B.C.’s Amaz­ing Lime­stone Canyon

Gripped - - THE GYM - Story by Danny O’Far­rell Cen­tral B.C. Rock

Mar­ble Canyon is found in Mar­ble Canyon Pro­vin­cial Park in the Pavil­ion Moun­tain Range in south-cen­tral B.C. The lime­stone canyon is a rare ge­o­log­i­cal for­ma­tion in the prov­ince well known for its great gran­ite climb­ing. The full height of some walls in Mar­ble Canyon are over 800 me­tres and it stretches for many kilo­me­tres. It’s a great place to spend spring, sum­mer and fall days crag­ging and multi-pitch­ing. The main Head­wall is over 500 me­tres and it’s on top of the big Apron, which is over 250 me­tres. The two big fea­tures are split by a slop­ing ledge with many trees. It only take about 30 min­utes to walk up and past the Apron to reach the Head­wall. The Head­wall has two big gul­lies to the sides. On the left is Great Gully and Mid Wall, which is next to North Gully. Most of the es­tab­lished climbs are on the Apron, but in 2017 there was a lot of new rout­ing that is ex­plores the up­per reaches of the Head­wall. Climb­ing started in the canyon back in the early 1950s as a train­ing area for big­ger moun­tains. Like many climbs done in Canada in the 1950s, few as­cents were recorded. Lyle Knight’s has the most up­dated in­for­ma­tion, but was pub­lished over a decade ago and there are many new routes.

The climb­ing is mostly in the 5.7 to 5.11 range, some are fully bolted and some are mixed with trad gear. Most of the multi-pitch routes were put up on lead and the bolts drilled by hand, so the spac­ing of the bolts might catch you off-guard. The canyon is big and there are dozens of small crags mixed with big ones. The ter­rain is com­plex and guide­books will only get you so far. You need to spend some time get­ting used to the ter­rain.

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