Sunday, September 22, 2019

Run From the Rain

By later in the week the forecast became less muddy, more clear - for RAIN that is! 100% chance of RAIN (not "showers") the next 2 days is enough to want to make you run for the hills - dry climate - but where?  When we descended from the Laughing Crack there were 4 young men awaiting their turn - glad to advise where we should run to.  Someplace called "SKAHA".  Less than a day's drive east over the mountains and into the desert of southern central BC is a place called the Skaha Bluffs.  It sounded too good to be true but Mike at Climb On climbing shop agreed, so we picked up a guidebook and headed east the next morning!

After saying our goodbyes to Randy we drove up to Whistler in light rain and found our way slowly over the passes towards Duffey Lake and the Okanagan Valley.
Panorama shot of Duffey Lake (B.C. Route 99)

Another view of the lake

Skaha Bluffs near Penticton, B.C.

Penticton and Skaha Lake is the gateway to the bluffs and the climate was indeed dry and warm. The rock is gneiss (nice!), mostly sport climbing with some crack and flake lines scattered about on almost every crag.  Once used to it, I found the ratings to be very soft, sometimes even 2 or 3 grades over-graded from what we are used to or the granite of Squamish in some cases. We camped at Banbury Green right on the lake and everyone we met in the area was incredibly friendly and helpful.  We met lots of friendly climbers at the crags, the trails were well marked and mapped and volunteers have built and maintain composting toilets far in the backcountry to reduce (probably eliminate) human waste issues.  This place was a true model for climbing management and here in the US we could learn a few lessons from them.  If only Rumney and The Gunks could be so well managed!  I regret not taking more photos here!
If I remember correctly this is the White Wall

Climber lowering on a sport route at the Red Tail area

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