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It’s hot and smoky, but don’t let that stop you from rock climbing

Some tips to help stay cool and feel good under toxic skies

It’s hot and smoky across most of Canada right now, as record heatwaves have sparked hundreds of fires in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The fires are blanketing much of the country in a haze of unhealthy smoke. To see an updated map of where the smoke will be today, visit here.

Last September, we reported that it was so smoky in Yosemite that climbers were bailing off big wall projects because the air had reached toxic levels. Also in 2020, wildfires burned forests close to Skaha and throughout the Ghost River Valley. The Silver Tongue Devil Wall (STD Wall), a popular all-bolted multi-pitch wall in the Ghost, was severely damaged by fire retardants used by wildfire fighters, leaving it unclimbable.

But don’t be discouraged from going rock climbing during these apocalyptic sky days, just be careful and more selective of where to climb.

Hot and Smoky Climbing Tips

– Find a shady crag that won’t see any sun while you’re there.
– Find a crag in the trees to help filter out some smoke.
– Keep the sessions short to not overexert.
– Bring a frozen water bottle or two to help cool down.
– Keep the approaches short and not too demanding.
– Climb at sunrise and sunset to avoid the hottest hours of the day.
– Head to the alpine to escape the valley heat.
– Stay hydrated to avoid itchy throats, headaches and shortness of breath.
– Follow up your session with a swim in a nearby lake to cool the limbs.
– If it’s too hot or smoky, then just head to the climbing gym!