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rbwen

[TR] Skaha Bluffs- Moderates Galore 4/8/2006

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Climb: Skaha Bluffs-Moderates Galore

 

Date of Climb: 4/8/2006

 

Trip Report:

We headed to Skaha for Spring Break and had a ton of fun climbing the following:

 

Day One - Daycare: There are six or seven routes here ranging from 5.6-5.9 and one around the corner that seems a bit harder with a roof.

1.We climbed the 5.6 (Cyopeck's Secret) on gear. It was not terribly well protected, a bit of a flaring crack, but the climbing was not too hard. A great warm up.

2. We moved over and led the 5.7 (Your Father Wears...), again on gear. It was a lot funner, had better protection, and reminded us that climbing outdoors on real rock is much better than the gym. We got attacked by some quail because we were too close to their roost or they wanted our sandwiches. We're not yet sure.

3. Next up was a 5.7 (Your Mother). About the same as the other 5.7. About the same amount of gear. Not terribly hard. There are some 5.8s you can toprope in the middle of the slab and I think we did one of those but they don't look very protectable and not worth leading. There are chains on top of almost all of the climbs here. There is also another intriguing wall just northwest of Daycare called Hangdog Hill with some TR-able 5.9s. You can walk off of or TR both of these cliffs.

 

We continued up the loop trail to Garden of Eden. Here we climbed:

4. Another nice 5.5 gear route called Eve's Dropping. It starts out going up one of two pretty good cracks that take decent gear, over a bulge and then easy climbing up to the chains. The top is a bit of a reach if you're shorter than 5.8 (I'm 6', my wife didn't want to try to take down the anchor because it was awkward).

5. Next we led up the bolted 5.6 next to it called Taboo. It was pretty straightforward with seven bolts, or so, up to the chains. Very fun climbing on solid rock. There was another climb to the right up a somewhat dirty crack called Sinners in Paradise that didn't look too appealing.

6. The wife was getting tired so she belayed me up the 5.9 further to the right called Fig Leaf Frolic. It was a very fun route, a bit challenging in the middle section when I got off route (stay to the right of the bolt line) but not terribly taxing. I scrambled up the lower fifth class line to the right of this climb to the anchors to free our rope but these climbs are not downclimbable. There were two great looking climbs called Professional Belay Slaves and White Knuckle Express. They were both 5.8 bolted lines on the Grassy Glades wall right next to Garden of Eden that looked really nice and long and very consistent in their grade. There was a line for these so we filed them away for a later date.

 

Day Two: We met our friends from Seattle and headed to Red Tail Lower to knock off some more moderates there. Those included:

1. A 5.7 bolt lead called Mother Superior. We had four climbers and one baby so we could only put up one rope today and this was our first. This is a great, fun 5.7 with nicely spaced bolts all the way up. It gets a bit thin up top but it is definitely 5.7. This is nice and long and a very good warm up.

2. We hopped over and did the 5.6 called Second Belay Jump. Very easy bolted line with a weird rap station in the middle of the first and only pitch. I guess if you were practicing your multi-pitch, bolted climbs this one would be a great place to start. You can easily climb the whole thing in one pitch.

3. We moved over to the next smallish crag to the north and climbed a couple of cracks on gear. These lines are about 12m long and take many good pieces so it was good practice for all us moderates. Both of these cracks went at 5.7 with the one on the right being slightly longer and thinner. There are also some climbs to top rope here that are harder, but short. We had our first encounter with a Mounties group on this crag practicing placing gear.

4. We moved back to Red Tail Lower and climbed a couple more sport routes that were 5.6 and 5.7. I don't have the book with me but they were the far right climbs of RTL. Fun and easy.

5. The wives and baby headed back to the car so the men climbed a very fun 5.8 Sport Climbing is Neither. The nice thing about this climb and this wall is most of the climbs are nice and long. This one had a couple of tricky moves up about 3/4 of the way up. Bolts and chains all the way up.

 

Day Three: The rain continued to hold off and we were counting our blessings. It was a bit windy so we headed just south of RTL to Another Buttress. Here we met two or three Mounties groups at different times but we seemed to stay out of each other's way. They were practicing hanging belays and climbing some of the cracks in the area. They were doing a lot of talking and not much climbing though.

