REI Community
Skaha

Select Area...
(a) The Fortress 
(b) Red Tail Group 
(c) Doctors' Group 
(d) Maternal Group 
(e) Northern Crags 
(f) White Walls 
(g) Southern Crags 
(h) Small Eastern Crags 
(i) Northeastern Crags 
(j) Grand Canyon 
(k) Foreplay Cliff 

Skaha Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 49.44127, -119.56344 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 63,812
Administrators: Sean Godwin, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Peter Spindloe on Apr 15, 2007
Forecast:
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
Kelly Franz on The Future is Now. Photo by Matthe...

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!

Climbing Season

For the Okanagan area.

Weather station 2.6 miles from here

240 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',27],['3 Stars',99],['2 Stars',79],['1 Star',31],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',5],['5.7',10],['5.8',16],['5.9',34],['5.10',101],['5.11',50],['5.12',24],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Skaha

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Skaha:
Grassy Glades   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   (h) Small Eastern Crags : (c) Grassy Glades
Assholes of August   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   (b) Red Tail Group : (d) Upper Red Tail
Plum Line   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   (a) The Fortress : (b) Plum Wall
Stouthearted   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 115'   (a) The Fortress : (b) Plum Wall
Looking Glass   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 82'   (a) The Fortress : (g) The Corridor
Genetic Mirror   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   (a) The Fortress : (g) The Corridor
Viagra   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 50'   (f) White Walls : (b) Go-Anywhere
Snarling at the Greeter   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   (j) Grand Canyon : (a) The Terraces
Naturopath   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   (c) Doctors' Group : (d) Doctors' Wall
Eyrily Hanging Out   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 105'   (f) White Walls : (a) Great White
The Real Special Forces   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 60'   (a) The Fortress : (d) The Grooves
Wings of Desire   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 100'   (f) White Walls : (a) Great White
Test of the Ironman   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 115'   (f) White Walls : (a) Great White
Doctor MegaTrip   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   (c) Doctors' Group : (d) Doctors' Wall
'Spro Dog 'Spro   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   (i) Northeastern Crags : (b) Morning Glory
Orrgazmo   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 20'   (j) Grand Canyon : (c) The Belfry
Not Fade Away   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 50'   (g) Southern Crags : (e) The Wave
The Spell   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 100'   (c) Doctors' Group : (d) Doctors' Wall
Bladerunner   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 80'   (j) Grand Canyon : (c) The Belfry
Salvation   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 60'   (c) Doctors' Group : (d) Doctors' Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Skaha

Featured Route For Skaha
Rock Climbing Photo: Ariel leading Bottom Line.

Bottom Line 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c  North America : Canada : ... : (b) Tottering Pillar
A classic skaha climb. Fully sustained climbing at 5.11a. Great, vertical, technical, and pumpy....[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Skaha Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: There's some steep climbing to be had in Skaha!  P...
There's some steep climbing to be had in Skaha! P...

Comments on Skaha Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 9, 2017
By Krista m
May 27, 2009
How long is the approach? Want to go with kids this summer.
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
May 28, 2009
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.
By Krista m
Jun 3, 2009
Thanks Peter....that helps.
What's the best guide book to buy for the area?
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
Jun 3, 2009
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.
By Cam Robertson
Jul 28, 2010
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.
By Aimee Rose
From: Bend, or
Sep 6, 2011
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.
By S. Stember
From: St. Paul, MN
Jun 4, 2012
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?
By Eric K
From: Washington
Aug 21, 2016
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.
By Sean Godwin
Administrator
From: Vancouver, BC
Jan 19, 2017
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.
By Sean Godwin
Administrator
From: Vancouver, BC
Jan 19, 2017
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.
By Hans
From: Squamish, BC
May 21, 2017
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.
By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Aug 9, 2017
We love Mags 99, but the food isn't that inexpensive.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About