Isis In Chains - 5.11c - 30m - SPORT - Screeching Wall
  47. Banana Bypass - 5.11c - 25m - SPORT - Maternal Wall
  48. Wings of Desire - 5.11c - 35m - SPORT - Great White
  49. Fourteen Shutouts - 5.11c - 25m - SPORT - Morning Glory
  50. 20 Speed Comfort - 5.11c - 25m - SPORT - Diamondback
  51. Smoke N' Crack - 5.11d - 25m - MIXED - The Belfry
  52. Lost In Paradise - 5.11d - 22m - SPORT - Werbworld
  53. A Step Beyond - 5.11d - 20m - SPORT - Blazing Buttress
  54. Not Fade Away - 5.12a - 18m - SPORT - The Wave
  55. Salvation - 5.12a - 25m - SPORT - Doctor's Wall
  56. Blade Runner - 5.12a - 25m - SPORT - The Belfry
  57. Beached Whale - 5.12b - 22m - SPORT - Muscle Beach
  58. Pumping It At The Beach - 5.12c - 22m - SPORT - Muscle Beach
  59. 12 Step Derailer - 5.13a - 25m - SPORT - Blipvert Tower
  60. The Replicant - 5.13d - 25m - SPORT - The Belfry

Recommended Route

 A wonderful route located in a great position with lots of atmosphere. Sounds pretty great for a route shorter than 20m, but this little aesthetic climb is worth taking the 2 minute walk from the road to sample the fun. Situated high above Arrow Lake on the Waterfall Wall (there is a spring waterfall located right beside you) the roaring water and great sustained climbing is all you need and did I mention that this is also a sun trap :) Hopefully in the future there will be more to come around these parts, because the routes are a lot of fun..

FA - A.Kristiansen 2011

Approach: Drive down towards Syringa Provincial Park on Broadwater Rd. (see other route topos on this page for more details) to where you come across Scotty's Marina. About 150m past this you will see a waterfall on your right with a big cliff to the right of this. If you hit a bend in the road you've gone too far and you are probably near the Zebra Wall. There is a pullout directly across from this route, take the marked trail in the forest for about 2 minutes to the base of this route on the left most prow.

The Climb: Pull a very bouldery move off the deck (low bolt) to an aesthetic crack/seam, follow this through tricky, sustained ground to a delicate finish. Highly Recommended!