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Quadra Island, British Columbia, Canada

Rock Climbing around Quadra Island

seaside crags and mountainside walls

Morte Lake Crags


Rock climbing on Chinese Mountains Quadra Island, BC
Photo: Morte Lake, Quadra Island, BC

Morte Lake is a Quadra Island jewel. The lake is nestled in the forest below the south slopes of Mt Seymour, Quadra's highest 'mountain' and is a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers, birders, swimmers and other activities. Chinese Mountains is just to the east and the Morte Lake trails all link with those at Chinese Mountains and Beech's Mountain. There is an extensive network of mountain bike trails between the main hiking trails.

Rock climbing Quadra Island, BCThe rock is the same as at Chinese Mountains, mostly a granitic basalt or andesite, clean and well weathered. Some of the coarser weathered rock has numerous pea to marble-sized quartz crystals giving the rock a very sharp, grippy surface.

QUADRA ISLAND ROCK CLIMBING
Guidebook available>

Track your climbs: many of the routes on Quadra have been added to Sendage.com. See more here>

ACCESS: The Morte Lake crags are south-facing and nestled in the forest on the uphill (north) side of the popular Morte Lake hiking and biking trail. To locate the trailhead drive north from the ferry terminal in Quathiaski Cove on West Road following signs for Heriot Bay. In the village of Heriot Bay turn left on Hyacinthe Bay Road or Cramer Road (which joins Hyacinthe Bay Road) and continue north. Pass North Gowlland Harbour Road and down a steep hill. The road winds round a tight corner and heads back uphill, to the left is the Walcan Road, turn left here and drive 700m to a sign-posted turn-off on the right for the Morte Lake trail.

Map of Chinese Mountains rock climbing, Quadra Island, BC


Rock climbing Quadra Island, BCHighlights of climbing here include: the elegant approach through the forest on the Morte Lake trail suitable for mountain biking as well as hiking, the views over Morte Lake to the snow-capped mountains of Vancouver Island and Strathcona Park from Mt Arrowsmith in the south to Victoria Peak in the north, the pretty moss-covered ledges, wildflowers and the large, surviving veteran old-growth Douglas Fir trees.

Helmets should always be worn while climbing to protect from head injury in case of a fall but they are especially advised here as there are loose rocks both on the routes (simply due to low traffic) and also hidden in the moss on ledges that are easily dislodged. Climb safely - always wear a helmet!

This is a climbing area in progress - stay tuned for additional information and ongoing route development.


Chinese Mountains rock climbing crags


LITTLE MORTE EDGE

Far West Wall, rock climbing Quadra Island, BC

Little Morte Edge: One of the original crags in the area, first developed in the mid-1990s. Although it hasn't seen much recent activity the whole crag remains fairly clean but could benefit from a little wire-brushing in places. The crag is short but steep, there are a mix of older piton anchors that need replacing, and newer bolted anchors. The rock features are distinctly square-cut with several roofs and crack systems unlike any of the other nearby crags.

Rock climbing Quadra Island, BCAccess: From the Morte Lake trailhead parking lot hike or bike the main trail as it ascends gently up a beautifully forested valley along a narrow old logging road bed. The trail parallels a small creek. After a few minutes note the sign-posted junction to the right (north) for the hookup trail to Chinese Mountains and the crags there.
Continue along the Morte Lake trail for 1.5km, about 25 minutes, to Little Morte Lake. Follow the trail 300m around the north side of Little Morte Lake. Just past the west end of the lake the trail descends sharply down to the left. Leave the trail here and follow the old road bed bed straight ahead through the bushes looking for the small clean crag ahead - Little Morte Edge.

Route descriptions from left to right:

R RAID 5.11 8m *
Starts towards the left side of the crag at a break in the lower band of overhangs. Pull up onto a triangular shaped block, then move right till it is possible to pull over a small roof and up to the chains. (5 bolts to chains.)

FA: Andy Brown, Rich Barry 25 June, 2014

MP MELTING POINT 5.10+ 10m *
Begins about 4 meters left of #1. Steeply up to a horizontal break, then left to finish up an aesthetic short finger crack. (4 bolts + 1/2” TRAD eg:TCU to chain belay).

FA: Andy Brown, Rich Barry 25 June, 2014

Z6 ZERO TO SIXTY 5.10b 10m *
Four bolts to chains.Located towards the far right side of the crag. A steep start followed by a slabby rising traverse to the left.

