The crown jewel of Whitehorse bouldering
and the site of our annual bouldering
festival, the Ibex feels like a lost chunk of
California. The fun in the sun atmosophere
has kept it as the epicenter of Yukon
bouldering for over 30 years. Access is a bit
difficult but the extra effort is well rewarded.
The Ibex is located about 40 minutes off the
main highway on a dirt road. It is the most
extensive and developed bouldering area in
the Yukon. The rock type is granite with
subtle feature. Landings are almost always
flat. Go there and smile.
The Rock Gardens is the closest
bouldering area to downtown Whitehorse.
Although the area is known primarily as a
roped climbing spot, there are a few fun
boulders with good, featured moderate to
hard problems. Within walking distance of
downtown, this area has probably seen
more traffic than any other and is probably
the only area where you are likely to bump
into other climbers on any given evening.
Pump House Pond
The Pump House Pond is located about 15
minutes outside of downtown Whitehorse.
There are a few different well featured
blocks and a variety of problems from low
traverses to scary highballs. This area,
though not big, contains some nice granite
stone and some world class problems.
Perfect for an evening session, it comes
complete witha beautiful little creek in the
gorge, a few roped climbs, and some trails
with sweeping vistas. If you need a solid
pump and only have an hour you will find it
here and leave feeling refreshed.
Alsek bouldering happens on an undulating
terrain of metamorphosed rock so truly
twisted and pressed, it's hard bearing stone
to believe. Low mounds of outcrop at the
foot of the big mountains have been
intensely scoured by past glacier action,
and the bullet hard rock – clean, smoothed,
in a rainbow's array of earthen colour – is
pitched and sheared steep enough in a few
spots to make it great to climb. Ambling
climbs can be taken up on the low-angled
slabs just as well, and there are many ways
to walk over the terrain, to see this stuff set
in stone. The mouth of the valley, the
distant river widening, the cold peaked
breath colliding out across the continent... if
the peculiarities of the rock aren't found
beyond compare, just take a look around.
The domed limestone complex along the
eastern shore of Laberge has yielded one
steeply carved band fit for hard bouldering.
The Runway, as it is called, is named for
the green strip of land which runs sidelong
the rock wall, and looks like a takeoff ramp
coming out the water from afar. The smooth
rock band and grassy strip lie perpendicular
to shore, and roughly line up with the Deep
Creek launch and the northern tip of
Ricktophen Island and the gull's rock.
Landing at the beach with the two round
granite boulders, at the base of the hill,
with the bulging wall looming up there and
running out of sight, you just might follow.
Sometimes sharp, prickly, even frictionless,
staying power can be had on the rock's
small solid flakes, sloping fracture, water
grooves, cutter edges, and holds so
disparate they stay undefined. Take care
when exiting the lower problems on the hill,
as topping out takes long, low-angled and
Kusawa brings cycles and takes time. The
serpentine lake lies wide and long and laps
at shores reaching the boundary of known stone.
Everything visible from the water is far from
being developed, and everything beyond has
only been thought of. Explorers set out in all
sizes of craft, but keep in mind the south wind
can pick up the lake for days and days.
This granite country can be misleading. Towers
and cliffs the most cleanly lined generally cast
the finest boulders, but clean-looking choss does
exist, looking good from far but far from good.
Some solid cliffs have had mass wasting events
in recent past, weathered giants tend to hold the
talus slopes in place, and there are many
qualities of the rocks found kind to climbing in
the woods below. It's sometimes easiest to find
the biggest blocks staying there, from above, up
towards the bases of the cliffs and then back
down with direction.