B.C.’s Amazing Limestone Canyon
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.