Ready for the Granite Challenge? Towering mountain peaks and wilderness tracts in British Columbia continue to beckon climbers and jump start adrenaline glands. Vancouver Island supplies the awesome terrain: you bring mental and physical strength, courage, and an adventurous spirit. Strathcona Park is a popular BC provincial park on central Vancouver Island where over 100 routes exist in the Crest Creek Crags alone.
Rock Climbing on Vancouver Island
The city of Victoria has been a popular climbing area for years. You will find a variety of gear and clothing stores in the city, as well as indoor climbing centres. A guidebook to rock climbing in Victoria is Rock Climbs of Victoria by Mark Freeborn.
For an outdoor start, head along the sea front to Fleming Beach in the Township of Esquimalt. There are two areas, Fisherman’s Wall, and the Overhang, a smaller bouldering rock a little further down the beach.
Farther afield, heading west on highway #14, are Mount Wells and Mount MacDonald, accessible off the Sooke Road, Here you will find the largest number of climbs in the closest proximity to Victoria. Mount MacDonald has long vertical top ropes, trad and bolted routes. It is perfect for the novice and intermediate climber. Mount Wells contains steep walls and roof-climbs and is good for the novice.
Along the Galloping Goose Trail you will find many impressive climbs. Between Matheson Lake and Roche Cove there are connecting trails and three major climbing areas: Roche Cove, Hummingbird Wall, and Hissing Bull. The Galloping Goose Trail corridor, which runs parallel to these areas, makes access easy on foot or bicycle.
Another five kilometres west along Sooke Road is East Sooke Regional Park, a large wilderness expanse with a lot of rock to climb. There are ten areas: Devonian Regional Park, Cheanuh Marina, Becher Bay, Babbington Bluffs, Mirkwood Forest, Reindeer Crag, Beechey Head, Tabasco Rock, Coliseum, and Cougar Caves. These climbs offer every level of difficulty, from beginner to advanced, and everything in between.
Strathcona Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in the province, a well-preserved rugged wilderness encompassing over 250,000 hectares of remote terrain, with rivers, streams, turquoise lakes, glaciers and snowfields. Mountains dominate the area and rock climbing is popular here. Over 100 routes exists in the Crest Creek Crags alone, an area offering 19 rock faces ranging from approximately 12 to 21m in height. Use the Crest Mountain trailhead to reach the routes. Maps of the area may be obtained at the parking lot, with descriptions of all climbing routes.
Rugged Mountain (1,875) near Zeballos and Mount Arrowsmith in the Alberni Valley are top-notch destinations for the rappeller.
Mountaineering on Vancouver Island
Challenge Vancouver Island’s sheer rock faces are surrounded by extraordinary topography and an abundance of wildlife. Stretch your limits in a high-performance adventure, blaze a new trail on a magnificent spire or rappel down steep mountain ridges. World-class mountaineering awaits you, with professional guides who cater to both the cliffhanging novice and the experienced adrenaline addict.
Strathcona Provincial Park is an excellent mountaineering location, particularly in the northern section of the park, where diehard enthusiasts should tackle Mount Colonel Foster.
Two further choice mountaineering locations are located within the park’s vast boundaries: The Comox Glacier, Vancouver Island’s last remaining icefield, and the Golden Hinde, the island’s highest peak (2,200m).
Rugged Mountain (1,875 m), at the head of Woss Lake, is the highest peak in a compact and impressive group of peaks that attract climbers in both winter and summer – experience in glacier travel is required.
Mount Arrowsmith (1,817 m) and Victoria Peak (2,163 m), one of Vancouver Island’s highest mountains, are both considered good mountaineering venues.
Stand on the precipice of a great rock climbing adventure. Vancouver Island offers some of the most challenging and scenic terrain anywhere.