Elev: ~2000 ft
Rock Type: Gneiss
2006, 2018


Skaha Bluffs is a rock climbing destination in BC's Okanagan region, just above Skaha Lake in Penticton. Skaha is a semi-arid area (the "Canuckastan Desert"): hot and generally dry in summer and quite cold with moderate snowfall in winter, making late spring and early fall ideal times to climb there. Skaha is primarily known for its abundance of moderate sport climbs, although there are a few excellent trad lines here as well scattered amongst the sport routes. There are over 50 crags, and the grades range from 5.0 to 5.13. The rock is Gneiss, mostly vertical with crisp edges.

(Skaha used to have some access issues. But in 2009, the access issues were solved after local climbers, businesses, and partners fundraised their way to a new paved road, parking lots, and BC Provincial Park status. The area is now quite climber-friendly!)

Cragging at Grassy Glades.

I first climbed in Skaha for a few spring weekends in 2006 with a group of gym friends, when I had first started technical rock climbing and was still living at home in Abbotsford, BC. I don't remember much about it other than it was quite fun. I moved to Washington, putting a couple of more hours distance between myself and Skaha (even so, I was only about 4.5 hours drive away), and I didn't make it back for 12 years, until a weekend in September 2018 when weather was crapping out on the west side and in the mountains.

I imagine I will return to Skaha again (my parents live in British Columbia so I will always have ties in the area), so I just keep a list of the climbs I've done there (on this page). Below the list, I've also included my original trip report from my September 2018 trip to Shaka.


List of climbs I've done at Skaha
September 2018 trip report (1 weekend of cragging)

  TR #: 322

List of climbs I've done at Skaha

(Alphabetical order)

(everything is 1 pitch unless noted otherwise)

   =Claim-It-All Wall
   =Doctors' Wall
   =The Fortress
   =Morning Glory Wall
   =Lower Red Tail Wall
   =Upper Red Tail Wall
   =Red Tail - Another Buttress
   =Tottering Pillar

Assholes of August 5.10a, trad Upper Red Tail Wall Sept 22, 2018
Assistor 5.10c, sport Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
Be Happy 5.8, trad Red Tail - Another Buttress June 3, 2006
Being There 5.11b, sport Morning Glory Wall May 7, 2006
Black Acid 5.10a, sport Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
Bottom Line, The 5.11a, sport Tottering Pillar April 24, 2006
Cracker Jack 5.9, trad Daycare April 24, 2006
Doctor Crow 5.10c, trad Doctors' Wall Sept 22, 2018
Don't Slab Me 5.8, trad Daycare April 24, 2006
Don't Worry 5.6, trad Red Tail - Another Buttress April 23, 2006
Flying Flowers 5.9, trad Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
Grey Bi-Doigts 5.10c, sport Morning Glory Wall May 7, 2006
Grin and Bear It 5.11b, sport Doctors' Wall Sept 22, 2018
Looking Glass 5.9, sport The Fortress June 3, 2006
Lunatic Fringe 5.10a, sport Claim-it-All Wall May 6, 2006
Malpractice Pitch 1 5.10b, trad Doctors' Wall Sept 22, 2018
Nimble Knuckles 5.10b, sport Claim-it-All Wall May 6, 2006
Plum Line 5.9, sport The Fortress April 23, 2006
Preface 5.10a, sport Lower Red Tail Wall Sept 22, 2018
Press the Flesh 5.11a, sport Claim-it-All Wall May 6, 2006
Ready to Strike 5.10a, trad Diamondback April 24, 2006
Sainthood 5.10a, trad Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
'Spro Dog 5.10b, sport Morning Glory Wall May 7, 2006,
Sept 23, 2018
Supercharger 5.10c, trad Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
Vertical Bliss 5.10a, sport Claim-it-All Wall May 6, 2006
Villainous 5.11a, sport Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
While the Crow's Away 5.10a, sport The Fortress June 3, 2006

September 2018 Trip Report to Skaha
1 Weekend of Cragging (some sun, some rain, & 12 routes)

Date: September 22-23, 2018
Partner: Doug Hutchinson

<-- Map of summer 2018
     (click to enlarge)


Doug and I had plans to climb together the last weekend of the summer before I headed back to teaching. Unfortunately, the Pacific Northwest had been experiencing a streak of unstable weather for most of September. Our only hope was to drive to the east side. So we decided to go to Skaha. After a summer of big climbs and long approaches, cragging sounded pretty nice anyway. Plus, although I have lived 4 hours from Skaha for over a decade, I had not been there since 2006, and this was a great opportunity to visit the area again.