1. We started on a nice crack that went at 5.6. It wasn't Don't Worry or Be Happy and again I don't have the book and can't remember the climb name but it's the obvious crack to the left of the two 5.8 slabs. We ran up and down this, putting in plentiful gear.

2. We climbed the 5.8 called Lichen in My Panties. It was bolted and very fun. I think the author gave it three stars in the book (Howie Richardson) and it was probably worthy of that. These climbs are all top ropeable.

3. We moved the TR and did the 5.8 Like it in Her Panties. Another fun route, probably harder than the other 5.8. The first bolt was up pretty high and you really couldn't put any gear in down below so it didn't seem like the best first lead for someone, but it was fun. I did this one three or four times and it was probably harder than the 5.9 I did in Garden of Eden.

 

It was time to head back to WA and also time for the baby to nap so we called it a day. Another great weekend of climbing at Skaha.

 

Notes: All of the campgrounds were not yet open except for Wright's Beach, right on the corner when you come down 97 into town. It was loud because of all the passing traffic and jake brakes and we finally bought earplugs after the first night...but we were the only ones there. We normally like to stay at Skaha Lake Campground because it's close to the crags and the nice park on Skaha Lake.

 

We were attacked by some quail and also saw a cool big horned sheep (Ram?).

 

Weird thing happened to us on our way across the border into Canada. The border agent stopped us and told us that we couldn't bring our mt. bikes across because they had "delicate soil issues" in BC. Is this true?!?!?! She told us to hose off our bikes next time we tried to cross. We couldn't decide if she was just trying to catch us off guard and maintain the upper hand or were we actually transporting some undelicate dirt that would eventually ruin Beautiful British Columbia? Has anyone else encountered this? What about the mud on our shoes? Mud flaps? Didn't make a lot of sense, but then neither does vinegar on french fries.

 

Sorry, no good pics but PM if you want any more info on easy to moderate Skaha climbs. Another great wall is Go Anywhere.

 

Gear Notes:

Clips and a standard rack

Howie's book

We used a 60m rope

 

Approach Notes:

Parking at Braeyside Farm was $3 per person. It isn't actually a parking fee but an access fee to get into the climbing area. Well worth it imho. There are two porta potties, a nice open-air shelter with a chalkboard for writin' stuff, and the trail up to the crags is nicely maintained.

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What was the weather like during your trip?

 

Regarding the mountain bikes, I think the concern was that soil adhering to the bikes could carry invasive weed seeds. If the bikes are clean, you won't have a problem.

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The weather was actually pleasantly nice. We got spit on a couple of times at the campground and rarely at the crags but for the most part it was sunny or partly cloudy. It stayed about 60 degrees in the daytime and got down to the upper thirties at night.

 

The wind was an annoyance at times but we were able to find places to climb out of the way. We went last year in July and it was super. Nice and warm, climbing without shirts, made the camping very comfortable. The nice thing about Skaha is there are places to climb for all types of conditions. There's even a cave route for when it really starts to pour. After we left our Seattle friends stuck around for a few more days and got rained on, came back to The Icicle and got rained on there too. Must be we're their lucky charms. ;o)

 

We thought the seed issue was why the border agent was giving us the business but she seemed unclear about it too when she was 'scolding' us.

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We did a few of these climbs this weekend. I was climbing with someone who had never climbed outdoors before so the agenda wasn't too ambitious. You can actually set up a toprope at Garden of Eden by hiking up the ravine on the left and scrambling up the opposite end of the crag, takes about 10 minutes.

Access to the climbing is the same as last year, apparently Braeyside farm, although I haven't yet found the sign that calls it that.

The parking lot is at the end of Valleyview road above the northeast side of Skaha lake.

Parking fee is $10/day or $6 if you get there after 2pm. An annual pass is $78.

I counted 25 cars Sunday afternoon but the area didn't seem crowded, there are lots of climbs.

You can check the message board at the parking lot shelter for groups occupying popular crags, like Another Buttress, before you bother going there.

 

Cyopeck's secret

 

100_3207.jpg

 

Eve's dropping

 

100_3253.jpg

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