/ Thinking of planning a canadian climbing trip...tips?

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Slipknot_olly on 03 Feb 2014
Hi,

Im thinking of planning a month(ish) long trip to canada for climbing (sport, trad, bouldering, multipitch) next year 2015.

Any advice for my planning round?
Guidebooks, cheap transport tips, recommended locations to visit (climbing or a little sight seeing).

Thanks
planetmarshall on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to Slipknot_olly:

Squamish, obviously. ("Squamish Select" from Quick Draw publications). If you're also into Alpine lots of good destinations around the coast mountains ("Alpine Select" - wonderfully terse descriptions). Vancouver is nearby and is possibly the best city in the known universe.

Places I haven't been but would go to - The Bugaboos and Canmore for ice.

Andrew.
innes - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to Slipknot_olly:

For rock climbing I'd recommend getting this guide:

http://www.needlesports.com/Catalogue/Books-Maps-DVDs/Foreign-Climbing-Guides/North-America/Canada/C...

Its modern, inspiring to read through (good photo topos) and good for trip planning.

If you want to go to a few different places, and you've only got a month, then it'll sort you out for a lot of the destination venues, and a few stop off places to link them up.
jonnyblindsign - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to Slipknot_olly:

There are some nice areas around Lake Okanagan in BC for sport climbing and bouldering such as Skaha Bluffs, Boulder Fields and Cougar Canyon. Its a nice area to visit anyway.

I was told that Marble Canyon is worth a visit for a day if you're around the Squamish area.
Lord of Starkness - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to blindsign:

Never underestimate how long it will take you to get anywhere in BC. The roads are not particularly quick - the speed limits are low - and the cops have got superb radar detectors in their cars!

Marble Canyon is a quite a way from Squamish for a day out -- Its got some fairly impressive rock scenery, but I believe there's little in the way of 'roadside' climbing. -- It's a good 3 hours drive up the Sea to Sky highway - it's between Lilooet and Cache Creek. It's likely to be dry there even when it's tipping it down at the coast.

For a day trip from Squamish, Joffre Lakes is well worth a visit (not as far as Lilooet). Sadly we only had time to visit the nearest to the road, but there are 3 lakes, and the upper one takes a couple of hours to reach and had glaciers reaching down to it.
vegemite - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

If you're up Joffre Lakes way there's a lovely campsite by Gates Lake, about half way up the side road to d'Arcy off the 99. Unlike most of the ones round there you get to camp on grass (on someone's lawn infact!).
Minneconjou Sioux - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to Slipknot_olly:

Squamish will be the place but the weather can be a little like the UK.

If you'd like to be in the Rockies then Canmore or Jasper (which is a little quieter). Avoid Banff if you don't like the tourists but Canmore will serve the Banff areas also and you can drive up to Lake Louise from there. The down side is that you will need a car and you will also need a park pass.

No really chaep transport options due to distances.
dagibbs - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Slipknot_olly:

Understand that Canada is big. Really big. And there is a huge amount of flat in the middle.

Decide: do you want to visit western Canada or eastern Canada? Western has the really big, serious, climbing -- truly alpine stuff, big long routes, as well as lots of smaller stuff, too. Eastern only has small to medium for readily accessible climbing.

Why Canada?
Minneconjou Sioux - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to dagibbs:
> > Why Canada?

Yes, have to say this thought crossed my mind. If I was coming over here I'd likely go to the states or at least include it as part of the trip.

BTW, the really flat bit in the middle has some truly wonderful areas to visit, just not for climbing:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/sk/princealbert/index.aspx
Post edited at 03:55
r0x0r.wolfo - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

> Yes, have to say this thought crossed my mind. If I was coming over here I'd likely go to the states or at least include it as part of the trip.

> BTW, the really flat bit in the middle has some truly wonderful areas to visit, just not for climbing:


???

Is Canada not worth visiting in its own right?

Is that not just a ridiculous thing to say?
George Ormerod - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to planetmarshall:
> (In reply to Slipknot_olly)
>
> mountains ("Alpine Select" - wonderfully terse descriptions).

Or the Selected Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies, known locally as the book of lies: I've heard one route graded as 5.6 in the guide as actually being 5.10 overhanding shale........

