Central British Columbia offers a wide enough variety of rock to suit any climber. From the long granite slabs of Yak Peak and Bella Coola, to the outstanding edgy face climbs on the gneiss at Skaha and Begbie Bluffs, to the adventurous limestone walls of Marble canyon, central BC runs the full gamut of climbing. With the exception for Skaha, climbing in central BC is generally free of the crowds found at Squamish or in the Rockies.
The areas described as ‘Central BC’ are really anything in the south half of the Province that is not Squamish, basically the area covered in Lyle Knight’s Central BC guidebook. It is beyond the scope of this page to describe in detail the access to all the major areas, but I have given a brief overview of what is available near each major city in central BC:
The best guide book for central BC rock climbing is Central BC Rock by Lyle Knight, Published by Merlin Productions. This book covers everything from Prince George down to the US border, and from Marble Canyon and Yak Peak in the west out to Revelstoke in the east.
The only major crag left out is Skaha, which has a guide book of its own. Skaha Rockclimbs, written by Howie Richardson, one of the original and still one of the most active climbers at Skaha, is an outstanding guide. Many of the crags have small guides available at local climbing stores, but the above mentioned books are the most common and cover the majority of the crags throughout central BC.
Weather Penticton Weather Charts
Although generally much drier than the coast, the weather varies greatly throughout central BC. The Okanagan and western Interior are generally quite arid, with temperatures ranging in the 25-35 degree range through the summer. The mountains regions (Coquihalla and the eastern interior) receive a much greater amount of precipitation and are a bit cooler, though July through September are generally decent. For weather forecasts and more information, try the Weather Network.
The gear required for Central BC really depends on where you want to climb. There are a number of sport crags throughout where a rope and a few draws are all that is needed. Most of the crags also have a few gear routes, so a rack is quite useful. For the numerous alpine climbs, including the multi-pitch routes of Marble Canyon and the Bugaboos, a full rack possibly including a hammer and some pitons is advised, and should be complemented by solid experience, as these climbs are often very serious and remote.