We did a mix of trad and sport climbs, usually targeting a trad route we wanted to do and then climbing a bolted route beside it. On Saturday, we made it through 5 pitches before an afternoon downpour soaked the rock and we replaced climbing with coffeeshop for the rest of the day. On Sunday, we had to wait until mid-morning for the rock to dry, but managed to squeeze in a fun 7-pitch day of cragging before needing to leave to begin the long drive back to Seattle. So while the weather was not quite ideal, it was at least a mostly-climbable weekend and quite enjoyable. I could get into this sport climbing thing. 

Climbs / Photos

1. Preface, Lower Red Tail Wall (5.10a, sport)
2. Assholes of August, Upper Red Tail Wall (5.10a, trad)
3. Doctor Crow, Doctors' Wall (5.10c, trad)
4. Malpractice Pitch 1, Doctors' Wall (5.10b, trad)
5. Grin and Bear It, Doctors' Wall (5.11b, sport)
6. Flying Flowers, Morning Glory Wall (5.9, trad)
7. 'Spro Dog, Morning Glory Wall (5.10b, sport)
8. Assistor, Morning Glory Wall (5.10c, sport)
9. Sainthood, Morning Glory Wall (5.10a, trad)
10. Villainous, Morning Glory Wall (5.11a, sport)
11. Supercharger, Morning Glory Wall (5.10c, trad)
12. Black Acid, Morning Glory Wall (5.10a, sport)

Photo descriptions:

Day 1 - Saturday, September 22
 1. Driving to Skaha, hopeful the rain will stop once we get over the mountains. Skaha is Canada's desert, right....
2. Area map on the sign at the parking lot.
3. Area map on the sign at the parking lot.
4. The sign kills wasps, apparently.
5. Peface (10a sport), our first route of the day. A crimpy start to the day!
6. Preface. It's sunny and warm!
7. Assholes of August (10a trad), our second route of the day. Skaha is not known for its crack climbing, but this was a pretty good romp.
8. Looking down Assholes of August.
9. The area is very well-signed.
10. Doctor Crow (10c trad). This route would have been enjoyable, but for some reason this section of wall was a popular wasp hangout spot, so it was bit spooky reaching up for holds that had possible wasps sitting on them. We felt we were lucky we did not get stung.
11. Doctor Crow. 
12. Malpractice (10b trad) climbs the corner. Although Skaha is not known for its trad climbs, I thought this was another really good trad line.
13. Grin and Bear it (11b sport). This was the hardest route we did (nice lead Doug!). It began to rain as we climbed it, but fortunately Doctors' Wall is overhanging, so we were dry.
14. We wanted to climb at least 10 routes on Saturday, but the rain cut us short at 5 routes. Headed to Starbucks for the rest of the afternoon....

Day 2 - Sunday, September 23
15. View of Skaha Lake from the approach to the Skaha Bluffs.
16. Hiking into the Bluffs amongst the fall foliage. (Photo by Doug.)
17-18. Morning Glory Wall. A steep wall with a flat bench below—perfect for cragging! (First photo by Doug.)
19. Amazingly, the cracks were dry by 10am Sunday morning. This is our first route of the day: Flying Flowers (5.9 trad) on Morning Glory Wall.
20. Doug executing the "French Blow" on 'Spro Dog (10b sport), our second route of the day.
21. Doug on 'Spro Dog. It is actually overhanging a bit, but super juggy funness!
22. Looking up Assistor (10c sport).
23. Sainthood (5.10a trad) climbs the corner. This route only got one star in our guidebook but I would give it more. Juggy steep corner climbing. Only complaint is it is too short!
24. Looking down the Sainthood corner.
25. Villainous (11a sport) climbs the overhanging face above Doug in the photo.
26. Supercharger (10c trad), another great corner.
27. We finished the day by climbing Black Acid, a super fun jug haul up a vertical face. 
28-29. Hiking out in the late afternoon. Wish we could stay longer! But Doug it's a long drive back to Seattle and the Monday morning job....(Photos by Doug.)