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Takakkaw Falls Area
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Takakkaw Falls 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b PG13

   
Type:  Trad, 12 pitches, 1260'
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b PG13 [details]
FA: Bernie Schiesser and Sid Marty, June 1966
Season: Summer
Page Views: 3,699
Submitted By: Jordan Ramey on Sep 16, 2011  with updates from katelynn

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Heading into the cave!

Description 

Length: 410m, 12 pitches
Sun Exposure: receives lots of sun
Time: 4 - 6 hours to climb the route
Approach: 30 - 45 minutes
Descent: 2 hours
car-to-car: 7 - 10 hours
Difficulty: 5.7
Rack: Cams: 0.5" to 2" (purple to yellow camalots), slings / draws

An absolutely amazing climb for the position (climbs next to a gigantic waterfall), rock quality (stellar except the shale pitch), variety of climbing (face, chimney, steep, slab, etc...), and caving! Seriously, when do you ever do a 100+m long belly crawl through a cave that ends at the top of a roaring waterfall on any other climb?

The climb itself is technically easy (see below for numbered steps) and many aspiring trad climber's first outing on something long. Be prepared to see other parties on weekends. Rockfall is only a real concern directly below the shale band, so either stick together or get outta the chimney section quickly. Many pitches can be linked and simul-climbing the ledge traverses (which are basically walks with lots of protection bolts) really speeds things up.

Here's a recent video a friend made of our ascent:


1. 40 m, 5.4. Scramble up and right to a ledge with a bolt on the wall above, about 7 m left of a large, left-facing corner. Climb up past a second bolt and then move right past a third bolt and a fixed piton into the corner. Climb up and then right out of the corner on a ramp to reach easy ground and a bolted station a short distance above.

2. 15 m, 5.4. Climb the cracked wall above on good holds past two bolts to a second bolted station at the start of a long, narrow ledge system.

3. 20 m, 4th. Walk right along the ledge (exposed) past a bolt and around an arête to a bolted station.

4. 80 m, 4th. Continue traversing right and then drop down slightly into a scree bowl and move across to the base of a slabby wall, directly below the left side of the large pinnacle.

5. 40 m, 5.5. Climb an easy, left-facing crack to a ledge (bolt), traverse right, and then follow cracks up and slightly right to a two-bolt, rappel station below an overhang at the start of the big, left-facing corner system on the left side of the pinnacle.

4 & 5 alt. 110 m, 5.4. Pitch 5 is often wet early in the season due to windblown spray from the falls. It may be avoided by traversing right on pitch 4 to where the “trail” drops down into the scree bowl and then scrambling up and right on broken ground at first (cam and nut belay) and then easy, scree-covered slabs to a sloping ledge system that leads right past bolts to the station at the top of pitch 5.

6. 35 m, 5.6. Make an awkward move up into the corner and continue up past a fixed piton to a station in an alcove.

7. 40 m, 5.5. Follow the corner above to a ledge on the left with a fixed, rappel station. Climb easily up and right to a station at the top of the pinnacle level with, and in full view of the huge “rooster tail” in the falls.

8. 30 m, 5.6. The next pitch is very atmospheric with great views of the falls and
intimidating sound effects. Climb the wall above past three bolts to lower angle rock that leads up to a station below the shale band.

9. 25 m, 5.2. Climb easily through the shale band (no protection).

10. 25 m, 5.5. This pitch is not well protected and is sometimes wet due to seepage from the cave. Move up onto a small ledge on the left. Continue up and then left into a shallow groove that leads up to a station in a deep slot below the mouth of the cave.

11. 100 m. No rope is necessary beyond this point unless the climb is to be continued to the top of the cliff. Craw along the cave passage into the realm of complete darkness and the distant thunder of the falls. After a tight section, a circle of daylight appears ahead and the sound of the falls grows louder. Finally, the cave emerges into a large basin where the stream rushes by towards the edge of the falls and the top of the cliff is visible a short distance above. Either return from here or climb one more pitch to the top of the cliff.

12. 30 m, 5.6 (optional). Scramble up and right to a single bolt belay below a short exit groove. Climb the groove and continue easily to broken ground at the top.

