Snowpatch Spire at sunrise.
Canada's westernmost province is very fortunate to have some of the mildest climates in the country combined with some of the best rock and mountains around. Marquee areas like Squamish, Skaha and the Bugaboos are only the tip of the iceberg.
Vancouver is easily accessed by air from anywhere and is about three or four hours drive from Seattle. Vancouver puts you within two hours drive of vast amounts of climbing, centered on but not limited to Squamish.
Penticton, in the interior, is about a five hour drive from Vancouver and can be accessed by air either directly or by flying to nearby Kelowna. Skaha is main destination here, but there are other quality locations in the area.
The coastal range is accessed, with difficulty from Vancouver, or by boat or plane.
Vancouver Island, which is home to some good climbing, fine mountaineering, and great trails (like the West Coast Trail) can be reached by ferry from Vancouver, or by flying to the Victoria International Airport.
The more recently developed areas on the Sunshine Coast such as the Eldred Valley are accessed by ferry from Vancouver. There appears to be a lot of potential in this area for huge first ascents.
For the Rockies, which are closer to the border with Alberta, access for out-of-towners is often via Calgary, although the drive can be done from from Vancouver in seven to ten hours depending on your destination.
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|Comments on British Columbia
|By Peter Winter|
Feb 18, 2010
Climbers' Access Society of B.C. www.access-society.ca
|By Ken Trout|
From: Golden, CO
Sep 23, 2011
MOUNTAIN RANGES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Mountains stretch all the way across British Columbia and into Alberta. Students are usually taught to call these the Rocky Mountains. Climbers have a much better understanding. For nearly a century, the Canadian Alpine Journal, American Alpine Journal, and geographic scientists have divided British Columbia's complicated mountains into three big ranges; the Canadian Rockies, the Columbia Mountains ,and the Coast Range (not plural). Each range has a characteristic geology that supports these classifications.
| || |BC's MOUNTAIN RANGES
red box - Skaha
red dash - Coast Range
black - Interior Plateau
orange - Cariboo Range
yellow - Monashee Range
green - Selkirk Range
blue - Purcell Range
violet - Canadian Rockies
white - BC/Alberta
lite blue - Cascade Range
Submitted By: Ken Trout on Sep 23, 2011
The Coast Range is a granitic batholith, similar to the Sierra Nevada Range. Geologically, the metamorphic rock of Mt Waddington is analogous to the Ritter Range in the Sierra Nevada; both are "roof pendants" perched atop the intruded granite. Both the Sierras and Coast Range were once volcanic island chains in the pacific that tectonically collided with North America (red outline on map above).
| || |ELDRED VALLEY
The secret Yosemite of British Columbia's Coast Range.
Submitted By: Ken Trout on Dec 15, 2012
Separating the Coast Range from the Columbia Mountains are the lesser mountains and wider valleys of British Columbia's Interior Plateau. Like the Colorado Plateau, BC's Interior Plateau is a thick, sturdy, part of the continental crust. When the Coast Range merged with the west coast, the crust of the interior plateau did not buckle under the pressure. Instead the force of the collision was transmitted east and the plateau crushed a weaker part of the crust. Unlike the Colorado Plateau, glaciers scraped the choss-rock off of BC's Interior Plateau. That exposed some good climbing rock; Skaha for example. (black outline on map)
The Columbia Mountains are mostly metamorphic rocks with bits of granite. The Coast Range collision squeezed the weaker crust of the Columbia Mountains between the Interior Plateau and the Canadian Rockies. The pressure changed limestone in marble (Mt Sir Sanford) and sandstone into quartzite (Mt Sir Donald). Deeper down in the buckled part of the crust some rocks almost melted, like the Valhalla gneiss. Some of the crust fully melted, as was the Bugaboo granite. The Caribou, Monashee, Selkirk, and Purcell mountains are separated by deep and narrow valleys, hard to tell one range from another. (orange, yellow, green, & blue)
Sedimentary rocks predominate in British Columbia's Canadian Rockies. Under the Rockies is the thick, tough, basement rock of the continent. That made the Canadian Rockies more resistant to tectonic buckling (violet).
The Canadian North Cascades are the northern tip of a mountain range located mostly in the state of Washington. The North Cascades are geologically distinct from the other three big ranges of British Columbia. (lite blue)