Friday, October 5, 2018

Bouldering in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Best thing about travelling solo and having a bit of a ''go with the flow approach'' is that I get to experience things which I would never otherwise get to see if I had a rigid plan with every step of my trip planned to the smallest detail. I haven't even heard of bouldering in Okanagan before I got to Squamish and so when the opportunity arose to come and try it out , I jumped on it. I joined my Scottish friend Cora and her pals who kindly invited me along to join their weekend adventure exploring this area of BC. It was so nice pulling hard on the boulders after months of trad climbing. I was surprised how much good quality bouldering there was too, and I have only just scratched the surface.

                    Andrew blending into the colours of The Boulderfields 

Like everything in Canada, the scale of bouldering in the Okanagan Valley is massive. You could spend weeks and weeks exploring its 20+ venues.  I have only just got a taste of what the bouldering is like in the area. Climbing on gneiss is super fun, the rock is grippy and technical but also has good holds and edges so it lends itself to some nice and varied climbing. It didn't feel polished which is always a bonus. 

                           Cora crushing this fun V2 (Morning Weezer)

We decided on The Boulderfields which is an area close to Kelowna. It has got lots of different grades starting from super easy to mega crusher hard and fairly easy approach. 

                            Jenn cruising up some warm up lines 
If bouldering is your thing, you will be giddy with excitement when you walk around and explore the hidden areas. 


Okanagan valley has its own guidebook which is really useful- The Boulderfields: A Bouldering Guide by Andy White. You need a car as Kelowna Boulderfields are located a few miles away from the town. The approach is via small logging roads which are closed over the winter due to snow so the summer months are your best bet. 

Typical Canadian camping- free car park, basic toilets and somewhere to pitch a tent 

There is a small free car parking and camping facility, the kind of set up which is very popular around Canada - basic toilets and somewhere to pitch your tent. Make sure that you bring plenty of water if you are camping over a few days as there is no water point. It is a little bit tricky to find though so I would recommend getting the guidebook as it has detailed instructions on how to get there. 

The boulders are surrounded by forests so the setting is pretty sweet. The areas and boulder problems are even signposted which makes it easy to find.

          Signposting makes it quite easy to find problems within the forest

The psyche was high and there was some good team sends.  

My favourite problem of the day - it took a few goes to work out the sequence but it was worth the effort - (Double Edged Sword V3)

 And some hard pulling on desperate problems too.

                           Andrew giving it the beans on Le Chub (V9)

It was really nice to experience a proper Canadian climbing weekend adventure with a bunch of lovely people. It turns out Canadian climbers are just as the same as British climbers. Psyched and up for a nice time with pals!

Climbers are really the same everywhere you go- psyched and usually nice and super fun to be around

I would really like to go back one day and spend more time working the boulders and really explore the whole valley. It seems that it is a little bit of a hidden gem of BC.

 The only issue with exploring new climbing destinations all the time though is that you end up having projects all around the world. I think I might need a lifetime just to go back to all those half finished projects!


1 comment

  1. You maybe need a couple lifetimes Dom to fit it all in. Looks very exciting where you are!