Lower Crag Rock Climbing
|GPS:||48.628, -119.451 Google Map · Climbing Map|
|Shared By:||applewood on Mar 18, 2014|
|Admins:||Scott Coldiron, Nate Ball, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick|
DescriptionThe Lower Crag is a beautiful area, relatively easy access but very isolated feeling. It has a lovely bouldering wall at the north end and a long steep east facing 100-200' tall main wall running SW to the open hanging valley just north of Chewiliken Creek. It also includes the lower south-facing slab along the approach trail, about a 5 minute walk to the west.
So far there aren't many routes here, but they are all excellent, and it doesn't appear there has ever been any climbing done here in the past. The rock is highly featured, with a fair amount of broken and loose rock, but it cleans up beautifully (although the Middle and North Walls have plenty of steep broken and rotten sections). There is potential for lots of hard face and many crack/corner climbs here in splendid isolation...
(Due to owl nesting sites in the large central corner/crack perhaps the whole area north of the Middle Wall Slabs to the Traverse Wall should be off limits for spring climbing - from February to June.)
Getting ThereThere are two options for approach;
1) From the W - instead of turning left up McLaughlin Canyon Rd at the calcite depot keep going down the Janis Bridge Rd (1.5 miles) the last half of which crosses the railroad which is technically private, but public visitors are welcome if respectful. Park along the river road at the bridge at the south end of the orchard, and hike east up Chewiliken Creek. To stay on BLM land the whole time, hike south over the bridge along the railroad track for about 100 yards and turn left just after the pair of pine trees to hike up the flats on the south side of the creek. Join a deer trail before the slickrock stream bed. At about a quarter mile in (5 min. from parking area) cross the stream and hike up deer trails on the left to reach the south end of this secluded hanging valley. This is the shortest approach route (less than a third of the distance of the N option), 20+ minutes for the 3/4 mile hike in.
2) From the N - park along the McLaughlin Canyon Rd as for accessing the Main Canyon. Head south all the way to the end of the South Canyon (25 min.), then east on the cattle trail until you've climbed the hill past the Slot Face area of the S By SE crag (5+ min.). Then head south again towards the obvious cliffs on the right (5 min. to the north end). Continue down the valley (10+ min) to the south end (50 minutes total for the 2 mile hike in). The north and south ends of the valley are full of fallen snags and the middle is brushy (so it's best to stay on the open slope to the far left).
A better alternative if heading in to the South Wall crag from McLaughlin Canyon is to stay on the trail on the west side of the hill. After passing through the South Canyon head east and drop down to the dry stream bed below the West End of the S By SE crag, turn right and follow the cattle trail along the fence south. Before reaching the huge boulders along the trail, just as it starts heading downhill, head cross-country up and left towards the south end of the canyon. About 50 minutes total for the 2 mile approach.
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Prime Climbing Season