Skaha Rock Climbs

Howie Richardson
updated July 2019

Skaha Bluffs is a very popular semi-desert climbing area that is an ecological wonder. Its warm sunny climate and natural beauty is home to more threatened species and habitats than anywhere else in Canada. As if this were not enough, Skaha, in terms of terrain, climate and the climbing itself, is so unlike Squamish and the Rockies it exerts a magnetic draw on people from both directions. It also bears the distinction of having more climbs (700+) accessed from its single parking centre than any other in Canada: a very sociable atmosphere. Going climbing means hiking for 20–40 minutes across a beautiful landscape of rolling hills and narrow valleys, past small crags and large crags, thickets of trees, and grasslands with glorious viewscapes of Skaha Lake and the hills. The Skaha Loop Trail encircles the area and most of the climbing described is close to it. The Lopp Trail also makes for a very enjoyable hike. Keep your eyes out for snakes and ears for the birds. The Climbing. The crags are mostly single-pitch up to 30m but there are many up to 50m, and some two-pitch climbs. Several deep narrow valleys run on a parallel north-south axis across the Skaha landscape and tend to have prominent west and east faces. This lends itself to morning-here, afternoon-there strategies.

< 5.9
10a - 10d
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12a - 12d
13a >

The Fortress

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

The Fortress offers the best collection of mid-grade (9, 10, and 11-) climbs at Skaha, some of which are genuine two-pitch routes. But beware, in...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Red Tail Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

The name Red Tail is applied to the continuous sweep of rock starting above the north end of The Corridor and tapering out at the saddle where the...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Tsunami Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT

The routes here are short but collectively worth a visit. There’s lots of shade, it’s good in the rain, and you are guaranteed a but...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

The East Portal

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

You’ll fi nd a real mix here, mostly uninspiring and uninviting. There are routes spread from just south of Blipvert all the way around to just...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

The Prow

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

The Prow is tall and imposing with two sweeping wings that intersect to produce an 80m prow. The Northwest Face has many cracks, ledges, and grooves,...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Doctors’ Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Doctors’ Wall is one of the major destination crags at Skaha - if you are climbing 5.10+ and harder. The harder climbs are typically steep and pumpy,...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Fern Gully

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Passage along the bottom a Shady Valley between Doctors’ Wall and Blipvert is restricted to a narrow slot. Here the trail squeezes between a fin of...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Blipvert

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Blipvert is split by the right-facing corner of Max Headroom. Left of this is a jutting pillar. To the right is the very smooth Rainbow Wall. You have...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Tippling Tower

Canada | Skaha


SPORT

Tippling Tower is the block just north of Blipvert. The routes start either end of a ledge capped by a shattered overhang. Between the two groups of...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Top Tier

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

There have been brief, sporadic periods when The Top Tier was popular. There is one chunk of high-quality orange rock and a couple of pleasant gear...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Muscle Beach

Canada | Skaha


SPORT

A brand new crag in Fall 2011. Bring your binoculars, tripod and long lens, and sit on the hill opposite to watch the entertaining gymnastics. Grades...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Screeching Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

It is very difficult to get an overview photo of this crag despite the fact that all sectors are readily visible from the FSL. It is another crag that...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Mourning Time

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is a big, rambling cliff but the left end has some huge, rickety flakes and the lower part is newly-weathered. None of the routes have seen much ...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Guy's Cliff

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Here’s a small cliff (shown to left) just north of, and on the opposite side of Shady Valley to, Mourning Time. The names of these two cliffs pay...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Maternal Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
MIXED PRO

The first route done here, Guy Edwards’ ‘My Mother Loves Me’, was not typical Skaha. The anticipated selection of crimpy incuts was...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Chatsworth Edge

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Chatsworth is a bit of a hike from the car park but it is a great place for climbers learning to place gear and climb cracks. There are seven nice,...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Kid's Cliff

Canada | Skaha


SPORT

There’s not a gear placement to be made! You’ll find a couple of outstanding routes but people come here for the overall experience rather than par...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Cave Hill

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

It is hard to imagine a more disparate set of routes than these; from hard sport to hard-core adventure. The names should give you a rough idea of whe...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Shortcut Cliff

Canada | Skaha


SPORT

Follow the FSL to the crest of the ridge just north of Chatsworth. Branch northwest down a faint trail towards a deep, rocky valley. Near the bottom ...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Foreplay

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is quite a big cliff but the potential is illusory with too much loose rock, few natural lines, and it’s plain inconvenient. But I’ve been wrong...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Great White Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Great White is divided into a number of walls and corners. If this is your first visit the best thing to do is walk along the bottom of the crag from ...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Go-Anywhere Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is one of the few cliffs at Skaha where it is easy to set up a top-rope on MOST climbs. Just scramble to the top via the gully at the left (sou...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Ochre Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Ochre Wall looks something like a bow-head whale (go on, screw your eyes up and squint at the picture). The massive left end has an impressive sweep...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Little White Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Little White Wall is a low sweep of rock that is very compact and close to vertical along its considerable length. It sits close to the top of the...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Off White

