(LIST OF CLIMBS + 2 "TRIP REPORTS")
Elev: ~2000 ft
Rock Type: Gneiss
 
2006, 2018, 2019
 

SKAHA BLUFFS Climbing


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, much of it steep 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!)

Typical spring day at Skaha: Rock climbing, highlining, and sunny skies.

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. Soon after, I moved to Washington, putting a couple of more hours distance between myself and Skaha (even so, I was only about 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 returned on Memorial Day long weekend in May 2019 for another few days of cragging. These two trips made me realize I had been missing out on some good (and more consistently dry than the west side) cragging over the years.

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 reports from my September 2018 and May 2019 trips to Skaha.



ON THIS PAGE:

LINK
List of climbs I've done at Skaha
September 2018 trip report (1 weekend of cragging)
SEPT
22-23
2018

  TR #: 323
May 2019 trip report (Memorial Day weekend)
MAY
25-27
2019

  TR #: 347



List of climbs I've done at Skaha

(Alphabetical order)
CLIMB DIFFICULTY

(everything is 1 pitch unless noted otherwise)
AREA

Color-coded:
   =Claim-It-All Wall
   =Daycare
   =Diamondback
   =Doctors' Wall Area
   =The Fortress / Red Tail Area
   =Grassy Glades
   =Morning Glory Wall
   =Tottering Pillar
   =The Wave
DATE CLIMBED

Color-coded: 
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter
All Along the Watchtower 5.8, sport Blipvert, Doctors' Wall Area May 27, 2019
Assholes of August 5.10a, trad Upper Red Tail Wall Sept 22, 2018
Assistor 5.10c, sport Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
 
Banana Caliente 5.10c, sport Diamondback May 26, 2019
Basement Abortion 5.10a, trad Fern Gully Left, Doctors' Wall Area May 27, 2019
Batgirl 5.10d, trad Diamondback May 26, 2019
Be Happy 5.8, trad Red Tail - Another Buttress June 3, 2006
Being There 5.11b, sport Morning Glory Wall May 7, 2006
Bite Me Not 5.10b, sport Diamondback May 26, 2019
Black Acid 5.10a, sport Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
Black Widow 5.8, trad Red Tail South May 27, 2019
Bolt Wars 5.9, sport Fern Gully Right, Doctors' Wall Area May 27, 2019
Bottom Line, The 5.11a, sport Tottering Pillar April 24, 2006
Brilliant Pebbles 5.10c, sport Grassy Glades May 25, 2019
 
Conductress on the Number 19 (Pitch 1) ~5.7, trad Red Tail South May 27, 2019
Cracker Jack 5.9, trad Daycare April 24, 2006
Cytotoxic 5.11a, sport Diamondback May 26, 2019
 
Danceannette 5.9, sport Diamondback May 26, 2019
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
Double Exposure 5.9, trad East Portal, Doctors' Wall Area May 27, 2019
Driza-Bone 5.10c, sport Tippling Tower, Doctors' Wall Area May 27, 2019
 
Easy Prey 5.8, trad Diamondback May 26, 2019
 
Flying Flowers 5.9, trad Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
 
Granola Bar 5.7, sport Blipvert, Doctors' Wall Area May 27, 2019
Grassy Glades 5.10a, trad Grassy Glades May 25, 2019
Grey Bi-Doigts 5.10c, sport Morning Glory Wall May 7, 2006
Grin and Bear It 5.11b, sport Doctors' Wall Sept 22, 2018
 
I'm Not Too Sure 5.11a, sport The Wave May 25, 2019
 
Let's Get Ready to Rumble 5.9, sport-bolted chimney The Wave May 25, 2019
Lichen in My Bellybutton 5.7, sport Fern Gully Right, Doctors' Wall Area May 27, 2019
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
 
Neddy Seagoon 5.10b, trad The Wave May 25, 2019
Nemesis 5.11a, sport Diamondback May 26, 2019
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
Professional Belay Slaves 5.8, sport Grassy Glades May 25, 2019
 
Rattle and Hum 5.9, trad Diamondback May 26, 2019
Ready to Strike 5.10a, trad Diamondback April 24, 2006,
May 26, 2019
 
Sainthood 5.10a, trad Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
Short Claim Jumpers 5.10a, sport Grassy Glades May 25, 2019
Sidewinder 5.10c, sport Diamondback May 26, 2019
'Spro Dog 5.10b, sport Morning Glory Wall May 7, 2006,
Sept 23, 2018
Still Under the Moon 5.10d, sport The Wave May 25, 2019
Supercharger 5.10c, trad Morning Glory Wall Sept 23, 2018
 
Tan 5.9, sport Diamondback April 24, 2006,
May 25, 2019
Tethera 5.10c, sport Diamondback May 25, 2019
Toejam 5.8, trad Diamondback May 26, 2019
Tree Amigos 5.9, trad Diamondback May 26, 2019
 
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
White Knuckle Express 5.8, sport Grassy Glades May 25, 2019

Original trip reports for a couple of my first visits to Skaha....


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
     climbing 
roadtrip 
     (click to enlarge)

Intro

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)

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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.)




