Special to the Review
Located about 15 minutes down Highway 23 south lies Revelstoke’s most recently developed rock climbing area: Echo Bay.
Once parked near the Mulvehill Bridge, an enchanting hike, through a forest blanketed in moss contours, its way down alongside the Mulvehill Creek. The rushing sounds of the river and the cedar pine forest eventually gives way to the solid and steep quartzite that is Echo Bay.
|James describes some new routes to climbers as Douglas Sproul continues to work through his next addition.(Tyler Jay/Revelstoke Review)|
The area comprises a collection of few different walls: Eagle Wall, Owl Wall, Field of Dreams and The Bakery to name a few.
The climbs are split between an area situated in a shaded forest that can offer a welcome reprieve from the hot sun, or walls that give way to an expansive view of Upper Arrow Lake and the peaks that tower along with it.
Climbers have known about this area for a number of years. However, due to some land use complications, development didn’t take place until a few years ago.
With a keen eye and initiative from locals Mike Bromberg and Darek Glowacki, the first routes were put up and in the spring of 2017, the major development of the crag began.
Longtime Revelstoke climber and developer Douglas Sproul along with James Eger saw to it that Echo Bay manifested itself into a truly amazing climbing area. Often you can find one or both hanging out on the wall with a tool in hand or a puzzle in mind.
|Douglas Sproul (Left) and James Eger having a laugh. (Tyler Jay/Revelstoke Review)|
In areas such as Echo Bay, establishing a route isn’t simply a matter of finding a line and drilling some bolts. The area requires hours of cleaning debris and moss off the wall, precarious and often dangerous work of rock scaling (prying loose rock for the safety of future climbers) and imagination to see the route come to life in a way that is interesting and fun.
As Sproul puts it, “When you’re doing one of these things it’s really complex, Mother Nature has lots to throw at ya.”
Eger adds, “I spend a ton of time just cleaning the route, getting it to a point where it’s going to be climbable, then just climbing it a bunch and figuring out what makes sense, the bolting is the last and easiest part.”
Sproul has likely put in as many hours developing routes as he has developed the access trails and amazing recreation zone that is friendly to not only climbers but anyone looking to relax by the water or go for a stroll, there is even a boat that was donated for anyone to use.
|Sandy beach and a community boat provide a nice break, and the view is tough to beat. (Tyler Jay/Revelstoke Review)|
Echo Bay features climbs that range from 5.7 (beginner) to 5.12 (advanced), bolted sport routes, traditional gear routes, multi-pitch routes or simple top rope setups. The setting and variability of routes make this area a prime location for just about any climbing party to enjoy. Development is continually on-going and we can expect to see a lot more amazing climbing down at Echo Bay.