Rock climbing on the Sunshine Coast rewards those who seek out big walls, big boulders, and big adventure.

On the northern Sunshine Coast, sheer granite rock faces and awe-inspiring bluffs loom over the forest valley and ocean. You’ll find some of the most incredible big-wall climbing in the world, rivalling the likes of Squamish and Yosemite. Powell River is home to six cragging areas, three big wall areas, a bouldering guide, and four popular mountain routes, although the area’s relative isolation and proximity has kept its rock climbing potential a secret for many years. 

On the southern Sunshine Coast, you’ll find a number of easily accessible bouldering areas. All are located within close distance to communities, with routes ranging from V0 to V9 over dry granite featuring prominent cracks and nice landings. 

Don’t forget to grab a beer at a local brewery or head to the indoor climbing and bouldering gyms in Sechelt and Powell River to glean beta (information about how to ascend a climb) or hear updates on areas from in-the-know locals. Climbing on the Sunshine Coast is all thanks to the coast’s small but dedicated community of climbers who have developed these diverse climbing areas over the years, and who continue to stoke passion for the sport.

Climbing Areas on the Sunshine Coast

Eldred Valley, Powell River

Huge, sheer granite walls loom over a forest valley floor and offer near endless potential for big-wall climbing. You’ll find multi-pitch routes on crags known as Carag-Dur and Psyche Slab and whole fields of boulders on both sides of the spectacular Eldred River.

Higgyland, Powell River

Higgyland is Powell River’s most popular (and accessible) sport climbing area, located right on the shores of Powell Lake. The area sits tucked away in the forest and is adjacent to the Scout Mountain portion of the Sunshine Coast Trail, offering hikers and climbers a dual-sport day. 

Anchor Crag, Sechelt

A small granite crag, easily accessible from downtown Sechelt, offers spectacular views of the surrounding area and ocean. Anchor Crag features prominent cracks over a total of 14 routes including eight trad climbs and two bouldering projects. 

McNair Creek, Gibsons

In Langdale, off the McNair Creek Forest Service Road, you’ll find an excellent selection of granite boulders with 47 problems that range from a V0 to V6. (Note: 4×4 access is required, and so is a short hike to get into the bouldering area.)

Desoto Rock, Halfmoon Bay

Located between Sechelt and Madeira Park, the east-facing Desoto Rock bluff offers a few short sport climbing routes, with a few longer mixed routes currently in development. Expect routes around the V5 grade. 

Raven’s Cry Connector Trails, Halfmoon Bay

This is a series of 10 projects over a number of big boulders, located in Sargeant Bay Provincial Park. The boulders are accessed off of Raven’s Cry Connector Trail via Triangle Lake Trail, and sit just inside the forest. The area is located just up the road from the beach in Sargeant Bay Provincial Park, making it a great post-climb spot to cool down.

Rainy River Boulders, Gibsons

Rainy River Boulders is a spectacular bouldering area in an alpine setting accessed via a mild forest service road. Here climbers will find 37 problems that range from V0 to V9 on high-quality granite with nice landings. 

Stillwater & Lake Bluffs, Powell River

Situated right on the ocean, Stillwater Bluffs is perhaps the most picturesque climbing area in the region with cliffs that rise seemingly straight out of the ocean, and huge boulders strewn inside the cool forest just onshore. Just across the highway from Stillwater, the Lake Bluffs are Powell River’s traditional crack climbing destination. These bluffs are accessed off the service road that leads to the start of the Powell Forest Canoe Route.

The Stillwater Bluffs. Photo: Paul Kamon

Indoor Climbing and Bouldering Gyms

The Hangar Climbing Lounge (currently only open to members) is located in Sechelt and is open 24/7. It features over 2,000 square feet of bouldering space on walls that reach 16 feet. New problems are set every week, you can pick your own music, and there’s a food and beverage bar for snacking in between climbs. 

Strait Up Climbing is an indoor climbing gym in Sechelt that features 17 ropes and more than 60 challenging routes on walls that start at 24-feet tall and top out at 32 feet. You’ll find wall angles that vary from slab climbs to overhangs to beginner routes and bouldering problems (up to 12-feet). There’s even a roof section for those who pass their lead climbing certification. But if you’re new to climbing, consider booking the Intro to Climbing course to learn about everything from gear and knots to the basics of movement on the wall.

The Powell River Climbing Co-Op is a small but mighty indoor gym conveniently located in the Townsite Public Market. The gym features 2,100 square feet of climbing with both bouldering and top roping routes, a climbing and fitness training area, plus equipment rentals. There are set drop-in hours, and a variety of lessons are offered such as Intro to Climbing Technique and Intermediate Climbing Skills.

There are no guided companies offering outdoor rock climbing tours and lessons on the Sunshine Coast, although you may find companies located elsewhere in British Columbia that offer customizable trips to popular areas such as the Sunshine Coast. 

Similarly, there is nowhere to rent gear on the Sunshine Coast; be prepared to bring all your equipment and to pack enough supplies to keep you fed, hydrated, and sheltered for the duration of your trip. 

Preparation and Planning

The Sunshine Coast is an emerging rock climbing destination that sees fewer climbers than other more popular, accessible rock climbing spots in BC. Be prepared to venture into the backcountry without the aid of others; create a trip plan and leave it with a family member or friend, and always explore within your abilities and limitations. Stick to established routes and ensure that you carry proper, reliable equipment and know how to use it safely. Remember to respect the terrain, environment, and other users while you are exploring a cliff and climbing area. And regardless of your experience level, never go climbing or bouldering alone

AdventureSmart and Leave No Trace are great resources to help you get informed before heading outdoors.

There are no guided companies offering outdoor rock climbing tours and lessons on the Sunshine Coast, although you may find companies located elsewhere in British Columbia that offer customizable trips to popular areas such as the Sunshine Coast. 

Similarly, there is nowhere to rent gear on the Sunshine Coast; be prepared to bring all your equipment and to pack enough supplies to keep you fed, hydrated, and sheltered for the duration of your trip. Forgot an item? Alpha Adventures in Sechelt and Powell River Outdoors are two sport, clothing, and outdoor equipment stores that may just have the item you’re missing. 

Local Beta

The best way to be introduced to a new climbing destination? Local beta. Hit up one of the local climbing and bouldering gyms, or visit Powell River’s aptly-named Base Camp coffee shop or Townsite Brewing for a post-climb beer. You just might be able to glean insight on routes and access points, get updates on local areas, and simply chat with in-the-know climbers. 

For detailed information on routes in the Powell River area, purchase a copy of Powell River Rocks by Christie Dionne from local bookstores or outdoor and equipment stores like MEC. You can also check out resources such as the Powell River Rock website and local Facebook groups.