The overall plan: To head out and climb at Banks Lake.
Top rope or lead. Beginners, intermediate, advanced, all are welcome whether you've been outdoors before or not, but being able to swim might be useful (although they provide life vests).
Getting There By Car: 3.5 hours, near Electric City http://goo.gl/maps/Mu5U7
I’ll be heading up in the afternoon to get the driving out of the way and am booked lakeside at Coulee Playland in Electric City. Joining us on a rented spot is $6. Coulee playland has showers (that need 2 x quarters), toilets and there are stores on the site and close by so you can pick up food, booze, wood and such.
Watch for speed traps all the way. Friday nights see a lot of police prowling for speeders, texters, the beltless and people dawdling in the left lane.
In the morning, we’ll be loading up everything on the boats bright and early and heading to a most marvelous beach where we’ll be camping that night. So try to pack with weight in mind so we don’t sink on the way over there :)
Cpt Stephen and I have a Pontoon Boat rented each, so leave a comment if you want to reserve a spot (should be 45-50 bucks a day depending on how much gas we get through). If the spots are all gone or you want to just do a day trip Coulee Playland rents fishing boats that hold 4 and Sunbanks rents boats with a lot more muscle for water skiing. If you have your own craft such as canoe or kayak, there is a launch at Steamboat rock that allows you to get to the destination in about 30 minutes of paddling.
Once we’ve trundled over the lake we’ll revisit Peninsula Rock which is awesome.
Ultima Thule Wall: Located a few minutes from the beach it has 5.8, 5.9, 10d, 11c, a two pitch 5.9 and a new route that has (so far) been judged 11d with some 12a moves.
Novitiate Wall: Also just a quick scramble up from the beach, it has a 5.5, 5.6, 2 x 5.7 and a 5.8. Because of the grades and the easy walk off this location is absolutely ideal to start your lead climb career or work on refining it, or to learn/polish skills like rappelling and anchor building/cleaning. There’s also a low level crack climb that runs right next to a bolt line. So for those who want to play with trad gear for the first time you can do so while also being able to snag bolts at will during the ascent.
Post Modern Wall: Lots for the intermediate climber with a 5.7, 2x5.8, 3x5.9, 10a, 10b, 10c. Great features and some spectacular views, especially from 'Paparazzi' a 5.9. Plus if you’re new to leading, 'Soups On' a 5.8 is a must do. Jugs galore on a long rewarding ascent on excellent rock akin to the quartz monzonite one might find at Joshua Tree.
There's also a bunch of multi pitch further along with a 5.9 (first pitch trad, second pitch bolted) another 5.9 (three pitches - first is mixed, second is bolted, third pitch mixed) and yet another 5.9 (four pitches of trad) a three pitch bolted 10b, and still yet another 5.9 of three pitches of mixed. The second pitch is listed as 'probably the best crack climb at Banks Lake'.
Devils Lake Tower: Holds a two pitch route (first is 10a, second is 5.9) and a three pitch (1st is 10a, 2nd is 5.8, 3rd needs some trad gear and is 5.8, the first two are bolted)
Orange Wall: Solid fare for the multi pitch aficionado with items such as Lesser Evil (5.8, 5.7, 5.7, 5.8, 5.8), Highway 2 (5.6, 5.0, 5.6, 5.8, 5:10-), S.174 (3x5.8) Heart of Stone (5.7, 5.10a, 5.8, 5.8, 5.7) and Muddy Waters (5.7, 5.8, 5:10b, 5.8). The routes are sport, or trad, and some are mixed as in a pitch of trad, a pitch of sport, and so forth.
Food, drink, fire and merriment on the beach. If you fancy heading to the walls for a spot of night climbing then don’t forget the headlamp. Note, the boats are not returning. When we head out Saturday morning, we are not returning until Sunday, there's not shops, no services, and no amenities where we'll be. So pack light, but pack so you can last almost two days.
Continued climbing at Peninsula and boats can head over to the lake side area of Highway Rocks and the other water-access only crags that are just round the corner in this inlet
There are lots of climbs in the 5.7 to 5:10 range, including a few more multi-pitch options in addition to the routes that start at the water. We’ll then scoop everyone up and head back in the afternoon.
For Land Lubbers: There are still tons of climbs accessible by land in the area so come join us for the camping Friday night and explore the land while we hit the high seas. If you are interested in grabbing a guidebook, this is the one that got me pretty stoked to try this place out...
And this one covers a bunch of other water-access only routes.
Stuff to Bring
Essentials: Harness, shoes, water, lunch, sunblock, (swimming outfits and a towel). Helmets are recommended.
Would be handy if you have them: Rope, quickdrawers, ATC/grigri, personal anchor, cams, chalk, anchors, slings and such.
Camping: Tent, food, firewood, sleeping bag, and once again, whatever would be grand to frolic in the water.