FA: Andy Brown, Rich Barry 25 June, 2014


LAKE VIEW CRAG

Lake View Crag is a fine outcrop overlooking the east arm of Morte Lake and it has been visited by climbers at least since the early 1990s. Old piton anchors can still be found along the top and half-way-ledge. It is easily reached on the main Morte Lake trail and sits above the trail with a very open, sunny, southwest aspect. It is one of the best crags in the area for beginners but has some steeper more difficult lines to keep more experienced climbers interested too. The rock is some of the best of the Chinese Mountains - Morte Lake crags, well-weathered, mostly clean and very coarse. With no upslope terrain to seep water, it dries very quickly after a rainfall. The ledge at the bottom is wide enough for groups to congregate safely and comfortably.

Lake View Crag, rock climbing Quadra Island, BC

Rock climbing Quadra Island, BCAccess: Follow the approach description for Little Morte Edge along the main Morte Lake Trail. Keep to the trail past Little Morte Lake and continue an additional 500m past Little Morte Edge to a well-sign-posted T-junction for the loop trail around the north and south shores of Morte Lake, a total of 30 to 40 minutes from the trailhead. Just a short distance, 20m, past the junction on the north shore trail (the righthand fork heading west) Lake View Crag can be seen up above the trail. Leave the trail and strike up through the forest and scramble up to a wide open mossy ledge at the base of the crag.

The top is reached by good paths up both sides of the crag, climber's left is probably the most useful. The lefthand side of the crag is split halfway up by a ledge this makes for a nice short wall to set up top ropes. To reach the anchors either lead one of the routes or rappel down from the top.

Shade: On hot days the sun can really cook at Lake View. Luckily there is a small shade tree in the middle of the base ledge and to the left is a nice larger open area under a copse of larger trees. There is a beach for swimming at Morte Lake just 10 minutes along the main hiking trail.

LV LAKE VIEW ARÊTE 5.7 35m **
The longest climb on the crag on mostly great rock. Start up steep face up a groove on hollow flakes to ledge (5.7). Continue direct and up over several short steps as the arête narrows. Rappel or walk-off descent. (10 bolts - rap ring anchor)

FA: Philip Stone, Nic Manders 18 March, 2016

S SCANDALOUS 5.8 14m **
Up the short steep wall between two small trees at the left side of the central slab on coarse grey rock. Climb direct on great holds. Strenuous but positive. Finish up the easy slab to the belay on halfway ledge.
(5 bolts - rap ring anchor)

FA: Philip Stone, Renée Blouin 11 May, 2014

PM POST MORTEM 5.9 14m *
Takes a line up the left side of the main slab. Climb steep moves onto a ledge. Continue up the thin face above. Belay on halfway ledge. (4 bolts - rap ring anchor)

FA: Philip Stone, Renée Blouin 16 May, 2015

MS MORTUARY SLAB 5.8 16m *
Start at the left side of the main central slab. Climb direct up the slab with a few interesting moves to the bolted belay on halfway ledge. (5 bolts- rap ring anchor)

FA: Philip Stone, Renée Blouin 11 May, 2014

MP MALPRACTICE 5.11c 10m *
Continuation of the line above MS up the upper headwall. (5 bolts - bolted anchor)

FA: Bryan Sexauer 9 May, 2015

A AUTOPSY 5.7 16m *
4m right of Mortuary Slab a slightly easier line up the slab to a bolted belay on halfway ledge. Nice, feel-good lead for the grade. (5 bolts- rap ring anchor))

FA: Philip Stone, Renée Blouin 11 May, 2014

NC NATURAL CAUSES 5.6 17m **
Great first lead. Start at the shade tree. Climb direct & pass a detached block. Step left to a shallow left-facing corner and up a few short steep moves to belay on halfway ledge (6 bolts - rap ring anchor)

FA: Philip Stone, Nic Manders 25 February, 2016

I INQUEST 5.13 (TBC) 14m **
Start up Autopsy to the belay ledge below the base of the steep upper headwall. Head up off the ledge and pull over overlaps to the clean, smooth beige rock. Climb the steep face direct. (6 bolts - bolted anchor).

PROJECT

RM RIGOR MORTIS 5.11c 14m **
Climb up the lower slab to the midway ledge. Tackle the steep headwall up the obvious crack (TRAD - bolted anchor).

