21 posts by 6 people


Where is the Climbing at Mt. Doug

andpol said Fri, 22 Sep 2006 09:30:45 -0700

Does anyone know where the climbing is at Mount Douglas?


bcclimbing said Fri, 22 Sep 2006 15:37:29 -0700

Not sure. I actually haven't heard of any climbing on Mt. Doug at all. Maybe I'll head over and have a look around this weekend.

andpol said Fri, 22 Sep 2006 18:06:10 -0700

I am probably wrong. I thought Mt.Macdonald read Mt. Douglas. But there might be some possible climbing at the mt doug area. (I have only been there once.)
Where is Mt Macdonald?


bcclimbing said Sat, 23 Sep 2006 08:10:23 -0700

It's just across the way from Mt. Wells. I'll update the Mt. Macdonald page on the site when I have a few extra minutes. If you pull out at the main Mt. Wells pullout and then walk down the street another few hundred yards, there is a trail on the right hand side of the road.

some_guy said Sun, 11 Mar 2007 20:45:08 -0700

It's a little hard to find. It's located about 10-15 min in from Blenkinsop Rd. There is a pull out near the Galey Bros chicken farm. I believe it is the Mercer trail entrance. If you take this trail towards little Mt Doug. It is located on a goat trail off to the left after 10-15 min from the trailhead. It's been a while since I've been there and I think there are 1 or 2 sets of anchors for t.r.

Ed Seedhouse said Tue, 13 Mar 2007 19:45:28 -0700

Well it all depends on what you mean by climbing - there is bouldering in many areas near both summits, but the main exposure so far as height is concerned is on the West face of the main summit. Generally, go to the summit lookout and head west, down and left from there, and follow your nose.

There is a nice overhanging crack climb hidden away down there - I believe Greg Foweraker did it free many years ago.

Also, north from the summit lookout there are some west facing exposures up to about 40 ft high if I recall right. I scrubbed a slab/face climb out of there many years ago and it has a bolt or two if they haven't rusted completely away. If they haven't rusted away the face will probably be totally mossed over by now, but if you are feeling energenic you can dig it out again, it wasn't a bad climb, maybe 5.8 in E.B.s.

On the trail up to the main summit if you keep your eye open you can find a nice short slab hidden in the bush about 5 feet off the trail to your right. Smooth and maybe 12 ft. high if I recall right.

You also take a climbing shortcut to the summit instead of following the trail all the way up. Maybe low fifth.

If you don't mind wandering around a bit and are creative you can probably find fifty or so boulder climbs up there. Nothing exceptionally hard though. But fun on a nice sunny day and a change of pace.

There's also some nice granodiorite on the west face of mount Tolmie. Nothing demanding a guide book, but some fun can be had for a few hours if you are creative.

Stewart Wozny said Fri, 30 Mar 2007 16:11:29 -0700

As usual, Ed is totally mistaken on the historical record. The 5.8 slab was led while he was still in diapers, either by myself or other members of the now defunct UVic Rock Scaling Club. We did a few other short routes on the west side, including the crack, but didn't consider them important enough to record. I suppose there's also short stuff elsewhere if you keep looking.

Regardless of one's opinions on the bolt wars, it seem to me to be a pretty dumb place to place them - due to the facts that we had absolutely no difficulty protecting or anchoring them with gear, the routes are little more than boulder problems, and that some poor tourist could easily trip over them.

Ed Seedhouse said Sat, 31 Mar 2007 20:14:11 -0700

Well, I certainly I can't claim to have much knowledge of the historical record. Actually as far as I know there isn't one in the sense of something written down, but I could certainly be wrong about that.

If you read what I said I didn't actually claim a first ascent did I? I merely said I dug it out of the lichen and moss and then climbed it, which remains true whether it was a FA or not. As for the bolt ,well it was 20 years ago or so so I can't actually remember it very well.

But my fear threshold always was really quite low and I like pro after 10 feet at the most. If that makes me a chicken well, cluck cluck! On the other hand I always tried to avoid bolts mostly because they were so much work with hand drills.

As far as being in diapers and climbing, I was much more retarded than that, not actually starting to rock-climb until I was over 30 years old. But if Stewart recalls an incident one way and I another, I'd certainly advise anyone to bet on Stewart's more likely having it right.

