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June 2022

Climbing in Cougar Canyon - Kalamalka Provincial Park

Written By: Shannon & Tyson Head (@restlesscrusade)

The sun was shining and the sky was blue on this early spring day. Loaded into the car we took an easy 15 minute drive and arrived at the Cougar Canyon parking lot within Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park in Vernon, BC. The dirt lot has enough room for 20 some odd vehicles, and is often full with biking, hiking and climbing enthusiasts.

Here, we walked the simple but gradual incline one kilometre to a well marked sign post indicating the climbing area to your left and a viewpoint to your right. Here we selected the left option. Tyson and I have been casual climbers for numerous years all over the Okanagan Valley but today was a bit different. We had recently purchased a third harness, this time a full body harness for our twin 3-year-old girls to share.

We already had our thoughts on which route to introduce the girls to their first time on the rock. Upon arrival we noticed a group of climbers with multiple ropes across the rock face. There was a nice little wooden platform that we quickly claimed for our gear and lunch spot. While the girls enjoyed a snack, Tyson looped around with a rope, some slings and a pair of quick draws to set up a top rope at the far end before repelling down to the starting point.

Meanwhile our friends with kids arrived and the girls were easily entertained. It was only around 7℃ but the sun was shining and it felt warm. There was a cool breeze blowing up the canyon and oddly it even started snowing for a short while.

All the older kids had a try at the rock face and the girls were excited yet shy to try it for themselves. Watching the others was a confidence boost for them so we took the opportunity to tie them into the rope. They individually made their way off the forest floor a couple of feet into the air. They wanted us close by as they adjusted to the new sensations.

Once comfortable, one of our girls scuttled and scurried nearly making it all the way to the top. We were a bit nervous she would be scared to come down but she repelled down like a real pro. Our main objective was to let our girls experience this new opportunity and see how far they would push themselves. They climbed enough to keep the smiles on their faces and truly enjoyed dangling by the rope as we lowered them back down to the ground.

By mid afternoon everyone had multiple turns on various routes and were in great spirits. When we tucked the girls into their beds that night they asked when we could go again. Sounds like success to us!