FA: Bryan Sexauer 6 June 2015

PC PAY THE CHARON 5.6 16m *
Climbs the lower slab to the right of the small fir with one steep step and easier slab to midway ledge. (4 bolts - bolted anchor)

FA: Tina Albershardt 26 May, 2015

BA BATS, HORNETS, ANTS OH MY! 5.11b 27m **
Start up PC and continue above the midway ledge up the steep upper headwall. Trend left and finish direct. (5 bolts - bolted anchor)

FA: Hannah Preston 26 May, 2015

MF MORTIFIED 5.10d 27m **
Start about 4m right of the young Douglas Fir tree up the easy blocky slab to the righthand end of the ledge that breaks the wall at halfway. Continue directly up the steep headwall on good holds to start. A thin crimpy section (5.10d/11a) leads to better holds, a second crux (5.10b) and a strenuous finish. Bolted belay anchor with rappel rings. (9 bolts - ring anchor)

FA: Christina Smyth 9 May, 2015

MG MORTICIA'S GROOVE 5.9 27m ***
A nice long and sustained line with fun climbing. Starts up the lower apron to a shallow groove of light-coloured rock. Climb blocky rock to the groove then up solid but split, black blocks. As the groove angles off right, step left to gain a steep crack. Layback up the crack on good holds to a ledge and one short step up to the anchor. (9 bolts - rap ring anchor)

FA: Philip Stone, Nic Manders 25 February, 2016

MT MORTICIAN 5.10a 22m **
To the right of Mortified is a streak of lighter coloured rock running the whole height of the crag, to the right of this is a line of darker rock with a slightly bulging prow. Start up the easier rock past the high first bolt to the steeper rock. Clip the second bolt and then keep left to start on the light coloured rock before stepping rightward onto the bulge. Climb up the prow with a few thin moves (10a) leading to an easier finish and the bolted belay anchor with rappel ring. (7 bolts - ring anchor)

FA: Philip Stone 13 May, 2014

BS BONE SAW 5.8 22m **
Takes the righthand most line on the main part of the crag. Start up the easy lower blocks and then work up under a small roof. Reach for the bucket above the roof and pull out right. Few steep moves on good holds leads to an easy finish. (8 bolts - ring anchor + upper top rope anchor)

FA: Philip Stone, Nic Manders, Tak Ogasawara 30 May, 2014

CR CORONER’S REPORT 5.8 (TBC) 18m *
A bit of a scrappy line compared to the rest but still worth a look. Climb from just to the left of a short, mature fir tree. (top rope - rap ring anchor)

PROJECT:

To the right of Mortician and the main part of the wall the base of the crag angles downward a few metres behind a short but mature fir tree to a lower ledge. Above this ledge the rock is at a gentler angle and the climbing difficulty of the routes eases. At half-height of this part of the crag there is a scoop and ledge with a rounded arete on each side.

AL AFTERLIFE 5.7 27m **
Start about 4m down and to the right of the fir tree up the triangular-shaped wall on coarse brown rock. Using the line of bigger holds to the right of the bolts is easier. Trend slightly left as the wall tapers into a rounded arete. Follow the obvious line up the arete with a few steep but well-protected moves and easier climbing to finish. For top roping use 1 or 2 quickdraws on the lead bolts to prevent penduluming off the arete. (9 bolts).

FA: Philip Stone, Nic Manders, Tak Ogasawara 30 May, 2014

IM IMMORTALITY 5.6 22m *
About 5m right of Afterlife is a short wall with a very small fir tree sapling growing out of it. Climb the wall to a rounded arête. Climb direct up the narrow arête. For top roping use directional quickdraws. (8 bolts - bolted anchor)

Route Set by Philip Stone

Below these projects and the fir tree is a short steep, actually slightly over-hanging wall with potential for some short (6m) difficult problems. Below this is a second even nicer short bouldering wall with a inverted guillotine rock block at the centre of the base. Looks fantastic!

There's more rock further to the right along a pretty, forested ledge. There's lots of rock around Lake View, it's well worth the hike for the quantity, quality and great views.


Chinese Mountains Area >

Rock climbing on Chinese Mountains Quadra Island, BC
Photo: A Dream of Wild Onions, Sunset Slab.

Ask the locals questions and find out what's new at our
Quadra Climbers FaceBook Group>

Donations of bolts & hangers are very welcome to support the development of this very promising climbing area. 10 to 15 bolts typically equips one route but any contribution is appreciated. Send your donation of 3 inch 3/8" stainless steel wedge bolts and/or hangers to: Quadra Climbers c/o PO Box 280 Quathiaski Cove BC V0P 1N0 - Thanks, see you at the crags!

QUADRA ISLAND ROCK CLIMBING Guidebook available>


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