Kelowna Climbing Regions

Regional map, Kelowna climbing areas

1. The Boulderfields
2. Cedar Mountain (Johns’ Park)
3. Christie Falls (West Kelowna)
4. Deeper Creek (Okanagan Mountain Park)
5. KLO Creek
6. The Lair (Johns’ Park)
7. The Lonely Crags
8. Mt. Boucherie (West Kelowna)

Cube, Boulderfields, Kelowna

1. The Boulderfields

While the Boulderfields gains national attention for its world class bouldering, it is also Kelowna’s largest sport climbing region. With 33 gneiss (nice!) walls and more than 153 scrubbed routes, spread across roughly 12 square kms, it is an alpine adventure the minute you step out of your car. Free camping too, just minutes from the crags. (Above photo: The Cube, with the Main Wall and Superman in background.)

This is a terrific sport climbing region, but there are a few worthy gear routes such as Natural Gas, possibly Kelowna’s best trad line. For beginners and nonleaders, Main Wall and Wonderbar should be your first stops. For intermediate and advanced climbers, the Cube in Centre Field is a must-do.

Time for a hike? Playground Trail is just what you need, with an end reward of fun climbing on geometric rock anomalies. Ridge Trail is short and sweet like its climbs. Pika Road gives easy access to stellar, classic bouldering. The Netherland Trail is farthest afield, but features the remarkable Pentagon for hard men and women.

There are no crazy crowd scenes at the Fields. Often it will be you, your belay partner, and friendly boulderers enjoying this incredible region. Late May - October is the best time to climb. The altitude means spring and fall have lasting snow.

Cedar Mountain, Kelowna

2. Cedar Mountain (Johns’ Park)

Cedar Mountain was the first Kelowna crag to be developed, and features sport and trad on gneiss rock. It is part of the newly formed Johns’ Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park, and so the trails and stairs are park grade. (Above photo: central walls on Cedar Mountain.)

Trad came first, way back in the 60s. There are 30 developed trad pitches, in the 5.6 to 5.9 range, with a few burly 10s. A 70m rope will get you safely on everything, but using a 60m and a knot works too. Classic trad lines include Chain Lightning, Noisy Oyster, Spiderman, and the 3-pitch Expressway.

Sport route development took off in the 90s, followed by a second flurry of bolting activity a decade later. Currently there are more than 120 sport routes. Croissant and Main Wall are must-dos for the quickdraw folk. Gomer Wall is perfect for the 5.9 leader.

Cedar Mountain can be climbed February - late November, depending upon the snow pack. It is south facing, so early spring is wonderful, while mornings and evenings are best during summer. Take note: spring is tick season.

Christie Falls and climbing cave from high trail

 3. Christie Falls (West Kelowna)

Christie Falls is another new development for Kelowna Rock. When the ice is good, the MI and WI are spectacular. As for the sport, HARD is the key word for the upcoming exciting long lines. Kelowna’s first 5.14s! (Above photo: the cave and Christie Falls, taken from the ridge approach trail.)

The drive to this West Kelowna crag is easy to navigate and is about 35 minutes northwest from Bear Creek Provincial Park (an hour from Kelowna). The 20-minute hike is mainly along a well-defined trail (less defined in the winter) and is marked by tape . A series of hand ropes take you to the base of the waterfall and cave climbing area.

Deeper Creek, Okanagan Mountain Park

4. Deeper Creek (Okanagan Mountain Park)

The dry tooling / mixed ice / sport play land of Deeper Creek is in Okanagan Mountain Park. It is in its early stages of development, which is being spearheaded by Mike Greer and Adam Tutte. (Above photo: Wonder Wall at Deeper Creek.)

The first wall on the trail is Community Wall, with one fine sport route (Prince William) that can be used to rap down to Wander Wall, the tall north-facing crag across the creek. Wonder Wall’s 5.11 Rocy’s Route is destined to become a classic. The dry tooling Deeper Creek Wall is another 15-20 minutes down the trail.

Deeper Creek sport is best done June - November.