The new Banff Rock ((Chris Perry) guide is superb, there's a new select ice guide out: "Ice Lines" by Brent Peters which is brilliant, if that's your poison. There's also recent sports guides for the Bow Valley.

Don't forget the Bugaboos (fantastic but flaky weather) or Roger's Pass for some amazing summer alpine rock (Roger's Pass Alpine Rock, David Jones).

There's also the Ghost near Calgary - there's a new guide for there too (Ghost River Rock Climbs - Andy Genereux), tonnes of amazing climbing, free wild camping and an exciting approach requiring a vehicle at the rugged end of the spectrum.

Oh and there's Yamnuska, the crucible of Canadian trad, Just south of the Ghost, about 70k from Calgary (Yamnuska Rock, also by Andy Genereux, busy boy).

A good selective climb, biased to the harder grades is Candian Rock - Select Climbing of the West Kevin McLane, which covers BC and Alberta.

Phew, I'm sure there's stuff in the east too, but there's a lifetime of climbing from Calgary west (and South if you fancy the US.....).
George Ormerod - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to dagibbs:
> (In reply to Slipknot_olly)
> Why Canada?

Because I've lived here for 2 years, been out most weekends and holidays, doing ice, alpine, trad, sports, XC ski tours, alpine ski tours, snow shoeing, hiking, mountain running, general chilling out, rarely driving much more than 3 hours from Calgary and I've hardly scratched the surface.

Oh, but Minneconjou Sioux is right, Banff is a tourist infested dump and Canmore is much better and only 20k away.

Jonny2vests - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

> Squamish will be the place but the weather can be a little like the UK.

Actually, summer (July - Sep) tends to be much more stable than the UK.
Jonny2vests - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Slipknot_olly:

As others have said, I spend some time over the border, which is only 40 mins from Vancouver. Washington Pass, Index, Leavenworth, all brilliant Alpine, big trad, cragging venues respectively.
Slipknot_olly on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to dagibbs:
> (In reply to Slipknot_olly)
> Why Canada?

I donít know ive always wanted to go, since i was a kid wanted to go there, this even pre-climbing & found it an intriguing country.

Im planning/ hoping to do both sides of the country as im not using any work leave this year & luckily carrying over to next year so i can get just about get 1.5 months. Then when im there flying / driving/ coaching between closer destinations.
But before i started setting stuff in a plan, i wanted some advice, tips & recommendations to give me a better idea.

America is another time job.

Thanks for all the info so far everyone :)
Minneconjou Sioux - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> ???

> Is Canada not worth visiting in its own right?


Of course it is, but it also a long way to come. I wouldn't say that Canada's summer climbing areas justify a trip simply for the climbing.
pneame on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

> Never underestimate how long it will take you to get anywhere in BC. The roads are not particularly quick - the speed limits are low - and the cops have got superb radar detectors in their cars!

Don't you mean radar? What you want is the detector!
Or maybe not, as I think they are illegal. So you actually need a covert radar detector.
Although you probably don't want to be going too fast as the wildlife, some of which is quite big, has a habit of wandering around on the road.
Lord of Starkness - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to pneame:


> Although you probably don't want to be going too fast as the wildlife, some of which is quite big, has a habit of wandering around on the road.

We should have been so lucky -- in our 6 weeks we saw one bear and one moose, however the mule deer were as common as rabbits in the Cariboo. On particularly cheeky doe used to come up to our daughters fence every evening just to annoy the dogs! ( I've been reliably informed that they disappear as soon as hunting season is open!)

pneame on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

One of my particular memories of Canada (apart from the amazing scenery, even in the flat bits) was buzzing along a road between Alberta and BC and coming on a herd of moose. Luckily those things are so big you get plenty of visual warning.
My other particular memory was of the Frank Slide - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Slide
Minneconjou Sioux - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to pneame:

> One of my particular memories of Canada (apart from the amazing scenery, even in the flat bits) was buzzing along a road between Alberta and BC and coming on a herd of moose. Luckily those things are so big you get plenty of visual warning.

Pedant warning here:

It is rare for Moose to be seen in herds. I have only ever seen singles or pairs. Perhaps you were thinking of Elk? In any case, Moose kill quite a few people on the roads over here as they aren't that visible at night and are the right height to come straight through your windscreen.
pneame on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

You are most likely right. I'm not absolutely certain I could tell the difference!
r0x0r.wolfo - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

> Of course it is, but it also a long way to come. I wouldn't say that Canada's summer climbing areas justify a trip simply for the climbing.

