Four mountain ranges make up the region called the Columbia Mountains. They are; the Purcell Mountains, Selkirk Mountains, Cariboo Mountains, and Monashee Mountains.
The Selkirk Mountains are where to find the Adamant Group, Mount Sir Sandford, Mount Sir Donald, and the Battle Range. The outstanding sport crag of Slocan Bluffs is in the Selkirks, along with all of the other Kootenay rock climbing areas around Nelson and Castlegar.
The Purcell Mountains are where to find the Bugaboos, Vowells, and Leaning Towers; the islands of good rock in a range of choss. In general, the rocks that crop out along the the logging roads of the Purcells tend to be less appealing, softer, metamorphic rocks; mica schist for example.
The Monashee Range has two groups of steep, alpine, peaks to recommend; Mt Begbie, near Revelstoke and the Mt Odin/Mt Thor peaks, above Shelter Bay on Upper Arrow Lake. South of Revelstoke, along Highway 23, there is good sport climbing on quartzite. Begbie Bluffs and Blanket Creek have lots of fixed draws on really steep stuff. Not a lot of moderates though, but enough for those who are okay with 5.10.
Caribou Mountains see mostly ski industry visitors, via choppers. William L Putnam had this to say in 1971: "There still remain a dozen unclimbed summits exceeding 9,000' in the Northernmost Cariboos." The Caribous are mostly drained by the Fraser River, but nevertheless are still is considered a range of the Columbia Mountains.
MOUNTAIN CONDITION REPORTS
Canadian mountain guides have been around a long time, more than a century now. The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides generously share their hard won observations and photographs of current conditions for both the Columbia Mountains and Canadian Rockies.
This is one of best long moderate rock routes anywhere. Inclusion in the Fifty Classics was well warranted, but certainly hasn't made it crowded. When we did it, we were the first in eight days according to the summit register and the weather had been great for weeks. A bear-related closure of the approach trail might have had something to do with it though.Many people bivy just below the Sir Donald-Uto col, but the hike can be done in under three hours, so you can time it to reach the route...[more]Browse More Classics in International