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

In character and locale, Off White is a north-ward extension of Little White, with 100m of broken, vegetated cliff separating the two. If you like Lit...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Diamondback

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

A smorgasbord of routes from sport to gear, easy to hard, stellar to abysmal. The short hike from the car park has conferred on some routes a populari...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Daycare

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Daycare and the Daycare Quickies are a collection of routes set up in Spring 1995 and 1996 to ease the congestion at Lower Red Tail. Head day-care...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Elusive Edge

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Elusive Edge is really a series of small faces that sort-of run into each other, and although they are on three different levels all the climbs are o...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

The Wave

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Approaches. It is between the FSL and the BSL. Which you will use depends on both where you are coming from and where on the Wave you want to climb....

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Raven's Castle

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Climbs are widely spread around this long, rambling “castle”, which defends the ridge running south from Great White. There are climbs on the south- a...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Blazing Buttress

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

There is a real mixed-bag of climbs on this buttress. A Step Beyond and One Step Further are the real quality.

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Werbworld

Canada | Skaha


SPORT

A steep little crag that seems purposely made for climbing. Perhaps there is an intelligent designer after all.

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Rattlesnake Ledge

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

A nice-looking wall that is visible from the BSL as you approach the Great White junction. The routes are a mixed bag but Amazing Grace and Crotalus...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Grassy Glades

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Grassy Glades has the best collection of climbs in the Small Eastern Crags, so it’s a popular place. Be prepared for controlled pandemonium on a lo...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

China Grove

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

China Grove is a collection of little cliffs lining the rift that runs along the back (east) of Great White. From the opposite perspective you can...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Garden of Eden

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

A slabby, south-facing cliff developed by Russ Turner to ease the pressure on other popular teaching areas, but it is a long, convoluted path to the ...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Easter Island

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

There’s not much here for you if you are a sport climber. Come prepared for some technically-diffi cult and adventurous climbing. Bottoming cracks...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Overly Hanging Out

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
MIXED PRO

This small cliff has some interesting climbing but not enough to recommend it to the casual visitor. If you are a regular, however, it will provide a...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Far Away

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This cliff vies for the title of worst cliff at Skaha. You must really want to fill in the tick boxes to spend any time here.

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Raspberry Mourning

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Raspberry Mourning is about 100m long and rarely reaches more than 8m in height. There are a few climbs scattered all along the crag but the majority,...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

The Euphorium

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

When Dean Hart explored this crag in 1993 he first discovered the juggy romp of 14 Shutouts and then built a set of stone furniture to complete the...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Morning Glory

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is the place to come when you don’t quite know what you want to climb; easy chimneys, nice cracks, peachy face climbing from easy 5.10 to...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Frog Hollow

Canada | Skaha


SPORT

The hollow is now filled with burgeoning red osier rather than frogs. The two climbs are nice enough and it is a pleasant spot, especially the top. It...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Stove Cliff

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Notable only for the fact that Primus was the first route done in The Bluffs. After hours of walking and seeing more and more crags, the gathering...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Far Side

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

A nice spot but few of the routes are really satisfying. Having said that, Throw Zog Throw is a must if you are anywhere nearby.

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Claim-it-All Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

If you are a 5.10 climber, this is the place for you. While you are unlikely to come away from a day at Claim-it-All thinking that Route X was amazing...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Bedrock City

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Bedrock is a long, broken outcrop about 800m north of Jughaul. The rock has not been water-worn here and is much more jagged and friable. It has never...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

The Terraces

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Here are some nice routes that are often done as warmers for the Belfry.

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Tottering Pillar

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Only a few climbs on this big cliff are done regularly. A few that don’t are simply poor, others need gear, and some are too inconvenient to...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

The Belfry

Canada | Skaha


SPORT

One of the best (and photo-friendly) crags at Skaha if you are climbing 5.12 and above. There is awesome climbing with convenient boulders and ledges...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Routopia

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

The main buttress is a nice, but long-overlooked chunk of rock. Rebolting and some new routes now make it well worth a visit for the 5.11 climber. O...

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Retardant Wall

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

The cliff, stained by fi re-retardant, is obvious from the south side of the top parking lot. Nowhere near as good as it looks from a distance.

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

The Belvedere

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is the tallest and most visible chunk of rock around. You should come up here just to do Equinox – if you have the right stuff.

< 5.9
10a - 10d
11a - 11d
12a - 12d
13a >

Flake Cliff

Canada | Skaha


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Any climbers just getting out of their car in the parking lot, and looking for the crags, will find their eyes drawn to the Flake Cliff. There is not...

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