Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Recently I got on a fantastic 3 pitch route at Kinnaird Bluffs in Castlegar, B.C called Hail Mary. The climbing was adventurous considering that you were looking down on a wannabee suburbia development. There was bomber gear the whole way and it took some fun route finding while en route to spot the right crack (the were many running vertically down the wall). Climbed and graded many years ago, expect mostly 5.8 climbing with a couple of thoughtful (5.10a) moves and you'll be alright. All the belays are bolted, the rock is good and the climb hosts tons of fun jams, stems and even a ringlock crux. All in all a fantastic climb with some great positions!
The one correction I'd like to add is that in the guide the directions say to start at the far parking lot on the dirt road and walk along a trail at the base of the cliffs but going this way is really long and there is no trail anymore (if there was ever one). I recommend spotting the cliff (and the gravel lot underneath it) just off of 37th St, park down on the dirt road mentioned in the guidebook but instead walk back down the road to the gravel lot (between 2 houses) and up the scree to the cliff. From the end of the scree a faint trail leads to a cleared gear up spot amongst all the bush under the big roof! This brings the total walking time to a mellow 10 minutes instead of a 35 minute bushwack (while trying to avoid poison ivy) but all the while still trying to keep a low profile. :)
Start in a blocky left facing corner feature immediately to the left of the giant roof (the only possible place to gear up). Once past the corner keep moving right on a good ledge (bring long slings) and up a really nice vertical finger to hand crack and arete, belay from a nice alcove/ledge, 30m. Second pitch; Climb the open book corner feature to a cruxy bulge (a little tree is still growing here) and another comfy belay alcove, 30m. Third pitch; Move left on to the face and climb the vertical cracks to where the cliff ends! 25m.
5.8 - Trad - Gear to 4"
3 Pitches - 75m ***