Skaha bluffs contain more than 120 cliffs - only some of which are developed climbs - but still there are over 650 developed routes here.
The climbs range from single-pitch sport climbs (bolts are recent and somewhat overdone on some climbs - ratings are also recent so will seem 'easy' if you come from Yosemite or 'older' climbing areas) to several longer trad climbs that are well worth trying and of great quality. Gneiss rock - some overhangs, mostly steep face climbs, but with lots of positive holds. Many climbs are shaded by pine trees, and usually there is a really good breeze blowing through the trees.
Directions to get there (wouldn't fit in section for directions!!) :
From South Main street in downtown Penticton, turn east onto Crescent Hill road (at the north end of Skaha Lake), then turn south onto Valleyview road at the top of the hill. Follow this road to the end lot, marked by a sign and message board. Ascend a very long set of stairs east on a trail to get to the climbs. Did I mention it was a loooong set of stairs?? Better be in shape for this one!
Good guide book we used is called "Skaha Rockclimbs" by Howie Richardson and is accurate and not too difficult to follow.
Plum Line and Double Exposure were 2 of the favorite climbs we did.
Note that there is pay parking as the land to access the trail head is privately owned (the majority of the Bluffs themselves are public land, but find out the rules before setting new routes - some bluffs are privately owned and it would ruin access for others if you trespassed). Safer to stick to established climbs here for access reasons. Please pay the fees and be respectful to avoid future access issues. ($5 per day Canadian)
On our non-climbing day we hung out and caught some sun at the shore of the beautiful Skaha Lake. While we were there, it was still too cold for swimming in (though that didn't stop a few kids from trying) and I imagine that in the summer this area gets quite busy. But in early season it was calm and peaceful and a good way to soak up some rays.
Great bagels, soups and noshes. Friendly staff. We stopped here every morning for breakfast, and to get a few bagel sandwiches for our lunch before heading up to hike and climb in the Bluffs.
Huge selection of bagels, cream cheeses and other yummy fillings including lots of vegetarian choices. (Seating or carry out). Good coffee, says my husband. The waitresses at the counter remembered us after the first day, and remembered the kinds of bagels we liked too! I hope the same people are there when we return.
Favorite Dish: Bagels! Fresh baked on site. Good cookies too.
Big portions of typical yummy pub food. Comfort food, burgers (giant), and good fish entries too. Not a whole lot for strict vegetarians but there are some salads. Great beers (made on site). The atmosphere is great too - a nice stone fireplace, plenty of room to hang out with friends after a day of hiking or climbing at Skaha Bluffs - there are sofa type chairs to hang out in or normal tables. Also free internet access and pool table! Outside looks very German, but inside feels more western.
Favorite Dish: Fish & Chips, Cajun Salmon ceasar salad.
Oh yes, they are really there in Skaha Bluffs. We saw a couple on our trip -- one was right on the walking paths between the climbs. Don't listen to that advice that says 'Throw a rock near the snake - it will hear the noise and move away from it'. Ha ha ha said the snake we encoutered - it moved TOWARDS the rocks we threw, rather than away. Using this method, we moved the snake gradually off the trail. Yes, they are poisonous. We brought a snake bite kit with us. Be aware where you are putting your feet and hands at all times - esp. in Springtime when they come out ornery after winter.