While The Coliseum and Mirkwood are both forest crags, Beechey Head is a classic sea cliff blessed with cool ocean breezes and spectacular views. Be sure to spend a second taking it all in as you pull over the top of the routes. Beechey Head lines are primarily traditionally protected with Abbey Road 5.9 being one of the most popular. Be very wary of any bolts and hangers you intend to clip as salt spray from crashing waves hastens the formation of rust.
These same waves also make communication between climber and belayer difficult, so be sure to have a plan in place before leaving the ground. The top anchor bolts are set well back from the edge and remain in good condition so it may be worth setting up a top rope or rappelling down to inspect any bolts below before attempting a ground-up lead.
Climbing in East Sooke Park may not be as well-developed or popular as many B.C. destinations, but this is part of its appeal. If you are looking for a cool place on a hot day for a relaxing session away from the crowds, it f its the bill perfectly. And be sure not to confine your day to climbing alone – take advantage of the stunning West Coast scenery and well-marked trails to enjoy a picnic lunch or a challenging hike. Getting there from Victoria Take the Trans-Canada Highway 1 north out of town then take Exit 14 toward Langford/Sooke. Turn right onto Sooke Road/Highway 14, then left onto Gillespie Road, left onto East Sooke Road and finally right onto Becher Bay Road to find yourself at the East Sooke Regional Park Aylard Farm Parking Lot. From here, consult the guidebook to locate the individual bluffs as some of the approaches are quite involved.
Guidebook South Island Select by Al Agopsowicz. The latest edition was published in 2015 and is available at MEC and other local retailers.
Mark Riley climbs Abbey Road 5.9