Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lion's Head - Castlegar Rock Climbing

Tomas climbing 'Bucket Of Bolts'
Driving into the little area called Robson near Castlegar you can't help but look up at the giant cliff looming above. This is Lion's Head. I would call the rock very high quality and made up of a type of Granitic Gneiss. Steep on almost all aspects there is only a limited amount of development that has gone on here and hopefully more to come. There is a fun wall located just behind the Lion's Head Pub (also highly recommended) that I will include in the future, but for now enjoy this little topo of the West side of the cliff. Keep in mind that access is touchy to much of this area and please do all you can to help clean and maintain this area for future climbing/use. Oh ya…. and as a plus, it was already 15 degrees and sunny here as of mid-March, so it is a sun TRAP!! and perfect for spring/fall climbing. Enjoy :)

From Nelson, drive towards Castlegar, and right after the big Brilliant Dam, turn right and follow the blue signs towards 'Syringa Provincial Park' & the community of Robson. Drive down this road for a few km's, past the Pass Creek Rd. turnoff, to your next turn off on the right; this is Broadwater Rd. Follow Broadwater for 1.6km past the Lion's Head Pub and turn right onto Horkoff Rd. You quickly go a little uphill and then through a little neighbourhood. Follow this road towards the cliff and to where the road ends. Park here at a little pull off (not in front of peoples houses) and take the trail leading into the woods. Follow the pink flagging along the base of the forest (to the left/west) to where cairns and more flagging lead you through the boulders up and around to the far left end of the cliff, 10 minutes from the car. I wouldn't recommend heading straight up to the wall, a heinous bushwhack will probably ensue.


1 - Bone Cracker - 5.10d - Mixed - 45m - Gear to 2" **
This fun route starts in the steep obvious finger crack on the first wall. Climb through tricky mixed to a bolted anchor on the ledge (10d). The second pitch tackles the steep hand crack above and to the right (10d). Bring lots of small gear. You could also continue up the left bolted line (#2) to make one nice 35m long pitch (recommended variation)

2 - Daisy's Big Day Out - 5.11a - Sport - 38m **
Start just to the right of the steep finger crack. Climb through crimpy, technical ground past bolts to the anchor at the ledge (10b). From here the route trends up and to the left of the ledge to a nice steep section of bolted climbing, the crux comes up high (11a). Both of these routes can be done/linked up together depending on what you feel like climbing. All the climbing is excellent!

3 - After School Special - 5.9 - Sport - 45m *** (2 Pitches)
Climb the arete left of the gully on the far right side of the wall. The first pitch tackles the arete proper through beautiful juggy climbing (25m). The second pitch is shorter but the first moves off the belay are fantastic! A great novice multi-pitch route with a fine position and comfy belays! Highly recommended!

4 - Columbia Corner - 5.10d - Trad - 30m - Gear to 3" ***
A fine gear battle! Shuffle over the gully from the first belay of #3 to a single bolt belay on the ledge. Climb the beautiful left facing corner to the exposed roof up high and a exciting finish. Bring everything….

5 - Bucket of Bolts - 5.10a - Sport - 65m ** (3 Pitches)
A fun multi pitch adventure with fine views and nice exposure.
You have 3 choices to start, explained left to right;  Climb up into the roof and some burly moves (tricky) and gain the climbing above (10+). The original start, climb up through the juggy little roof and into the slab above (10a). Or climb the dirty crack (which could be good if cleaned) and into the slab above (5.7).

All of these lead into some fun slab climbing and then juggy lay backing above. The second pitch is really the highlight of the route, exposed and delicate face climbing that lead to a huge ledge and comfy belay with a view. You can finish the route by climbing a short 5.6 pitch that will see you to the top of the cliff. Rappel the route.

Getting onto the beauty second pitch of "Bucket of Bolts"

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