iN PHOTOS: Check out these climbing spots around the Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN PHOTOS: Check out these climbing spots around the Okanagan

Aberdeen Columns, North Okanagan.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeremie Dyck
August 20, 2020 - 6:30 AM

While rock climbing has long been a popular pastime, many enthusiasts may not realize how many unique and accessible climbing spots the Okanagan Valley has to offer.

Check out these areas for both a socially distanced adventure and a chance to see stunning local views from a whole new perspective. 

Cedar Mountain at Johns' Family Conservancy Regional Park

John's Nature Family Conservancy Regional Park, Cedar Mountain.
John's Nature Family Conservancy Regional Park, Cedar Mountain.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeremie Dyck

A bit of a hidden gem, Cedar Mountain is located in John's Family Conservancy Nature Conservancy Regional Park. The climbing site is half an hour from Kelowna and about an hour from both Vernon and Penticton. 

"It's so close to Kettle Valley, and yet so many of my friends that live up there are clueless that on the backside of that hill behind them is this huge wall," said local climbing enthusiast Jeremie Dyck. With the pandemic putting vacation plans on hold, he has been checking out climbing spots around the valley.  

John's Nature Family Conservancy Regional Park, Cedar Mountain.
John's Nature Family Conservancy Regional Park, Cedar Mountain.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeremie Dyck

"Since the fire in 2003, it's been very open up there, and the trails are really good," he said. 

There is also a trail at the top of the mountain, and Dyck said the stunning view overlooking Kelowna is worth the climb. The wall stands about 80 meters tall. 

Okanagan Mountain Park Boulderfields

Okanagan Mountain Park, Boulderfields.
Okanagan Mountain Park, Boulderfields.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeremie Dyck

The Boulderfields are located in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, forty minutes drive from Kelowna and just over an hour from Vernon.

The base of a plateau is littered with thousands of boulders ranging in size from less than a metre to the height of a sky rise. Dyck said he climbed one wall that stood 35 meters high. 

Okanagan Mountain Park, Boulderfields.
Okanagan Mountain Park, Boulderfields.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeremie Dyck

Adventure seekers can free climb some of the smaller boulders, whereas the larger ones require equipment and experience.

 

Aberdeen Columns 

Aberdeen Columns, North Okanagan.
Aberdeen Columns, North Okanagan.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeremie Dyck

The Aberdeen Columns are a unique attraction for climbers located about an hour and a half from Kelowna, and just under an hour from Vernon.

"It was beautiful," Dyck said, who climbed the columns for the first time with his daughter last weekend.

"From a rock climbing point of view, just very different from anything else in the area."

Aberdeen Columns, North Okanagan.
Aberdeen Columns, North Okanagan.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeremie Dyck

There are two different climbing spots called Aberdeen 1 and 2, both boasting towering, black basalt columns and pillars.

Climbers are encouraged not to screw bolts into the rock face in order to preserve the natural formations, and can use trees at the top of the climb as anchors. 

This drone video footage gives prospective climbers or hikers an idea of what they're in for. 

 

Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

Skaha Bluffs.
Skaha Bluffs.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeremie Dyck

The Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park is just a twenty minute drive from Penticton, and about an hour from Kelowna. 

The park offers a wide variety of cliffs to climb, which range in level of difficulty. Dyck explained that since he last climbed the Bluffs 20 years ago, the park has really developed into a popular spot for climbing and hiking alike.

 

Skaha Bluffs.
Skaha Bluffs.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeremie Dyck

There are two parking lots and easily accessible trails leading to the climbing walls. 

"There's a lot of good beginner stuff there," he said, "It's got everything."

Don't go now, though, because it's not far from the Christie Mountain wildfire. 

 

Cougar Canyon in Kalamalka Lake Park

Cougar Canyon, Kalamalka Lake Park.
Cougar Canyon, Kalamalka Lake Park.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Jeremie Dyck

Cougar Canyon is about an hour drive from Kelowna, and half an hour from Vernon, located 5 km down Cosens Bay Road from Cosens Bay Gate.

The site has 13 routes in eight crags that give climbers lots of options to choose from of varying difficulties. Some walls also have bolts already attached. 

Dyck said he climbed Cougar Canyon about twenty years ago and the site is much more accessible now, as the forestry road leads right up to the rock face. 

 

Kamloops area

If you live a little far from these spots for a day trip, you can also check out some climbing spots around the Kamloops area.

Roche Lake is 34 km south of Kamloops, great for more experienced climbers and easily accessible from the main road. When you reach Roche Lake Provincial Park, turn left at the fork, the left again at the next fork. The climbing wall will be on the right side.

The Beach is a popular climbing area along the Trans-Canada Highway overlooking Kamloops Lake. Routes vary from easy to moderate difficulty. Parking is available in the rest area on the side of the highway. 

For more information on access and additional climbing sites, check the online Climb Kamloops Guide Book here. 

Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments below. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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