There is a place close to Vernon, that many don't know about called Ellison Provincial Park. For those climbers out there, Ellison is home to some awesome Granite Bluffs looking over Okanagan Lake that offer up some incredible climbing, even if the pickings are few. It might even remind you of climbing at Squamish, the granite is that good. There are beaches, camping and great mountain biking nearby (sick bouldering too!) Today I am going to highlight two awesome climbs that rank amongst some of the better trad routes in Vernon (in my humble opinion). Try them out!
WHODUNNIT 5.8 - 23M - GEAR TO 3" ***
Arguably the best moderate trad/crack climb in the Vernon area. Start by scrambling up some blocks to a funky step to establish you into the two cracks/corner. Stem, smear and jam straight up until the crack moves left. Undercling and layback (read: incredible) until you are forced to finish up a cool little dihedral with sinker finger jams and great gear. The positions and exposure over the lake are unbeatable. Bring some long slings and I suggest top belaying (better for photos anyway) to save the gear and there is a big seat anyways!!
FROGGER/BUTLER (variation) 5.10+ - 23m - GEAR TO 2" ***
A classic link up that serves up some tricky ass slabby climbing and a big steep roof. Climb 'Frogger' as outlined in the Ellison guide but instead of finishing up at it's anchors step right just above the last (only) bolt and move into the steep roof crack of 'Butler'. From the start, the first 20 feet or so starts with a beautiful layback that quickly switches into a desperate seam/layback and a committing section (read: stich it up before moving on) where your only relief is a crimpy rail and a finicky piece of gear. Move on from here carefully to a bolt. Once past the bolt traverse out right (good feet, no pro) until you hit the main corner. Pull up and into the overhanging crack/corner, sort out the sequence and pull the last roof (bolt). There are four distinct cruxes on this one and the climbing is varied and sequence-y. Pretty much the best variation (in my opinion) on this part of the cliff that offers up a link to the more aesthetic (harder) moves of both routes. Give it a burn, lots of good gear and two bolts. Committing!!!!
Check out the Ellison Guide on this web/blog for more information!!
Link: ELLISON Rock Guide 2012