May 2019 Trip Report to Skaha
Memorial Day weekend climbing at Skaha (32 routes)

Date: May 25-27, 2019
Partner: Doug Hutchinson

Intro

Another trip to Skaha with Doug! On Saturday, periodic rainshowers cut our climbing time down a bit and forced us to seek out overhanging terrain, but we still managed to climb 11 routes over the course of the day. On Sunday, we focused our attention on the Diamondback area, climbing a dozen different routes, mostly in the 5.10 range and among them a few Top 100 routes. On Monday, we climbed at the Doctor's Wall area, putting in 9 more fun routes before having to hit the road to being the 6 hours drive back home. All in all, of the 32 routes we did, about 2/3 were sport and about 1/3 were trad (for comparison, I'd say about 90% of the routes at Skaha are sport, indicating our slight bias towards seeking out cracks). The MPV of the trip was Doug's camper. We spent the evenings high on the hillside above Penticton, revelling in the opportunity to cook good food, listen to music, and relax on comfy cushions reading (Doug) and working on writing a couple of calculus final exams (me). 


Climbs / Photos

1. Short Claim JumpersGrassy Glades (5.10a, sport)
2. White Knuckle ExpressGrassy Glades (5.8, sport)
3. Professional Belay SlavesGrassy Glades (5.8, sport)
4. Grassy GladesGrassy Glades (5.10a, trad)
5. Brilliant Pebbles, Grassy Glades (5.10c, sport)
6. Let's Get Ready to RumbleThe Wave (5.9, sport-bolted chimney)
7. I'm Not Too SureThe Wave (5.11a, sport)
8. Still Under the MoonThe Wave (5.10d, sport)
9. Neddy Seagoon, The Wave (5.10b, trad)
10. Tan, Diamondback (5.9, sport)
11. Tethera, Diamondback (5.10c, sport)
12. Ready to StrikeDiamondback (5.10a, trad)
13. Easy PreyDiamondback (5.8, trad)
14. Rattle and HumDiamondback (5.9, trad)
15. CytotoxicDiamondback (5.11a, sport)
16. SidewinderDiamondback (5.10c, sport)
17. Bite Me NotDiamondback (5.10b, sport)
18. Tree AmigosDiamondback (5.9, trad)
19. ToejamDiamondback (5.8, trad)
20. Banana CalienteDiamondback (5.10c, sport)
21. BatgirlDiamondback (5.10d, trad)
22. NemesisDiamondback (5.11a, sport)
23. Danceannette, Diamondback (5.9, sport)
24. Double Exposure, East Portal (5.9, trad)
25. Basement AbortionFern Gully Left (5.10a, trad)
26. Lichen in My BellybuttonFern Gully Right (5.7, sport)
27. Bolt Wars, Fern Gully Right (5.9, sport)
28. Granola BarBlipvert (5.7, sport)
29. All Along the Watchtower, Blipvert (5.8, sport)
30. Driza-Bone, Tippling Tower (5.10c, sport)
31. Black WidowRed Tail Wall, The Fortress (5.8, trad)
32. Conductress on the Number 19 Pitch 1, Red Tail Wall, The Fortress (~5.7, trad)

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Photo descriptions:

Day 1 - Saturday, May 25
1. Short Claim Jumpers (5.10a, sport), Grassy Glades. Characteristic Skaha: steep ledgy faces on great rock. 
2. Grassy Glades climbs the obvious crack. One of the few trad climbs at Skaha. This was a fun route.
3. Let’s Get Ready to Rumble (5.9, sport bolted chimney). Doug and I seemed to gravitate towards the more "tradish" routes. The climbers on the nexdoor sport 11b tried the 5.9 chimney after us and it was fun to watch.
4. Higher up on Let’s Get Ready to Rumble.
5. I’m Not Too Sure (5.11a, sport), The Wave.
6. Cragging at Diamondback before the late afternoon rain shut us down for the day. Still got in 11 pitches despite having to wait for rock to dry a few times over the course of the day!

Day 2 - Sunday, May 26
7. Looking up Ready To Strike (10a), one of the better trad routes at Skaha.
8. Poison ivy ready to strike!
9. Looking down from anchor at top of Ready To Strike. Climber on left on Just Basking (11b). Climber on right on Cytotoxic (11a).
10. Doug having fun on Ready To Strike. (In case you are wondering why we belayed from the top anchor, it was because I was trying out a new Giga Jul in top belay mode).
11. Climber topping out on Cytotoxic (11a), classic Skaha views behind.
12. Starting up Easy Prey, a fun 5.8 trad route.
13. Cytotoxic (11a), a Top 100.
14. Tree Amigos (5.9) and Toejam (5.8), two short but fun trad leads on Diamondback South.
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Banana Caliente (10c) and Batgirl (10d), two short but fun sport routes on Diamondback South.
16. Getting the day's pitch count up to 12 on Danceannette (5.9).
17-20. Camping done right in Doug's camper.

Day 3 - Monday, May 27
21-23. In interest of getting an earlier start to climbing on our last day, Doug stopped for breakfast at the A&W. Ever since A&W started to carry Beyond Meat burgers, vegetarian Doug joined the A&W Burger Family.
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Start early and on a weekday, and there are no crowds even on a sunny spring day!
25-27. Double Exposure, a Top 100 5.9 corner and one of our favorite climbs of the trip. 
28. High-liner high above Fern Guly.
29-30. The techy crack on Basement Abortion (10a).
31-33. The fun juggy arete of Lichen in My Bellybutton (5.7).
34. Climbing Bolt Wars (5.9) with highliner in background.
35. Granola Bar (5.7). This photo makes it look a bit steeper than it actually is.
36. Highliner. That looks exciting. Perhaps a bit too exciting for my tastes!
37. Driza-Bone, a steep and juggy 10c.
38-39. Black Widow (5.8) on Red Tail Wall. We were hiking out but when we saw this thin crack splitting the face we stopped for one last quick pitch. A typical Skaha crack with lots of edges to make it more like face climbing around a crack.

**several of the photos on Day 3 were taken by Doug, who I can always count on to take great photos!