Rock Climbing around Quadra Island
The Breton Islands are a cluster of small forested islands and bare rocky islets 4km north east of Heriot Bay at the head of Sutil Channel off the east side of Quadra Island ( 50° 8'8.60"N 125°10'58.11"W). There are three main islands, the main central Breton Island, a smaller island to the north east and the third South Breton Island 800m to the south of the Main Breton Island. The narrow channel between the Main and North East Breton Islands and Quadra Island is Shellaligan Pass.
The Main Breton Island has a small cove indented in the south shore with a rocky beach and to the east of the cove is a short but very pretty, clean, orange-streaked granite cliff with some excellent bouldering and short climbs. Access to the island is of course by water from Heriot Bay or the end of Valdez Road at Moulds Bay, a popular diving site.
The highest part of the crag runs right along the water’s edge with a wide, tidal ledge. At low tide it is easy to scramble along the slimy ledge but at high tide the only way across the base is by a delicate traverse across the bottom of the cliff or by hiking up and around the top of the crag.
At the top of the main cliff are several shorter walls above a maze of mossy terraces. The clean, level landings make for incredibly user-friendly bouldering and there are a few problems just long enough to be worth a rope.
Although the climbs are very short the setting is spectacular and as the crag is only accessible by water it makes packing and paddling by kayak or canoe an easier proposition with only a small amount of equipment needed for a climbing session.
Access: The Breton Islands can only be reached by watercraft. The closest put in for kayaks and canoes is at the end of Valdez Road which is reached by driving north on Hyacinthe Bay Road and then east on Village Bay Lake Road to the junction with Valdez Road on the right (south). For power boats the nearest boat ramps are at Heriot Bay or Rebecca Spit. In good weather and calm seas it is easy enough to pullout or moor in the small cove on the south side of Main Breton Island - Breton Cove. In windier or rougher seas there is a more sheltered cove at the north east side of the island and a twin cove on the north west side of the same north point. Either hike around the shoreline or look for rough trails that cross the salal-covered forest to the cliffs on the south shore.
From the cove in the middle of the south shore of Main Breton Island walk across the large granite blocks east to an ideal flat rock platform at the left end of the crag. An obvious square boulder has a handful of steep problems, especially an angled overlapped crack in the centre and the slightly over-vertical arete on its right side. The platform is a perfect base to gear up and explore the climbs and problems from.
This low, slightly overhanging wall is located just above the driftwood at the right (east) side of the small cove beach (Breton Cove) on the south side of Breton Island.
Bikini Bottom is a sweet little, square-sided alcove set a few metres above and set back from the driftwood line at the right (east) side of Breton Cove. It is easily identified by the square-cut face on the right and the super thin crack at the back.
Square Pants Right Leg * V0 4m
Climb the right edge of the square-cut block up face to small layback crack to finish.
The first climbs reached approaching the waterside crag from the anchorage in the Breton Cove. Walk and then carefully scramble over blocky boulders at the high water line to find a perfect, flat granite platform hidden behind boulders and backed by two superb, short steep walls. The routes on this feature range from boulder problems to short lead or top rope climbs. Where it exists the natural protection is excellent. There are several bolted belay anchors at the top which is reached by scrambling up the mossy steps to the left (west) of the platform. Described here from left to right.
BW Beached Whale * 5.9 VB 4m
Takes the small left-facing corner at the left end of the west platform. Make a tricky lay-away move to gain the corner and then reach up for the horizontal breaks. Finish elegantly onto the ledge. 2 bolt anchor.
QD Quick Dip * 5.8 VB 5m
Takes the right-leaning crack-break. Make the most of this problem by getting your feet off the lower ledge! Pump up the jugs rightward to the 'thank god' finishing hold. 2 bolt anchor
BB Blood Sweat and Beers *** 5.10d 10m
Starts at the base of a steep corner on the right side of the alcove at the righthand end of the west platform. Climbs a series of three small roofs. A surprisingly awkward and strenuous climb. Stem up into the corner avoiding the first roof on its right. Make an awkward bridging move to reach and swing around the second roof on thin lay-away holds. Take the corner to the top past the third roof. Bolted belay with rap hangers.
