Kettle Valley (Curlew) Rock Climbing
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The Kettle Valley is a lovely rural area with a series of granite (with some areas of granodiorite and gneiss) cliffs along both sides of the Kettle River just a few miles west of Curlew. It is a very scenic valley with great hiking and swimming opportunities to compliment a day of climbing.
Climbing started here in the late 70's with a few adventurous crack climbs, but it was the 90's and the combination of bolts and the Curlew Job Corps recreation climbing program that really spurred route development. The valley has a variety of face and crack climbs, and although many of the routes have bolts, many are mixed and require at least a piece or two of gear. There are now over 250 routes (ranging from 25 to 300' long) along both sides of the valley on a mix of public and private land (be respectful and careful not to go onto private lands, as there is a lot of it surrounding the public crags). Unfortunately some of the best routes are on private land, and since these now have access issues they will not be listed in this guide. Instead the following are the areas with open access (Listed from east to west);
Morning Rock - 40 routes, sport, mixed and trad up to 3 pitches, 5.2 to 5.12c
Viper Head - 12 routes, sport, mixed and trad up to 2 pitches, 5.7 to 5.10d
Roadside - 3 sport climbs, 60' long 5.10a to 5.11a
Canine Cliff - 3 mixed and trad routes in a remote setting, 160' long 5.9 to 5.10a
The Bookstore - 45 routes, sport, mixed and trad up to 160' long, 5.3 to 5.12a - some of the best!
Riverside - 6 routes, sport and mixed up to 85' long, 5.7 to 5.11d
Ridgeback - 4 routes, mostly trad 130' long, 5.10a to 5.11b
All Star Slabs - 8 routes, sport and mixed, up to 90' long, 5.2 to 5.8
Tonata Creek Wall - 12 routes, sport and mixed, up to 2 pitches, 5.6 to 5.11b
Shangri-La - 14 routes, sport, mixed and trad, up to 85' long, 5.6 to 5.11d
The Shield - 6 sport and TR routes in a remote setting with the best rock around, 55 to 160' long, 5.7 to 5.11a
The route grading tends to follow old school standards, rather than newer and softer trends.
* Note to all climbers this is a rural residential area with public lands interspersed with private property, please do your best to minimize your impact and presence; pack it in-pack it out, and leave no trace. Potential route developers, please respect local etiquette and avoid placing bolts where gear will do, make any bolts or top anchors camouflaged, use stainless steel hardware as much as possible and don't mix your metals. Any comments and input on existing or new routes is much appreciated.
* Note - a key to route descriptions;
NAME; grade and quality (* - good, ** - very good, *** - great, **** - world class classic); (length); type of pro. used - G = natural/gear, F = fixed (b - bolt, p - piton, fn - fixed nut), M = mixed; TR = toprope, R = runout/dangerous, PG = scary/risky; Description; FA (first ascent date), GU = ground up ascent, TR = top rope ascent.
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