With climbing season in full swing, there’s no better time to start checking off routes on your rock climbing To-Do list. And as much as we’re fans of frequenting our local stomping grounds here at Mountain Skills Academy, we like to switch up our spots for a change of scenery every now and then. We’ll be taking a look at some great road trip options across B.C. and the Rockies in the next couple of weeks, until then, let’s warm up on some climbs closer to home. Here’s the best rock climbing spots in Vancouver and Sea to Sky region.
Vancouver – Lighthouse Park
One of West Vancouver’s most picturesque locations, the 75 hectares of Lighthouse Park is a popular hiking and scenic lookout location at the intersection of Burrard Inlet and Howe Sound. There are approximately twelve routes at three different crags with difficulty ranging from Grades 5.6 to 5.11a. This is an excellent spot to climb on sunny days after work with sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, but the crags can get busy. Be advised only top roping is available in the area.
Bouldering problems in Cypress Falls Park, West Vancouver | Photo rockclimbing.com
Vancouver – Cypress Falls Park
Tucked away in the woods of West Vancouver, Cypress Falls has a unique trail system that skirts the Cypress Creek canyon. There’s a variety of boulder problems, sport climbs and some trad routes, with limited top rope options. A great spot to escape the mid-summer heat, the sheltered geography of Cypress Falls Park also means it can take up to a week to properly dry out after lots of rainfall.
Where to begin? With over 1,200 routes, there is no other town in Canada can boast this much variety and accessibility for rock climbing. From easy top rope routes at the Smoke Bluffs to all-day expeditions up the Grand Wall of the Stawamus Chief, even veteran Squamish climbers can spend their lives here without climbing everything. There’s simply too many routes, areas and options to list here, but a host of guidebooks are available on the area. Get started with either The Climber’s Guide to Squamish (free preview) or Squamish Select. If you’d like to be shown or lead up the most exhilarating routes, MSA guides trips for all levels of rock climbing in Squamish.
Whistler – Cal-Cheak
About 20 minutes south of Whistler, Cal-Cheak has around 80 routes spread out over a dozen or so crags the majority of which is sport climbing at intermediate to advanced difficulty. This is a favourite area for Whistler-based climbers and also has some ice climbing routes in the winter. There’s a BC Parks campsite conveniently located around five minutes’ drive up the access road, so staying for the weekend on a budget is a breeze
Whistler – Nordic Rock
Located in the Whistler neighborhood of Nordic right off Highway 99, the routes at this small crag have an assortment of difficulties, mainly sport climbs with a few trads. There is limited top rope climbing in the area, but it’s convenient location make it a frequented spot by Whistler locals. Other locals’ picks include the Creekside Boulder and the Showcase Spire on Blackcomb Mountain.
Tried some of the best rock climbing spots in Vancouver and interested in taking your skills to the next level? Check out our rock-specific courses here.
Written by: Vince Shuley