One engine that helps drive the Island economy is tourism – from fishing, to camping to surfing the waves that pound the region’s rugged West Coast. Rock Climbing (Bouldering) is fast becoming one of the tourism industry’s brightest lights. Vancouver Island is the perfect destination for caving and rock climbing, thanks to its unique geology and established infrastructure. Born of an oceanic uplift and composed of porous volcanic and sedimentary rocks, Vancouver Island was made to be climbed and explored.
More than 50 recognized climbing sites have been cataloged on Vancouver Island and its neighboring Gulf Islands, offering challenges for climbers of any skill level. Some of the best sites can be found in the North Island’s Strathcona Provincial Park. Established in 1911, Strathcona is the oldest Provincial Park in B.C, and covers more than 245,000 hectares of pristine mountainous terrain. The Golden Hinde, a peak nearly 2,200 meters high is located within the park and is Vancouver Island’s highest. Its towering summit has proven challenging for even the most experienced mountaineer. The Park’s Crest Creek Crags region is another prime rock climbing destination with more than 170 climbing routes identified – offering something for everyone – from novice to experienced climber.
Climbing and caving opportunities can be found all across Vancouver Island, from the Galloping Goose Corridor near Victoria to the cliff faces of Mount Wells on the North Island. Thanks to a mature road system and the numerous communities that dot the Island, the majority of the identified climbing sites can be easily accessed. Always ensure you have legal access to the destination of your choice as some sites can be situated on private property, or located within designated parkland. First time visitors to many of the Island’s better recognized climbing sites will find that local climbing clubs have already carved ready-made handholds and bolt routes into the favored climbs, making the task that much easier.