The climbs at Onion Lake are located in a logged cut block between Terrace and Kitimat, on a number of small to medium sized cliffs. The rock is rough granite which is quite fractured and of variable quality, so protection should be placed carefully. Despite the rough nature of the rock and short length of many of the routes, Onion is probably the most popular climbing area in the Terrace area due to its easy access and the reasonably large number of climbs. This area has recently been designated Chist Creek Recreation area by the BC Forest Service, and picnic tables, a couple campsites and an outhouse have been installed.
Access to the climbing area is via one of two generally well maintained logging roads off hwy 37 between Terrace and Kitimat. 31 km south of Terrace turn left onto a gravel road up a steep hill. From the top of the hill go straight, keeping right at the first fork. Drive past the cutblock, keeping left until you reach a pullout on the right, with an older road on the left (about 4km from the hwy). Park in the pullout or the old road. The cliffs are just north of the old road. The second entrance is about 1.8 km south of the lake. Across from the green ski hut a logging road heads east. Follow this road for about 1 km, taking the left fork between two tree farm license #41 signs. The road swings north then heads up a hill. About half a kilometre later it joins the other road leading to the cliffs. Turn right and go east about 500 metres to the climbs. Which road is in better condition depends on which areas are being actively logged. The access roads have now been marked with brown Chist Creek sign posts by the forest service.
The cliffs at Onion are a rough granite 10-35 metres in height, and generally vertical. The majority of the climbs are on the cliffs immediately north of the parking area are listed below. The grades range from 5.6-5.12, and most routes are usually top roped with bolted anchors above. Many of the routes are leadable, though often on marginal protection. The anchors at the top may be accessed via the gully at the south end of the cliff or one of two at the north end.
25 metres north of the parking area a number of short climbs are encountered on the south end of the cliff with a prominent gully in the middle. Most of the climbs are on the right (east) side of the gully, which accesses the anchors to all the climbs. West of the gully a number of short top rope problems can be worked out. Most of the south facing routes are fairly easy (5.6-5.9), though the climbs around the corner are harder. Bolt anchors above.
next six climbs are on the taller, steep east face of the cliff, three
on each side of the imposing roof. The last three are on the shorter cliff
just to the north. Anchors may be reached from the top as for the climbs
above, or the two gullies on either side of the north cliff.
On the south wall of the gully separating the above climbs from the ones below is a nice 5.10 top rope face climb, and the possibility for some interesting chimneying.
The next three
climbs are on the bluff to the north of the main cliff, with the gullies
on either side.
North of Cadillac Soup the rock is fractured and friable. There is one top rope climb, but the rock very sharp and of extremely poor quality.
The final climb
listed here is on the slab above the last two climbs
A trail leads from the base of the main cliff up the valley to a few other climbs on various boulders and cliffs, the routes are mostly 15 metres or less, and 5.10 or below. By following the road past the picnic tables for a 20 minute hike, the Quarterdome may be reached, and a number of climbs in the 5.10-5.12 range may be found here.