Kelowna’s Boulderfields is massive and it offers what may be the best steep bouldering in the country. The rock is a solid, well featured gneiss and there is a lot of variety, but the steep, burly overhangs really stand out.
There are hundreds of established problems, ranging from V easy to V11/12, and the locals are dedicated developers, so new problems are constantly being put up. As such, the guidebook includes only a small fraction of the problems, but good signage makes the area easy to navigate. Should you feel like exploring and putting up your own problems, just hike a little off the beaten path and you’ll find there’s still plenty of untouched rock.
The Boulderfields is on crown land, but on the edge of Myra-Bellevue Provincial Parkre. There are no current access issues, but an increase in traffic means that climbers need to be especially careful to leave no trace. Please leave any stashed cleaning gear where your find it; it is likely being actively used.
The Boulderfields, A Bouldering Guide, by Andy White. The guidebook can be purchased at the local climbing gym (Beyond the Crux) or gear store (True Outdoors). Should you have no luck in either of these locations, try the parking lot. The guy with the tall white dog is likely to have an extra copy in his mini-van!
The central Okanogan tends to be considerably drier than the coast (so if you get rained out in Squamish, Boulderfields is a good destination). The season runs from April, when the road is cleared, until November, or when the first snow falls. Temperatures in the spring and fall are best, but it’s always possible to find enough shade even in the hottest days of summer.
In Kelowna, take Chute Lake Road South. Go straight on Upper Mission Drive (where Chute Lake Road turns abruptly right). Take the first left onto Gillard Forest Service Road and set your odometer here. Drive about 8.6 km to an obvious intersection and turn left. In the summer of 2014 there was a sign for Boulderfields here. Continue down this road, passing a rocky corridor and a burned train trestle . At the 10.3 km mark either turn left down the dirt track to the main parking area or, if you have a low clearance vehicle park at this upper parking lot.
From the main parking lot, follow the double lane track eastwards a few minutes to a steep drop. Well signed trails will lead you to whatever boulder you may wish to find. Approaches to the established areas range from 5 to 20 minutes.
You can camp in the grassy parking area for the Boulderfield. The locals have kindly provided a pit toilet, but there is no water available. Clean up your garbage and don’t make additional fire rings. Be aware that wildlife, including moose, black bears and cougars, is common.
True Outdoors, #100 – 2340 Hwy 97 North, has a reasonable selection of climbing gear, but a pretty limited selection of guidebooks.
The boulderfield is geologically unique. It’s theorized that the boulders resulted from a major collapse of the rock below (think large-scale sink hole). The rock is well-featured gneiss.
Kelowna is a major center and has just about everything you could want. The beaches are lovely and the Kettle Valley Railway is a popular biking trail.
Okanagan Bouldering Blog