FA: Philip Stone, Richard Sagar 9 August, 1989
The longest of the routes on Breton Island in a lovely setting right above the water’s edge. All the lead routes on this feature have excellent natural protection. Belays at the top are either tough shore pine trees or using natural protection, there is one older bolt belay at the top of the Central Platform.
Most easily reached at mid to low tide by scrambling down off the west platform and traversing underneath the crag. At high tide a tricky, higher traverse can be made but it might be safer to walk up and around to rappel down to the Cetral Platform or scramble down the ledges at the right end of the crag.
Described here from left to right.
SS Sybil’s Slit * 5.7 14m
From a small ledge just below and right of the west platform climb out to the right of the base of a wide crack in the deep roof and follow a thinner curving crack right and then direct to finish.
FA: Dave Green 8 August, 1989
ES Easy Street 5.3 10m
A good place for young children to get a feel for the rock and a quick way to get up and down from the top in the centre of the cliff. Best started from the central alcove and platform. From a generous ledge to the left of the central platform and 2m above the high water mark, scramble up easy steps to a pine tree ledge.
At the top is, conveniently, a perfect group of small, kid-size boulder problems on some flawless rock.
BC Basil’s Crack ** 5.7 12m
In the centre of the cliff is another wide ledge right at the high tide line with a large alcove and a series of blocky roofs above. Climb off the left side of the ledge up curving cracks to a small alcove and a rest. Bridge up above the rest, mantle-shelf to reach an easy small corner to finish.
FA: Philip Stone 7 August, 1989
DP Dead Parrot ** 5.7 15m
On the right side of the central ledge is a wide leftward slanting crack. Gain the crack direct and climb it at a surprisingly steep angle to the top.
FA: Rob Wood, David Minichello 7 August, 1989
TR The Rat * 5.7 12m
Takes a short rightward slanting finger crack just 5m to the right of Dead Parrot.
FA: David Minichello 8 August, 1989
DW Don’t Mention the War ** 5.4 12m
Climbs a series of small blocky ledges just to the right of The Rat.
FA: Brooks Hogya 7 August, 1989
SD Shakedown Street ** 5.7 10m
Climb a small overhang direct and gain a vertical crack and follow the crack to the top.
FA: Alex Fogden 7 August, 1989
West Pine Edge
Above the west platform is a beautiful west facing wall of dark grey granite tucked in behind a group of pine trees above a mossy ledge. Scramble up the blocks and ledges at the very west end of the crag from the beach and easily find this wall at the first ledge.
Takes a direct line up the centre of the wall using the thin cracks. 2 bolt anchor.
The next west and south facing wall above and to the east of West Pine Ledge. More beautiful clean, weathered granite with a great position high above the ocean.
SS Short Slab * 5.7 5m
A short little friction problem passing the thin horizontal crack.
JS January Sun * 5.8 6m
Starts to the left of the arete up a nice wall. Climb direct with a nice delicate crux near the top
JA January Arete * 5.10b 7m
Climbs the sharp, broken arete keeping to the right along the cracks, more difficult than it looks.
JC January Crack ** 5.10c 8m
The main thin crack to the right of the arete. Start up the easy slab onto a small off-balance foot ledge. Wrestle up the thin vertical crack to finish.
January Traverse ** 5.9 15m
A really nice boulder traverse along the base of January Wall. Great in either direction. An unbelievably clean and soft mossy landing the whole way along the wall.
It would be hard to design a more perfect bouldering feature for children. Start with clean, flawless, weathered granite with superb friction. Craft a perfect open-book corner, a perfect slab with go-for-it horizontal hold at perfect crux height and a sweet square-cut arete. Make it just high enough that an adult spotter could pluck a gripped kid right off the line and you’ve got Kids’ Corner.
Locate the wall just below and to the east of January Wall behind a pine tree.
Climb in the Corner ** VB 3m
Climb the easy but perfectly open-book corner.
Give me a Break *** VB 3m
Climb the middle of the gently-angled slab up to a perfect horizontal break to finish
Kids’ Only Arete ** VB 3m
Keep to the right side of the slab using the arete.
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