Nicolum Knob is a one hundred eighty meter granite buttress just east of Hope near the Coquihalla River and highway. Climbers have been coming here since the late 1990's although not much was established until 2004 when a small group of locals began cleaning and developing routes. The climbing is characterized by steeper sections separated by ledges making for comfortable multi-pitch climbing and rappels. The climbing is a combination of crack and face climbing on smooth granite with a mixture of traditional, mixed, and sport. There are set rappel stations at the top of every pitch making for an easy descent off all routes. Because of the size of the formation it is not very top-rope friendly although it is possible to access the top of the climbs from a trail that weaves up through a gulley on the west side before reaching the top from the back (north) side of the formation. This trail is still used by hikers and for climbers who wish to rappel into the climbs. The climbs are divided into eastern and western areas with all of the routes being accessed by a trail from the Coquihalla Highway. From the highway start up the trail where a hubcap has been nailed to a tree. To access the eastern climbs take the first right in the trail and head up to Dead Soles, First Blood, and Kyle Hudie Route on the clean slab at the right edge of the formation. To access the western climbs continue higher up the trail until the trail begins up a steep gully. Kemosabe and Two Bolt or Not To Bee are the first climbs to appear along the right side of the gulley and are just barely visible from the trail (look for the left facing dihedral at the base of Two Bolt...). Continue higher up the gully to reach the approach rappel to Sakura on the left hand side and still further to reach Lust and Greed which are easily visible on the right side of the gully from the trail. Because of the southerly exposure of the face the crag is quick to dry out and the routes generally tend to stay relatively clean with regular traffic. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in recent years, mostly because of a lack of route information. There are some nice climbs here and there are plenty more to be discovered by those willing to put in the work.
The safest way, and the way that is encouraged to avoid difficulties with the authorities is to park five minutes away from the cliff on the shoulder of the on-ramp to highway five (the Coquihalla Highway). This is the on-ramp you would take to head north on highway five towards Merritt if you were coming from Manning Park on the Hope-Princeton highway (highway three). To get there from the lower mainland or the Fraser Valley head east on highway one (Trans-Canada) past Hope until it is possible to exit onto highway 3 (just a few minutes beyond Hope). Almost immediately, look for the Nicolum Creek campsite to the left. Once in front of the campsite turn back towards Hope (once again on highway three) looking for an exit for highway five to driver's right. Park anywhere along the shoulder of this descending on-ramp so you can cross Nicolum Creek on foot, walking along the side of the highway. Just after the highway crosses the creek look for some small hubcaps marking the beginning of the trail to the bluff. The hubcaps are nailed to a small tree just to the right of the highway ditch and the end of the highway barriers.
As you hike up the approach trail to the crag you pass several boulders. On the west face of the highest boulder, this obvious splitter cack is quite compelling. Start on the left at a subsidiary seam and reach across into the main crack to get established. Jam and lieback the slightly overhanging crack to an exit on the right at the top. The landing below the route has a partly-buried rock and can be serious if falling off without a pad.There are several other cleaned boulder problems in the vi...[more]Browse More Classics in International