Elevation: 1,192 ft
GPS: 49.84, -125.909 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 16,472 total · 295/month
Shared By: MikeFromVictoria on Sep 9, 2016 · Updates
Admins: Mark Roberts, Mauricio Herrera Cuadra, Kate Lynn, Braden Batsford
Access Issue: Backcountry camping fees apply in some areas Details

About Crest Creek Crags

June 30, 2017 - New guidebook available : Crest Creek Rock Climbs

Located in Strathcona Provincial Park, Crest Creek Crags is home to a wide variety of climbing including trad, sport, mixed (trad/sport), and aid. The area boasts an impressive number of options for all levels of climbing. There are over 175 (route count needed here) routes in the park spread out over 15+ crags.

Crag access is simply fantastic. A carefully constructed trail system that both ensures an easy approach for climbers and protection of the forest you are walking in. The trail system takes you easily through the park with stairs and bridges constructed from materials found in the forest. Most of the crags have beautiful gravel belay pads and benches with plenty of room for large climbing groups to spread out.

The routes range in difficulty from 5.4 to 5.11+ with a few graded 5.12 and higher, though those are rare. The majority of routes fall in to the 5.7 to 5.10- so it's great for moderate climbers. The majority of routes here are mixed as the setters take great care to only bolt where no natural protection can be used. To get the most of your leading experience, you will want a single rack of cams, a set of nuts (offsets recommended here), and of course draws (probably 14 at most).

All routes in the park are top rope accessible; there is always an easy access trail or scramble to the top of the crags. This crag-top access makes it a great location for teaching rock skills such as rappelling and anchor setting. Crags range in height from 10m to as long as 33m but typically most are under 30m; a 60m rope will be sufficient 99% of the time. All of the routes have bolted anchors and bolted rap stations.

The crags are made up of basalt and the rock quality is generally very good and stable. Route setters have taken great care to ensure the safety of leaders. Crags are cleaned regularly and loose rock removed to keep debris hazards to a minimum. Crag formations range from slab to overhung with crack systems on some to provide nice natural protection and some limited jamming. There is a crag to match most climbers preference for climbing style. There are even a few two pitch climbs which are great for multi-pitch introductions.

The area is popular with locals and travellers alike, but even on the busiest days, you can likely have a crag to yourself, if you choose to.

Crags can be sunny, shady, or both throughout the day. You can always find one that suits your style (full sun to full shade). Most can handle a slight shower and still be climbable without ruining your day.

The top most crags are climbable almost all year round (depending on snow fall) because they get great exposure from wind and sun helping them dry out. There have been many winters when you will find climbers in t-shirts in February.

Aid climbing is well developed and well used and can be accessed year round. Some of the well developed crags allow for aiding even in the rain as the roof sections keep the climbers dry until just below the anchors. (Aid section needs filling out by someone with more experience here)

Getting There - Staying There

Getting to Crest Creek Crags is easy and takes you through some of the most scenic parts of Vancouver Island.

Drive north on the Highway 19 until you reach Campbell River. Where 19 meets 28 you will head West (turn left) toward Gold River.

Follow Highway 28 for about 70Km (about 50 minutes).

There are three parking lots available for access to the crags. Each of these lots has access to all of the climbing but you can save some approach time by choosing a lot that is closer to the crag you are planning on climbing.

Parking is never a problem as there is plenty of space.

The parking lots all have garbage cans and an outhouse.

Camping in the area is simple enough. There is Buttle Lake Provincial Campground which has well water, outhouses, and beach access to a very nice lake. There is also some camping on Crown land just outside of the park (about 5km past the crags toward Gold River) which is free but has no services; there is a river running nearby some of sites. If you are going to camp outside of a campground, make sure that you are doing so outside of the park boundary. Camping in the parking lots for trail access is prohibited and can incur penalties and fines.

Other accommodations can be found in the area including hotels/motels in Gold River (about 15min drive) as well as Strathcona Park lodge (30 minute drive).

Gold River also has a gas station, grocery store, coffee shops, and a pub with decent food and pricing.

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