Climbing Routes Established and Maintained at Upper Slocan Bluffs
The Slocan Lake Bluffs are one of the best rock climbing venues in the West Kootenays, with many areas first established many decades ago. Above the main bluffs are some amazing climbing walls known as the “Upper Slocan Bluffs”. These are accessed by a short trail from the parking area at the Slocan lookout pullout, next to the avalanche gate a few kms north of the Slocan turnoff. This year The Association of West Kootenay Rock Climbers (TAWKROC) hosted two crag clean up days to clean up the Blaze Wall and Cheddar Wall which are in the Upper Bluffs.
This area was first developed in the early 2000s. During the Crag Clean Up days, we cleaned up the trail, brushed moss off of the routes, installed new chain anchors and also put up two new sport climbs. This area now hosts 10 excellent pitches of climbing, fully cleaned and each route has a bolted anchor. Routes go from 5.8 to 5.11a, including some amazing trad climbs and sport routes to be enjoyed. The trail is in great shape and just a five minute walk to the crags.
Climbing outdoors can be a lot of fun, but also requires the right gear and knowledge, as there are no ropes set up for the public and no staff to ensure safety like you would find in a climbing gym. Instead, people must bring their own ropes and know how to set up a top rope or lead climb to set up the ropes. If you have never been outdoor climbing before, we highly recommend connecting with a knowledgeable friend to help “show you the ropes”, or to register for a climbing instructional course through a local guide, or by joining local clubs who offer skill training days (e.g., the Kootenay Mountaineering Club has offered such services in the past). Climbing outdoors can be an extremely enjoyable and safe activity with the right knowledge.
TAWKROC is a non-profit society whose purpose is to encourage and promote the stewardship and preservation of public access for rock climbing sites in the West Kootenay Region of British Columbia. Society activities include promoting environmentally sensitive standards for new and existing cliff and mountain areas through best practice guidelines, and overseeing and funding trail and route development and maintenance. Some upcoming events include a film fundraiser on June 2nd at the Nelson Civic Theater in which the annual Reel Rock film series will be showing (tickets $20).
More info about the Upper Slocan Bluffs can be found in the West Kootenay Rock Guide or on Mountain Project.