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Skaha Rock Climbing 

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Location: 49.44127, -119.56344 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 27,738
Administrators: Sean Godwin, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Peter Spindloe on Apr 15, 2007

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There's some steep climbing to be had in Skaha! P...


Skaha Bluffs is the rock climbing destination of BC's Okanagan region. As one of the only dry deserts in Canada, a visit here could change your image of the Great White North.

Skaha has a bit of everything, but it's primarily known for its abundance of moderate sport climbs. Despite this reputation, there are some excellent trad lines here as well. The climbing is extensive with over 50 crags. With over 50 crags, the climbing is extensive. The grades range from 5.0 to 5.13, with a plethora of 5.10 to 5.12 routes to choose from. You'll find a reasonable selection easier climbs as well. The rock is Gneiss and crisp edges are the bread-and-butter holds. Vertical is the predominant angle but you'll find it tipping in either direction to suit your taste.

The season runs from March to October or November. As with most places it's possible to get lucky at other times, but it's usually cold and snowy in the winter. In the summer, you'll have to take a midday siesta to escape the heat.

Skaha access issues were solved in 2009 after local climbers, businesses, and partners fundraised their way to a new paved road, parking lots, and BC Provincial Park status. Parking is free, but there is no camping in the Park.

The South Okanagan is a special place. Its plant and animal communities are diverse and unique, and many are threatened. Over 40 percent of the province's at-risk species are in this region. Please take care to stick to the trails and not disturb the wildlife.

Getting There 

Skaha is on the edge of the town of Penticton and just north of Okanagan Falls. The Bluffs are easy to find via Google Maps. From Vancouver, take Hwy 5 (the Coquihalla) or Hwy 3 (Crowsnest), depending on whether you value time or scenery more. It's possible to drive in from the east or south as well, and to fly into Penticton or Kamloops.

Buy Howie Richardson's guidebook for complete details and directions. BC Parks has a pretty good trail map to peruse if you don't have the guidebook yet.

An excellent Google Earth view of the crags is available here.


Camping near Skaha can sometimes be a difficult endeavour because of busyness in the summer and closed campgrounds in the spring and fall. Make sure you plan ahead, and maybe think about snagging a spot before heading to the crag that first day. Check out Skaha Rock Adventures' list of camping spots to get your started. There are reasonable motel and rental options in the area as well.

There is no camping allowed in the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park under any circumstance. An incredible amount of time, effort, and money went into securing climbing access to Skaha; please don't jeopardize our relationship with the Park by attempting to camp on the hill!

Skaha on Mountain Project 

The Skaha page on this site is currently being updated and organized, but many routes are still missing. If you see missing climbs that you've done or areas that you've been to, please add them!

Climbing Season

For the Okanagan area.

Weather station 2.6 miles from here

177 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',14],['3 Stars',72],['2 Stars',64],['1 Star',22],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in Skaha

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Skaha:
Guilt Trip   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Red Tail Group : (c) Lower Red Tail
Just Lead It   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 9 pitches, 85'   Red Tail Group : (c) Lower Red Tail
Plum Line   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   The Fortress : (b) Plum Wall
Assholes of August   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Red Tail Group : (d) Upper Red Tail
Grassy Glades   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Grassy Glades
Stouthearted   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 115'   The Fortress : (b) Plum Wall
Looking Glass   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 82'   The Fortress : (g) The Corridor
Snarling at the Greeter   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   The Terraces
Genetic Mirror   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   The Fortress : (g) The Corridor
Faint Hope Claws   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Claim It All
Naturopath   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Doctors' Group : (d) Doctors' Wall
The Real Special Forces   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 60'   The Fortress : (d) The Grooves
Test of the Ironman   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 35'   White Walls : (a) Great White
Wings of Desire   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 100'   White Walls : (a) Great White
Doctor MegaTrip   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   Doctors' Group : (d) Doctors' Wall
Not Fade Away   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 50'   The Wave
Orrgazmo   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 20'   The Belfry
The Spell   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 100'   Doctors' Group : (d) Doctors' Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Skaha

Featured Route For Skaha
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back up after my redpoint. So fun.

Doctor MegaTrip 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a  North America : Canada : ... : (d) Doctors' Wall
An outstanding route. Go straight up from the second to last fixed draw. Well spaced buckets, except at the mid-height crux. Leads up to a flake crack on a vertical wall....[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Skaha Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Kelly Franz on The Future is Now.  Photo by Matthe...
Kelly Franz on The Future is Now. Photo by Matthe...

Comments on Skaha Add Comment
Show which comments
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
Dec 17, 2008
Good news about the parking lot:
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
Dec 17, 2008
Nice image gallery:
By Krista m
May 27, 2009
How long is the approach? Want to go with kids this summer.
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
May 28, 2009
The approach from the new parking lot is now much more kid friendly than the old parking lot as it's more level. It probably takes about fifteen minutes to get to the Day Care crag. There are still some uphill sections, but nothing like the old staircase.
By Krista m
Jun 3, 2009
Thanks Peter....that helps.
What's the best guide book to buy for the area?
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
Jun 3, 2009
This book is still the only one, I believe. When combined with the supplement and link to parking info, both listed above, you have everything you need.
By Cam Robertson
Jul 28, 2010
The new access is approximately 3km South along Skaha Lake Road, about a third of the way down the lake.

There is an update for the guidebook located at There are rumblings that a new guidebook is in the works....

Note that the area is now a Provincial Park.
By Aimee Rose
From: Bend, or
Sep 6, 2011
The new parking is at the end of Smyth Road on the east side of the lake. If you drive around the lake, you'll see a sign for Skaha Bluffs. Follow Smyth Rd up the hill. Park at the lower parking for the Fortress, Doctor's Wall and all climbing beyond that. Park at the upper lot for the Great White Wall, The Belfry and other climbing areas in the vicinity.
By S. Stember
From: St. Paul, MN
Jun 4, 2012
Hey there Canadians and any one else with some good beta! How bad of an idea would it be to come to Skaha for some quality sport climbing in July? It'd likely be around July 15th. I've heard mixed opinions and I know it can be a bit hot, but is it too hot then?

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