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New Rockies Dry-Tool Crag is Drive In Near Exshaw

The popularity of dry tooling is on the rise in the Rockies, which has resulted in a new dry-tool crag near Exshaw to be established. The area is called the Drive In because you can drive to with-in 100 metres of the base. There are six routes, but expect that to double by November.

Drive In from the parking area.
Drive In from the parking area.

The routes face west and are between 10 and 25 metres. There are no big roofs or caves, the climbs are vertical and slabby with odd roof. The Drive In is a new crag and has a fixed-rope along the base as the ledge below the route rises north above a slight drop. Clip into the belay bolts. Beware of loose rock and wear a helmet.

The crag is on the west side of Jura Creek, the first canyon east of Exshaw, before the narrow canyon and above 4×4 roads. You can drive to the base on the rough roads or park in the pull-on on the flat gravel area left of the creek. The Drive In is the obvious first cliff on the left. The crag had one rock climb established by Jay Mills a few years ago, but the crag seeps year-round Mills agreed the wall should be a dry-tool crag.

Fun corner on Deception M5. Photo Brandon Pullan
Fun corner on Deception M5. Photo Brandon Pullan

The routes from left to right are Happy Feet M5+ (FA Liam O’Sullivan, Rob Fulton), True Romance M5 (FA Amanda Bischke), Deception M5 (FA Joel Faubert), Tropic Thunder M6 (FA Alex Lawson), Dirty Dancing M6 (FA Paul Taylor) and Batman Begins M7 (FA Mark Bramble, Paul Taylor). The most enjoyable and often-climb route is Deception, which heads up a solid right-facing corner. Brent Peters of Peak Stratagem is one of the developers and has a note on the anchors: All the routes to date have sport anchors with a fixed steel lower off carabiner. If you are going to top rope the routes, please lift your rope or build a conventional anchor while top roping to preserve the steel as long as possible.

Keep in mind, the Drive In is a new crag and the few routes will be busy fast. Head there early or late for a few laps. The Playground on Grotto Mountain will also be overflowing with climbers the past few weekend. Climb safe and be patient. If there are other climbers, don’t hangdog on toprope for hours, clear the way to allow others to climb.

Laps on Deception M5 Photo Brandon Pullan
Laps at the Drive In. Photo Brandon Pullan