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South Canyon

Washington > Okanogan > McLoughlin Canyon (To…

Description

Site of the historic 1858 ambush the long east facing side of the lower Main Canyon has a high concentration of quality new routes. Has been divided into several sub areas for the purpose of this guide (listed from north to south):

1) Upper West Side - Gully Wall - 7 sport and mixed routes (5.3 to 5.8)
2) Upper West Side - 19 sport, mixed and trad routes (5.3 to 5.11a)
3) The Mid West - Lower (FZ) Wall - 16 sport, mixed and trad climbs (5.4 to 5.11b)
4) The Mid West - North End - 4 sport, mixed and trad routes (5.8 to 10b)
5) The Mid West - Middle Wall - 9 sport, mixed and trad routes (5.7 to 10c)
6) The Mid West - Lower Middle Wall - 3 sport routes (5.6 to 5.7+)
7) The Mid West - South End - Large area south of the lower cliff line, so far undeveloped.
8) Lower West Side - 8 sport routes (5.9 to 5.11c)

Generally this is a large, high quality, somewhat remote area with nice views, easy access and mostly great rock. There are reports of some of the cracks and even faces being climbed previously as gear routes, but there is no beta available publicly online about this. * It would be nice if these lines stay trad, so be aware if doing route development not to place bolts where trad gear will do.

When to climb;
Despite what MP indicates with their climbing season chart (below) the best seasons to climb at MC are when the snakes are hibernating - which is usually from late October to early April (a good indication is when there is snow visible on the Pasayten Mtns to the west). Depending on the weather conditions rock climbing may be possible any of these winter months, but it's usually perfect by late February or early March. Climbing is also good the rest of the year and can be very hot in the summer, but early mornings are often tolerable.

Getting There

After 15 minutes of hiking down the Main Canyon you'll reach the large open meadow. The trail continues south and passes through a gate (that marks the beginning of leased grazing land) and continues down the open valley. Despite the impression the gate and fence might give most of the field and all of the cliffs on the west side are BLM lands, but they are leased for grazing so please shut the gate behind you. For the Upper West Side cliff turn right across the wide meadow before the fence and head to the base via the trail on the right..., or access the top of the cliff by the game/climbers trail up the gully on the right.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

South Canyon
[Hide Photo] South Canyon
South Canyon (from base of SE Buttress)
[Hide Photo] South Canyon (from base of SE Buttress)
The South Canyon from high up on the MC road.
[Hide Photo] The South Canyon from high up on the MC road.
South Canyon, May 2016
[Hide Photo] South Canyon, May 2016
The whole east face of the South Canyon - and prime winter climbing conditions!
[Hide Photo] The whole east face of the South Canyon - and prime winter climbing conditions!
SE Buttress of the Main Canyon from the south end of the FZ Wall
[Hide Photo] SE Buttress of the Main Canyon from the south end of the FZ Wall
South Canyon from the south
[Hide Photo] South Canyon from the south
South Canyon and the SE Buttress from the far south
[Hide Photo] South Canyon and the SE Buttress from the far south
South Canyon in mid-January from the NE (from the approach trail down the Main Canyon).
[Hide Photo] South Canyon in mid-January from the NE (from the approach trail down the Main Canyon).

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Heather: There you go again: calling a rock climb “safe.” I’m worried that such a mindset could cause one to get injured. Now, I know there are those who have advertised “safe, adventure rock climbs.” I believe that if one thinks about it one can see the dichotomy in that logic.
Heather, if one is high enough that a fall to the ground could shatter a femur, lacerate a liver, crush a vertebrae, puncture a lung, or fracture a skull then one is no longer “safe.” Mar 8, 2015