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Megawatts is Fun Eight-Pitch Bolted 5.8 in Southern B.C.

Megawatts is one of the best climbs in B.C. you probably haven’t climbed yet. At 280 metres, it’s one of the longest 5.8 bolted routes in Western Canada that can be climbed in eight pitches. First climbed in 2008 by longtime Kootenay climbers Shaun King, Dave Lussier and Carl Trescher, the granite route has seen a lot of attention over the years, but not as much as it deserves.

Located close to the town of Castlegar, it offers steep sections, mellow pitches and short 5.8 cruxes. The rock quality is considered average by local standards and improves the higher you climb. It’s cleaned up considerably over the years and should be on your tick list if you’re looking for a fun climb in southern interior B.C.

There’s a good walk-off, but it takes about 90 minutes. You can rappel with two 60-metre ropes, but it’s not recommended due to the traversing nature of the climb and the loose rock on the ledges. Route description below.

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Megawatts 5.8 280m

Gear: One 60-metre rope for walk-off or two 60-metre ropes for rappel, 12 quickdraws (four extendable), helmet.

Approach: Park here, walk up the dirt trail below the wall and find faint trail to scree, up to base. Full topo here.

Megawatts 5.8 280m

Pitch one: Up the prow a steeper section with thin hands and big feet. Up the bulge on the right to anchor (5.8 40m).

Looking up at pitch one of Megawatts
Alyssa Acchione on pitch one of Megawatts

Pitch two: Continue up the steep wall to easier sections and an anchor in a small granite alcove (5.7 40m).

Alyssa Acchione on pitch two of Megawatts

Pitch three: Head up the nice ridge left of the gully on big holds and cracks (5.4 30m).

Pitch four: Continue up the ridge on nice holds and fun features (5.6 30m). Link pitches three and four.

Alyssa Acchione at the top of pitch four of Megawatts

Pitch five: Stay left of the gully and then cross to the upper wall at 10 metres. A long pitch follows thin holds, smears and good rests. Tricky route finding, but steep and fun (5.8 52m).

Coming up the long pitch five of Megawatts

Pitch six: Right around corner and up the steep wall above to a fun traverse right to another hanging belay (5.8 40m).

Alyssa Acchione on the fun traverse at the end of pitch six on Megawatts

Pitch seven: Up the bomber slab and big features to a small roof with jugs (5.8 30m).

Pitch eight: Continue up the slab to a big tree with an anchor but head up and left past fixed gear to a single-bolt belay (5.5 30m).

Alyssa Acchione on the fun pitch seven after the 5.8 roof

Descent: Up another 50 metres of steep sand and plants to the top of Brilliant Overlook and a trail. Follow the trail north taking all lefts for a few kilometres back to the car. You can take a trail out and right to a dirt road, but you’ll add some time to your descent.

Don’t underestimate long climbs based on grades. Expect loose rock, dirt, run-outs and route finding. Always wear a helmet.

A: approach / B: Megawatts / C: Descent