Stewart Wozny said Tue, 03 Apr 2007 02:00:18 -0700

Well, Ed - as far as the historical record on any local climbs go - since there is little doubt that we know each other quite well, much of the confusion and raised hackles regarding who did what, when and where could easily have been avoided by making the effort to contact me before you put any info preceding the start of your climbing career into circulation. If I unfairly insinuated that you claimed the ascent, then my sense of integrity requires that I offer you an apology; nevertheless, I have stacks of slides, photos and notes that I kept from those days and at no time have you asked me a single question in an effort to clarify the record regarding this or any other area for which you have provided information . This means that those who started climbing after you came onto the scene are already at a disadvantage when they start to report their own efforts, regardless of their best intentions to keep the record straight. As for the accusation of chickenhood, I have no recollection of EVER accusing another climber, including you, of cowardice.

For whatever it matters, I do remember aiding the crack nearly 40 years ago with my brother, since it was one of my first leads. Whoever led it free, whether it was one of us in the UVRSC or Greg in later years doesn't matter much to me (and probably less to Greg), since there didn't seem to be much point in recording such short routes, plus the rock climbing scene on southern Vancouver Island before the appearance of Greg, Hamish et al consisted of very few people. It sure wasn't any of us who placed the bolts, though.

Two of the three most prolific climbers from those days are now dead. It's great to be remembered. Have at it, Ed - I care less and less about this stuff with each passing day.

Ed Seedhouse said Tue, 03 Apr 2007 07:14:50 -0700

Well Stuart, I don't think I've been doing anything here but answering as best I could a few questions someone asked about what climbing there was in various spots, in this thread Mt. Douglas. My memory is certainly very vague and it would be great if someone documented those "early" days, someone like you for instance.

The only climbing stuff I've written other than the odd message on various forums has not really pertained to the Victoria scene at all, and I have always regarded myself as definitely a peripheral player locally, distinguished if at all by my enthusiasm and persistent presence at the beach over a period of a couple of decades, which enabled me to get to know some of my betters. And aside from locally I am even less "important".

As to cowardice, I didn't mean to imply that you were accusing me of it. As a climber I was often pushed to my fear limits on what others regard as moderate climbs. The boldest thing I ever did was to lead pitch two of "Dream On" in E.B.'s - a pitch that most people who do that climb don't even remember afterwards Nowadays I have similar epics on the stairs!

bornfree said Tue, 03 Apr 2007 15:14:30 -0700

I have an off topic question for both of you, as you both know Victoria's history quite well.

I'm sure that you are aware that Cougar Caves is not the only outcrop of rock on Boneyard main rd... If you stay on butler main 300m past the turnoff to boneyard main, there is a wall that stands about 35-40m tall on the right. It starts out overhanging for 20 feet or so, then goes basically vertical for the remainder.

My question here is that if this big wall is so obvious from the road (possibly due to this winter's windstorm damage), why has it never been touched (or has it??) The moss is a good foot thick which leads me to believe that noone has ever cleaned it. Was access the issue when you guys were up there back in the day?

Basically, as I have had a run in with Stuart in the past about first ascents... has this area been a undiscovered for years? And don't worry, I absolutely will not put a bolt if there is natural protection.. never have, never will.

Ed Seedhouse said Tue, 03 Apr 2007 17:59:36 -0700

Well, bearing in mind that I haven't driven it for maybe 15 years, I did do some exploring along Butler main but I don't remember any big cliffs on the right. Greg Foweraker and Mark Koff, or maybe it was someone else I knew back then, did some climbing on a wall near the road and past the Boneyard turnoff - a short aid climb if I remember right. But I seem to recall that being on the left.

If you keep going on Butler main, if I recall rightly, you eventually come to a lake on the left and at the end of this lake there are some decent outcrops for bouldering that I visited once but never climbed anything. Also shortly after the Boneyard fork on Butler main there's a decent sized hill with a lot of rock on the left that I think the Scouts used to climb and explore.

All I remember on the right is some mossy slabs that guard the Caves. The original approach to the caves involved skirting the top of these slabs and rapping 40 ft. That was before the Boneyard main was joined up to the Butler main.

Dave Lepard might know a bit more - drop into Acklands Grainger and you might find him free enough to talk for a bit.

bornfree said Tue, 03 Apr 2007 20:22:52 -0700

The mossy slabs that you skirted for the origional trail actually go vertical a little ways down... I'll have to swing by and talk to Dave. I haven't been as far as the lake as the gate is locked at all times now.

Ed Seedhouse said Tue, 03 Apr 2007 21:41:05 -0700

Ah, that explains it - I only remember the slab part because when I could climb I could only really compete on low angle stuff. Too bad about the gate being locked - that was a nice drive. I once took my little yellow Toyota through to Shawnigan lake along that way.

bornfree said Wed, 04 Apr 2007 09:58:12 -0700

It looks like it may rain today, but next time that I'm out there I'll take a few pics from underneath and see if I can spark some interest in other people to help me determine whether or not it is worth the gardening efforts.