Bear Cave, KLO Creek, Kelowna

5. KLO Creek

In 2015-2016, KLO Creek was born. During that time, more than 75 sport and trad lines were established in this beautiful East Kelowna region, featuring gneiss walls, mature cedar trees, canyons and of course, KLO Creek. It is currently Kelowna’s most popular climbing region. (Above photo: the popular Bear Cave at KLO Creek.)

Ampitheatre (Back Stage, Centre Stage, the Balcony) and Bear Country (Lower Bear, Middle Bear and Bear Cave) are the most popular cranking spots, but along the way - Trailside and Pipeline - are also noteworthy. When spring waters are high, Trailside is the only KLO crag that does not include creek foot crossings.

Currently, there are a handful of beginner routes at KLO Creek, but more are in the works for 2017. There are stellar 5.10 routes though (Middle Bear is the gem), and plenty for the 5.11- 5.12+ climber (Bear Cave and Ampitheatre are must-dos), with single pitch routes up to 38m. Trad routes are being developed, with Local Watering Hole on Lower Bear (5.10+) as currently the longest line (30m).

Please remember this is a region undergoing active development. Do not take gear that has been stashed at the crag. Do not take draws off the walls. Do not climb on working ropes, or venture into roped off sections. Rock fall is an ongoing hazard: wear a helmet on and off the ground.

Like all new climbing regions, grading will evolve as climber traffic dusts the choss off of these wonderful lines. KLO is climbed year-round, but the best time is after the spring water recedes in June, til late November. In 2017, look forward to climbing on brand new walls: Tavern, Marvel, Juniper Slab and The Point.

Lair, Johns' Park, Kelowna

6. The Lair (Johns’ Park)

The Lair is also part of Johns’ Park, and was developed by Adam Tutte and Aaron Culver in 2007. This impressive, 65m east-facing wall offers up 25m high and generally steep, technical climbs. There are three distinct looking sections to the crag, with the middle section providing the best Gneiss rock. More traffic and some TLC scrubbing will bring out its potential. Room for more! (Above photo: The Lair)

The 40 minute, 2.3 km Lair Trail winds around the back of Cedar Mountain, and features expansive views of the lake, vineyards and valley. The descending first half levels off as it follows the bench rim.

Deer are commonplace here. Unfortunately, the same can be said for deer ticks. For this reason, the Lair is best visited after spring has sprung. Summer heat turns the Lair into an evening crag. Fall brings lovely morning sun and perfect temps for all day cragging. Ideal season is June - November.

Lonely Boy, Lonely crags, Kelowna

7. The Lonely Crags

There is nothing lonely about the Lonely Crags. Random goat trails have evolved into distinct paths for the local, after work / weekend warrior crowd. These 5 short but sweet crags are 20 minutes from city centre. The gneiss rock is solid, routes technical, and all of the climbs are challenging for the grade. (Above photo: the Lonely Boy crag.)

Heli Pad is first up, and is a popular toprope place for 5.10 climbers. Lonely Boy features the landmark climb of Kelowna (Lonely Boy) and is the gem of the Lonely crags. Lonely Girl is five minutes behind Lonely Boy, and is the perfect spot for the new 5.10 leader. Nearby Lone Pine offers up bouldery stout .10s beside the 5.9 fun of Itsy Bitsy. There are beginner climbs and topropes throughout the Lonely crags.

It is possible to climb here year-round (depending on snow, cold). In the summer, the east-facing crags are best in the morning and evening.

Rad Wall, Mt Boucherie, Kelowna

8. Mount Boucherie (West Kelowna)

Mount Boucherie is the only climbing region in the Okanagan that is made up entirely of conglomerate / volcanic rock. If you are planning a trip to Smith Rock, prep your technique here. Boo offers up the same poppin nubbins, hueco buckets and tenuous crimps that you will find at its Oregon big brother.(Above photo: Rad Wall at Mount Boucherie.)

This is a kid-friendly crag, with easy topropes on Split Block and Lunch Top. Pocket Wall offers stellar thin, technical 5.10 - 11 vertical climbing, while the steep overhanging Cell is for the 5.12 climbers.

Thanks to its short approach, southern exposure and low altitude, it is possible to climb Mount Boucherie every month of the year.