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No 2020 Thanksgiving in Skaha, Bluffs Closed Due to Fire (Updated)

The recent wildfires have forced the closure of some Okanagan crags until Oct. 15

Due to the recent Christie Mountain wildfire near Penticton, B.C., Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park is closed to public. The restriction is in effect until Oct. 15 or until it is rescinded.

That means that the often busy gneiss crags of Skaha will be empty this upcoming Thanksgiving, which is on Oct. 12. The autumn holiday has traditionally been a time when climbers would travel from around B.C. and Alberta for an end-of-the-rock-season weekend of climbing.

Update Sept. 4: Rolf Rybak has updated us that some climbing in Skaha will open today: “Skaha Bluffs Park will be open today at noon for climbing but two Eastern and Southern areas are still closed. Shady Lane /Hollow, Flake and Gillies creek areas are still close. The ward 1 trail branching off of the Grand canyon trail and Easter crags are still closed, Rutopia, Retardant and Belvedere areas. Security guards will be posted at closure area trailheads. Finally but most important, a big thank you to Wendy Pope our Regional Park Manager for advocating on our behalf to open the park Rock Oven, Ward 1, Sauerkraut trails and the Smythe FSR remain closed. Rock Oven, Ward 1, Sauerkraut trails and the Smythe FSR are in exceptionally poor condition – Active wildfire, danger trees, ash pits, chainsaw operations, and aerial suppression remain as hazards in the Area Restriction. for climbing.”

The BC Wildfire Service implemented the restriction order for Crown land in the vicinity of the Christie Mountain wildfire in order to protect public safety and avoid interference with fire control. You can learn more here.

The Skaha bluffs were closed all spring due to covid-19, but reopened in late spring. Conditions in June and early were near-perfect in the Okanagan for rock climbing, but temps soared in August.

In 2019, Elan Jonas McRae made the first ascent of The Remnant at 5.14+. It’s one of the area’s most difficult bolted routes.

Check out photos of the Christie Mountain wildfire by climbing photographer Dave Mai, and watch a video of by Mai of Jonas McRae’s new Skaha route below.

The Remnant