Stewart Wozny said Wed, 04 Apr 2007 18:03:09 -0700

Bornfree, you are a GOD. If it's the wall that I'm thinking about, I was in hospital (got dinged climbing a rock quarry in Metchosin) when some of the UVRSC went in to have a look at it and I fear that they either got lost or maybe "didn't have the right gear". Sorry I can't help you more. All the best, and good luck.

Stewart Wozny said Wed, 04 Apr 2007 19:17:35 -0700

Ed, I'm not going to continue this squabble beyond stating my very clear memory that when I was still resident in Victoria information was being assembled for a guidebook to the area, and that you were one of the major players. I also recall that we had a major snarling match about the information regarding Fleming Beach, partly because both the PPCLI and Godfrey Knox had been climbing there before I hit the scene, and the information that I was aware of appeared to be inaccurate. Our mutual animosity at the time resulted in none of my information being used. Should you recall those days differently then I'll concede these points because I've vented my spleen enough about all of this.

Regardless of your recollection of those days, I was living in Squamish when the first guidebook was printed, including several largely inaccurate references to my activities on southern Vancouver Island, and none of those guys knew me.

As for taking over as the official historian, any efforts by me to clarify the record after a gap of at least 20 years are going to be somewhat hazy and the effort required to reassemble this stuff into an accurate history would require a heroic effort on my behalf. The way I see it, even should I do so, about the only result would be to break someone's heart when they discovered that their first ascent was not in fact a new route after all. Nevertheless, should anyone contact me for information, I shall do my best to help them out.

In closing, anyone masochistic enough to follow our snarling contest would be well advised to understand that even the most amazing route down here is pretty small change in the big picture. There are scads of routes from boulder problems to multi-pitch routes within a short day's drive of Victoria that are far more worthy of our attention and, as far as I can see, none of them are recorded on this web site - not by me, anyway, since I haven't been those places for about twenty years. The reasons I haven't gone out of my way to supply information on these areas are because of a very real rockfall hazard to the unwary, a complicated approach, and the fact that, to my knowledge, they are on private property and the owners don't approve of rap-bolted routes, particularly where there are acres of unclimbed natural lines of all levels of difficulty to explore. Perhaps those others who have discovered a way to locate these places have found a way to climb there without getting busted, but I sure don't want to find myself in the middle of a lawsuit by providing directions.

The war is over, Ed. See you at the parade.

Ed Seedhouse said Wed, 04 Apr 2007 21:09:38 -0700

Squabble? What squabble?

I vaguely remember being involved slightly with Greg Foweraker who was doing a guide, as I remember it, to Fleming Beach and who asked me to help out. Don't remember any snarling matches though Stewart always lets you know what he thinks and I always liked that about him.

Anyway, Greg let the project drop so far as I know and I don't remember seeing any production runs.

In any event Stewart definitely knows more about pre 1975 days since by the time I started climbing at the beach in September of 1974, I was already 30 years old. Stewart, Darryl and some others were definitely there well before me as was Godfrey.

I also seem to remember a family who used to come down regularly and nail the overhang!

And I also found it odd that this site has nothing to say about the actually quite big wall of conglomerate I rather think Stewart is talking about. But since he didn't tell you the name I guess I won't mention it either, though there are sure some impressive routes there if you don't mind risking death from rockfall.

Stewart Wozny said Fri, 06 Apr 2007 02:44:15 -0700

Ed - in the name of harmony, how about we just say that we have different recollections of those days, coloured by age? Let's just drop the whole thing, shake hands and drop the whole business - I can't imagine anyone else who reads this stuff finding these postings to be of any practical use to them. We've both gone on to do bigger things elsewhere, so I'll stay away from your posts in this forum from now on. I believe that I stated that there seems to be little point in pursuing this any more, regardless of whom the true villain happens to be - I'm pretty well out of the climbing scene these days, anyway. Besides, they don't hand out cash or prizes to the winner of these spats.

For whatever it's worth, there are definitely risks from rockfall in the areas that I have alluded to, but our crowd, even in early days put up scads of great routes in that area. The thing that probably kept us alive up there was the fact that we did a lot of top-roping on shorter stuff before we got the guts to start leading the bigger climbs and by then were pretty confident that we knew what to watch out for. Over the 10 -15(?) years that we sporadically visited there, NOBODY got hurt - even the poor trusting beginners we often dragged out with us. My reluctance to provide easy directions to that area are based upon a variation of my attitude toward the trad vs. sport wars - I am not a geologist, but I feel that if anyone unwisely placing a bolt either in the boulders or the matrix holding them together and falling COULD result in the leader ripping one of those large boulders loose with the bolt still attached to the rope with very unpleasant results or the bolt simply popping out of the matrix. This is one of the many reasons we stuck to traditional lines up there, not to mention that I've never placed a bolt in my entire climbing career. Also, I wasn't kidding when I said that there's acres of unclimbed natural lines up there.