Location 

From the parking lot for Takakka Falls, follow the tourist trail across the bridge to the Takakkaw Falls viewpoint (10 minutes). Continue past the viewpoint on braided climber / tourist trails. When possible, get close to the wall and head up left. It is substantially tougher to go straight up the scree cone since it's like stair stepping marbles. Just shy of the top of the scree cone, start looking for the bolt that marks the start.

Route starts just right of the top of the scree cone, far left from the waterfall. Start right off scrambling up a platform about 15' up and find a fat bolt at the start.


Descent
Rap the route, can be done with 1 60m rope, but 2 makes it quicker.

If topping out after the cave:
Head uphill about the distance the cave is long and look for a cairn that marks the tree with rap slings just over the edge on a platform. Rap from here to an intermediate belay above the tree (slings) with 1 60m rope or all the way to the cave or belay below the cave with 2 ropes. Keep rapping stations back to the ground reversing the whole route. Walk / belay the ledge traverse again.

If not topping out after the cave:
reverse the cave and hope no one is coming the opposite direction and rap as per normal.

Protection 

Only the two 30m chimney pitches require gear while the rest of the climb has bolts. Bring a single to double set of cams from 0.5 to 2" (purple to yellow camalots). Don't bother with nuts. The climb is essentially a sport climb with big runouts in the chimney or totally casual with a few pieces of gear.

Gear:
A few small to medium cams (0.5" - 2")
slings / draws
kneepads / elbowpads
headlamp


Photos of Takakkaw Falls Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Heading up the last pitch (after the cave) could h...
BETA PHOTO: Heading up the last pitch (after the cave) could h...
Rock Climbing Photo: Next to rooster tail!
Next to rooster tail!
Rock Climbing Photo: Light at the end of the tunnel, FINALLY
Light at the end of the tunnel, FINALLY
Rock Climbing Photo: After the climb, all smiles
After the climb, all smiles
Rock Climbing Photo: Entering the cave
Entering the cave
Rock Climbing Photo: Team of 3 at the pitch 3a belay, just before walki...
Team of 3 at the pitch 3a belay, just before walki...
Rock Climbing Photo: Walking across the tourist bridge towards Takakkaw...
Walking across the tourist bridge towards Takakkaw...
Rock Climbing Photo: I revised the topo slightly from the one floating ...
BETA PHOTO: I revised the topo slightly from the one floating ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo topo - Ramey 2011 Belay 3 is approximate sin...
BETA PHOTO: Photo topo - Ramey 2011 Belay 3 is approximate sin...

Comments on Takakkaw Falls Add Comment
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By Jfaub
From: Ottawa, On
Jun 15, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

Did this route in August 2013 with my buddy after 10 days of alpine climbing in the Purcell mountains of BC (right next to the Bugaboos). The climbing is relatively easy, but don't let that put you off. The exposure on the crux pitch will make you think twice about the moves. The cave traverse was awesome. All in all, this route is totally classic. Just bring 2 ropes... We brought 1 70m and had to do some sketch traversing on chossy ledges to get to one station. Our rack was pretty small... maybe 4-5 cams up to #1 BD and a set of nuts. I gave it PG13 because there are spots where you really wouldn't want to fall... I remember a 40m pitch with 2 bolts and a shale pitch with zero pro. Highly unlikely that you would fall however, the climbing is 5.5 at most.

Go do it!!!
By MattR
Aug 13, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

An awesome route. The cave is amazing and the belay on the pinnacle may be the most scenic on earth, though I'm not qualified to say for sure. A sport route, this is not and calling it one is misleading. We took singles of grey to yellow camalots and a set of nuts, which was comfortable. If you're not going to bring a light rack you may as well just solo in my opinion. The traverse is second class with a single move of third. We short roped up and just unroped on the way down. I've ridden gnarlier bike trails. I highly recommend bringing ropes through the cave. The last pitch is worth it for the view. A single 60m should get you down from there, there is an intermediate station above the cave entrance. Stations freaking everywhere for rappel. Took us 5 raps on double 60s. Oh, and get ready for the rockstar treatment on the tourist trail. The entire population of Saskatchewan will be down there watching you.