The thing is, you can't spread a month over the States and Canada. Easily enough in either country to keep you occupied, not to mention the massive distances.

Although to be fair I was once camping out at the gunks with some Canadians that had drove about 14 hours to get there. For a long weekend.

Squamish not good for a month?
Minneconjou Sioux - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> > Squamish not good for a month?

Sure it is. And I'm not dissing Canada, I love the place, but its a long way to come and I think that what I'm trying to say is that if summer climbing was my primary motive then I'm not sure that Canada would be my main point of focus.

I regularly drive 9hrs to get to Canmore from the prairie and I'm sure that the op could cover a significant distance in the time period he has available but he has also indicated a tight travel budget and you could easily spend up to $200 a day just getting from one place to the other.
metal arms on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

> I wouldn't say that Canada's summer climbing areas justify a trip simply for the climbing.

I would say that Squamish justifies it on it's own. World class multi-pitch , trad and sport cragging and bouldering. I'd go again for a month.
paultaylor on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Slipknot_olly:

I went to Squamish for three weeks last August, went on my own, camped at the chief met loads of people to climb with, your close enough to Vancouver and Whistler for a day trip on a rest day, the greyhound is cheap. I didn't have a car but there were always people at the campsite heading to different crags / town / city willing to offer a ride. the weather was great 95% of my stay, three weeks wasn't long enough. Cant recommend it enough.
dagibbs - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to Slipknot_olly:

> I donít know ive always wanted to go, since i was a kid wanted to go there, this even pre-climbing & found it an intriguing country.

> Im planning/ hoping to do both sides of the country as im not using any work leave this year & luckily carrying over to next year so i can get just about get 1.5 months. Then when im there flying / driving/ coaching between closer destinations.

Ok, wanting to go to Canada for the sake of visiting Canada -- that makes sense to me. But visiting Canada as a climbing destination, rather than, say, looking at western North America, was a bit odd.

As others have said, there is some great climbing in western Canada -- Squamish, Bow Valley, etc.

For eastern Canada, there really is nowhere that I would call "destination" climbing. In Ontario and Quebec there are lots of places to climb that would/could be fun if you're in the area visiting, but not as destinations for climbing. For the maritime (east-coast) provinces: I don't think New Brunswick has much climbing, or at least, not much well-documented climbing, Prince Edward Island has none (maybe some bouldering), Nova Scotia has some good bouldering and some climbing, and Newfoundland has lots of rock -- but not many people.

Assuming you're looking for rock climbing (not ice climbing), you also have to consider season. For eastern Canada, generally the best season is mid-August through mid-October. Mid-June through mid-August tends to be hot and humid. Mid-April through mid-June tends to be biting-insect season. Before mid-April it tends to be chilly to cold, which means only nice-day climbing. After mid-October has similar issues, too much chance of being too cold to want to climb.

I'm not sure of the seasons for western Canada, it isn't my area. I would expect Squamish to have a longer season due to climate in that region, whereas possibly/probably shorter for the more interior B.C. and Alberta climbing areas.

You will almost definitely need a car.

I can give more detailed suggestions/recommendations for places to climb in Ontario and Quebec if I know which bits you want to visit, as I've got a pretty good handle on the climbing around here. If you happen to be heading for Ottawa (my home town, and capital of Canada), I'd be happy to spend a day or two showing you around some of the local crags. (Well, assuming I wasn't out of town for business or something.)
canadian tim - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to Slipknot_olly:

Uhm, yes. Go straight to Squamish and camp at the Chief. You'll barely scratch the surface in a month or so. You can mix it up too. The rock changes as you head north to Whistler and beyond. You can try Horne Lake on the island for steep limestone and the west coast for chillin. .
I may be slightly biased but it is awesome there. There is a lot of rock to climb.
Jonny2vests - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> The thing is, you can't spread a month over the States and Canada. Easily enough in either country to keep you occupied, not to mention the massive distances.

Actually, the distances involved are not that big for a Washington State / Squamish trip, a month would be fine for that and that's what many do.

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