By Mark Hartley, Revelstoke Climbing Coop
The local rock climbing community received an early Christmas present last week when the highways maintenance contractor Emcon Services built a new car park for the climbers’ access route to the bluffs above Victor Lake, off the Trans Canada Highway west of Revelstoke.
Victor Lake Wall is the largest crag in the Revelstoke area and climbers have been recreating on it since Dean Flick completed its’ first route, The Mission, in 2007.
However, the previous parking for the crag, next to the lake, has always been a bit sketchy, especially in summer traffic, as it involved a left turn across the oncoming lane, with poor sight lines. It also necessitated climbers to walk along and across the highway.
The new car park resolves these issues. From Revelstoke, the access to the parking lot is 13.1 kilometres west of the Highway 23 South traffic light, and is located near the middle of a long straight stretch, where a right turn onto a newly constructed gravel road leads to the parking area in approximately 150 metres.
The car park and part of the access road are actually a recommissioning of the Eagle Pass Wagon Road, built from 1882-1884 by GB Wright with GJ Ainsworth. It was described afterwards as a “useless road” because it was superseded by the completion of the CP Rail line a year later.
The rock climbing community will be glad to put this access to good use, and it’s hoped that the establishment of a safe parking area will support the efforts that are underway to have the area designated a recreation site.
At the moment, the climbers’ access routes established in the area are rough and steep, and not well suited for walking or hiking. The Revelstoke Climbers’ Coop and the Revelstoke Climbers Access Society would like to thank Gabriel Nava and his crew from Emcon Services for supporting the local community, and for their dedicated and professional maintenance of highway safety.
Climbing on the Victor Lake Wall. ~ Photo by Ruedi Beglinger