For whatever it's worth, there's an area close to Victoria that is similar in steepness to Cougar caves where we did a LOT of pretty good aid routes, but we decided to find somewhere else to play after I got hit with approximately half a ton of rock (honest - it must have shattered into smaller stuff when it hit me & the fact that I was in etriers probably helped swing me out of the full force of impact) finally convinced us that it was a good idea to pursue our search for glory elsewhere. The whole cliff is quite unstable, and I wouldn't recommend that place to anyone I didn't want to see dead, which is nobody.

Further to the above, I figure that one of the reasons some really good aid climbers hail from the Victoria area is a result of people nailing short hard routes that require extremely good judgement to avoid cratering when they start ripping gear in a fall. Needless to say, a far longer fall way off the deck might provide a lengthier and scarier experience, but it's usually a safer proposition.

While I'm at it, for those who want to push their luck in a different way, to my knowledge there is nothing illegal about going out to Paul's Terrace with a pair of binoculars and having a careful look around. We sure did until we discovered that some local land owners felt that we shouldn't do that sort of thing any more. The highest cliffs are around 30 feet high and pretty solid, although we were extremely careful to avoid upsetting the cormorants (in season) both for ecological and aesthetic reasons. I hope nobody feels as though I am suggesting that this information is provided for any reason other than for historical purposes.

Peace, Ed,,,

Ed Seedhouse said Fri, 06 Apr 2007 11:30:35 -0700

> Ed in the name of harmony, how about we just say that we have different recollections
> of those days, coloured by age?

I have no trouble with that, and I would even say that if both of us remember things differently you are probably more likely to be right on particular points, though of course we will both make mistakes, being humans. I never felt any particular lack of harmony between us, and this discussion doesn't change my mind about that. I really don' t mind being corrected, and I don't mind being proven wrong when I'm wrong, which is fairly often.

When you mention the "terrace" I realize that we were talking about different areas, the one I was thinking of being on the other side of the 'hat. But I remember the one you are talking about and agree that it's probably best to stay away from it and it certainly shouldn't be a sport climbing area!

Stewart Wozny said Fri, 06 Apr 2007 22:28:58 -0700

It's kind of you to say so & it's wisest to let go of bad feelings over the stuff in the previous posts.

That said, I would particularly advise anyone lurking around private property with drills and without permission that they could easily find themselves in an ugly legal situation, especially since cormorant nests on sea cliffs may be protected by law. Back then, we found somewhere else to play if we saw any perched there.

It will reassure you to know that I have found worthier targets for my disgust regarding the historical record. A light went on in my brain as a result of your comment about conglomerate & rockfall, but I can't see any good in going after the people I'm about to mention. I'll let karma take care of them.

In case you're interested in the memories you knocked loose (and can decipher the clues), the first guy was some pretentious twit from Oak Bay with more talent for photography than rock climbing - I think his real outdoor credentials were mainly limited to getting other people to drag him up snow plods and some other stuff. There was talk back then about a guidebook and this life form offered to compile the info if we supplied it to him. At the time, some other very capable climbers (who would have me very slowly killed if I identified them) and myself handed over some preliminary and incomplete information about the stuff we had done INCLUDING details about the legendary conglomerate mecca and the fact that the rock was loose in places.

He might actually have located the area, because the next thing we discovered was that the project was cancelled due to the certainty of death by rockfall should one be reckless enough to actually try climbing there. This laughably inaccurate assessment (don't forget that we had been climbing there for 10 - 15 years without a scratch) was published in the local newsletter of a national climbing organization. We were so disgusted with this bullshit that we put our end of the project on hold for the moment. By then, we (especially the others) were spending most of our climbing time in Squamish & elsewhere and slowly forgot about the project.

Unfortunately, his notes (which we didn't have a chance to proofread before he compiled them) still existed, and someone we both know very well got his hands on them and apparently passed them on to the author of the first published guide without troubling himself to give us (or at least me) the courtesy of a warning that he was going to do so.

So rest easy, Ed - all is forgiven, and besides Mt. Doug & Fleming Beach just aren't worth the vitriol. That first guidebook was printed as a result of inaccurate and incomplete information going through two sets of hands (regardless of the identity of number two) and then being passed on to an editor who didn't bother to check his facts before publishing.

I'll pay for the first beer if our paths cross again.

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