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Areas in Skaha

(a) The Fortress 17 / 19 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 36
(b) Red Tail Group 9 / 29 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 38
(c) Doctors' Group 5 / 22 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 27
(d) Maternal Group 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
(e) Northern Crags 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
(f) White Walls 4 / 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 18
(g) Southern Crags 7 / 28 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 35
(h) Small Eastern Crags 3 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
(i) Northeastern Crags 0 / 25 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 25
(j) Grand Canyon 1 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
(k) Foreplay Cliff 0 / 30 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 30
Elevation: 2,008 ft
GPS: 49.441, -119.563 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 68,533 total, 528/month
Shared By: Peter Spindloe on Apr 15, 2007
Admins: Sean Godwin, Kate Lynn

Description

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 excellent 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

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!

Dogs

We as climbers have gained a lot from Skaha being made a provincial park (guaranteed access, bathrooms, parking, security, etc). We do, however, have to adjust to a few stricter rules. One of these is that dogs must be kept on leash in the park at all times. Many people do not obey this rule, and BC Parks is considering banning dogs from Skaha Provincial Park as a result.

Please keep your dogs on leash, and if you see anyone with a dog not on leash please remind them of the rules. We risk losing dog access otherwise.

Skaha on Mountain Project

The Skaha Mountain Project page is organized into areas and crags according to Howie Richardson's guidebook.

There are many known routes in this area that are missing on Mountain Project. On each crag's page, there is a list of its routes that are missing on Mountain Project but described in the guidebook. Please contribute to the Skaha Mountain Project page by taking the time to add these missing routes if you've climbed them!

247 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Skaha

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Assholes of August
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Plum Line
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Genetic Mirror
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Snarling at the Greeter
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
The Real Special Forces
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Eyrily Hanging Out
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Wings of Desire
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Test of the Ironman
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Doctor MegaTrip
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Not Fade Away
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
The Spell
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Bladerunner
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Orrgazmo
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
'Spro Dog 'Spro
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Salvation
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Assholes of August (b) Red Tail Group > (d) Upper Red Tail 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Plum Line (a) The Fortress > (b) Plum Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13 Sport
Genetic Mirror (a) The Fortress > (g) The Corridor 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Snarling at the Greeter (j) Grand Canyon > (a) The Terraces 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
The Real Special Forces (a) The Fortress > (d) The Grooves 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Eyrily Hanging Out (f) White Walls > (a) Great White 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Wings of Desire (f) White Walls > (a) Great White 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Test of the Ironman (f) White Walls > (a) Great White 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Doctor MegaTrip (c) Doctors' Group > (d) Doctors' Wall 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Not Fade Away (g) Southern Crags > (e) The Wave 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
The Spell (c) Doctors' Group > (d) Doctors' Wall 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Bladerunner (j) Grand Canyon > (c) The Belfry 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Orrgazmo (j) Grand Canyon > (c) The Belfry 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
'Spro Dog 'Spro (i) Northeastern… > (b) Morning Glory 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Salvation (c) Doctors' Group > (d) Doctors' Wall 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Skaha »

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Photos

Hans
Squamish, BC
Hans   Squamish, BC
As a former Okanaganite, I realize that Penticton as a town doesn't have a lot to offer the traveling climber. Golf courses? Check. Strip malls? Oh, yeah. But cheap restaurants with good food? That's hard to find.

Having said that I highly recommend Tequila Vallarta on the main street into town from the crags. Great food and reasonably priced. Yum. It's not Mags 99, but it's close. May 21, 2017
Sean Godwin
Vancouver, BC
Sean Godwin   Vancouver, BC  
The Skaha Mountain Project page has been updated, re-organized, re-formatted, and generally cleaned up. There are still a bunch of missing routes though - these are listed in each area's page, so if you've climbed any of these missing routes please add them in!

Let me know if you'd like to see any other changes/additions this page or any of the subpages. Jan 19, 2017
Sean Godwin
Vancouver, BC
Sean Godwin   Vancouver, BC  
S. Stember and Eric K - This comment is way too late to help you guys (sorry!), but I'm going to post this anyway to help others who come across your questions.

S. Stember: It's not a bad idea to come to Skaha in July - some of my favourite climbing at Skaha has been done in the summer - but you will definitely need to go early (or late), chase the shade, and potentially take a siesta midday. The Park is virtually empty of climbers at this time though, so if you time it right with the shade you can get on classic after classic.

Eric K: I'm not sure about how consistently available the guidebook is in Penticton, although I think True Outdoors often has them in stock. I believe MEC has free shipping options though. Jan 19, 2017
Benjamin Chapman
Small Town, USA
Benjamin Chapman   Small Town, USA
We love Mags 99, but the food isn't that inexpensive. Aug 9, 2017
Eric K
Washington
Eric K   Washington
Is the guidebook easy to come by in Penticton? Headed there soon and would prefer not to order the book and pay shipping if I don't have to. Aug 21, 2016
S. Stember
St. Paul, MN
S. Stember   St. Paul, MN
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? Jun 4, 2012
Aimee Rose
Bend, or
Aimee Rose   Bend, or
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. Sep 6, 2011
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 skaha.org. There are rumblings that a new guidebook is in the works....

Note that the area is now a Provincial Park. Jul 28, 2010
Peter Spindloe
North Vancouver, BC
Peter Spindloe   North Vancouver, BC
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. Jun 3, 2009
Thanks Peter....that helps.
What's the best guide book to buy for the area? Jun 3, 2009
Peter Spindloe
North Vancouver, BC
Peter Spindloe   North Vancouver, BC
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. May 28, 2009
How long is the approach? Want to go with kids this summer. May 27, 2009

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