May 22, 2011

Skaha - Penticton - British Columbia

Back to back weekends at what some regard as BC's best sport climbing destination.  I probably agree after these 2 weekends. 

Skaha Bluffs:   Skaha Bluffs, near Penticton, in southern British Columbia, is a collection of over 50 gneiss cliffs with over 800 climbs ranging from 30 to 160 feet in length. The variety of and styles of climbs here are what makes the place awesome.  Vertical techy edgy climbs to overhanging pump fests. Penticton sits among Okanagan valley wine country, famous for being Canada's greatest concentration of wineries.  We planned on a wine tour the last day on our bikes, however ol mother nature decided to dampen that idea with non stop overnight rain:( 

Guidebook:  Skaha Climbing

Crag Location: google map

Noteworthy Sends: 
  Red Point

1st weekend: Kristin and I made the inaugural visit, breaking the place in and locating the free "abandoned" campground.  The only sign of any recent visitors or actual use as a campground was the #8 sign where we set up shop.  We also found an amazing restaurant:  Theo's Greek , the best greek food ...well since Greece.

K on Spro Dog 5.10b
Kristin is getting stronger and putting the top rope aside once again for the sharp end.  Leading a few routes this weekend, next stop RIFLE Colorado:)

2nd weekend: Brian and I arrive Friday night at the "not so abandoned" campground, proceed to get yelled at by an old crabby campground host who apparently lives down the street....then she has the nerve to ask for 56.00.  I should of asked if that 56.00 dollars is what they were planning on using to remove the abandoned car and trailer from the "campground"...or was it to complete the two porta poopers that appeared to be an abandoned project from the 90's?  

The Belfry, one of Skaha's steep crags:)  Good Stuff

Lake Skaha seen from the crags, provides several beach side campgrounds

May 1, 2011

Mission to get in Climbing Shape - China Bend, WA then Q'Emlin Park, ID

It seems spring skiing has taking a back seat to spring climbing:)  The bug has bitten yet again.  Saturday Brian and I went to one of WA best kept secrets, China Bend.  This gorgeous (yes I just used the word gorgeous) limestone crag sits above the untainted Columbia river, which at this point is fresh Canadian run off.  China bend features maybe around 40 routes, most in the 5.12 range.  The climbing includes some tufas but mainly edges and and rails.  Several 2 pitch routes also exist.  According to Marty Bland's Inland Northwest Rock Climbing Guidebook, Pork Sausage 5.11a is the best 5.11a in the book.  I would have to agree as Pork Sausage was my only send (Onsight) of the day:)  Brilliant route 14 bolts long climbing up a  unique black limestone streak.

Right side of the Main Wall - China Bend
Pork Sausage 5.11a, climbs the black streak then finishes straight on to underneath the bush

On Sunday, Brian , Casey and I went to Q'emlin Park, in Post Falls Idaho for some more.  We decided to play in the sun, thus headed to the sunny Upper Fifth Canyon sector.  Which provides some quality routes on steep highly featured granite.  Below is a nice sequence Casey captured on my favorite route of the day.