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.
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).
Pitch two: Continue up the steep wall to easier sections and an anchor in a small granite alcove (5.7 40m).
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.
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).
Pitch six: Right around corner and up the steep wall above to a fun traverse right to another hanging belay (5.8 40m).
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).
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.