With the hot temperatures making an early appearance this summer here is a list of the best places to boulder and beat the heat in the West Kootenays. It is pretty amazing that there really is something for every season. Be sure to check out the updates page as places like Riverside, Swamp Donkey, Megafauna and the Lumberjack Boulders have seen significant new development since the release of the guidebook…Have fun out there!
RIVERSIDE BOULDERS/VALHALLA – This mostly new zone at Valhalla is probably the second best place to find shade and cooler temps in the guidebook region. Cross the Norns/Ladybird Creek on the fun log crossing with a rope and chicken wire to assist (see photo above) or wade at lower water levels to the outstanding collection on the south side of the creek. There is a high density of amazing boulder problems here with a different feel from the talus above. Mostly good landings, not so tall problems, all day shade and cool air pockets from the adjacent creek make this an awesome choice.
KOKANEE LAKE BOULDERS – This alpine bouldering destination is certainly the best spot for hot weather bouldering. Only catch is that it isn’t snow free until at least July. Stellar alpine granite, steep juggy problems and a high density right on the developed provincial park trail make the hour hike well worth it. These boulders face north east, are at 2000m and offer some of the best developed alpine boulder problems in Canada.
SWAMP DONKEY/CIRCUS/MEGAFAUNA BOULDERS/LADYBIRD – The boulders in these three areas all lie amongst a thick cedar/hemlock tree canopy and feature lots of shade and much cooler temps than in the main talus areas at Ladybird. There are so many amazing granite problems, great landings and the creek is only seconds away. The High Society area requires a wade (lower water) across Ladybird Creek while the rest of the climbing is seconds from the road and is very good for families and low committal bouldering.
LUMBERJACK BOULDERS – This fantastic density of boulders gets lots of morning shade as the sun usually comes around by 12-1pm. There are also lots of super shady aspects, especially the north side of the ‘Lumberjack Boulder’. A ten minute approach across the tree planted block and mixed forest leads you to a huge amount of high quality boulder problems all right beside each other.
BEALBY IN THE MORNING & GROHMAN DURING THE EVENING – The two main bouldering areas in the vicinity of Nelson both have their shady times of day. Grohman gets lots of morning sun and Bealby gets lots of shade until 11-12pm. Both are steps away from a dip in the river.
POISON RIVER – Last but not least, the Poison River Boulders are a fine choice for a mid-summers morning session. The amazing rock should not be missed and the big Cedar canopy helps keep this place cool until early afternoon. The Slocan River is a few minutes walk away and the density and steepness of these problems make for a relatively quick pump haha. But seriously, this is an excellent choice while hanging out in the Slocan Valley.