After all the fun we'd had at Skaha last year, it was a foregone conclusion that the trips up north would become at least a yearly event. The scenery along the route makes the six hour drive go by quite quickly, and the highlight of each trip is driving by the awesome south face of Yak Peak. This trip we stayed at the newly remodeled hotel that's connected with the great Italian restaurant Mambo's. We were able to get a three bedroom suite overlooking the beach on Lake Okanagan, and the availability of a swimming pool was an added bonus.
We started out on Saturday with too grand of a plan for the parties involved. I was hoping to hike all the way out to Chatsworth Edge, which looked like it had a nice selection of 5.7 and 5.8 crack climbs for me to continue working on my crack technique. With one of the families with younger kids tagging along, it soon became evident that by the time we made it out that far, we'd just need to turn around and head back anyway, so we turned back somewhere around Doctor's Wall, and spent most of the day climbing at Seven Dwarves and Red Tail Wall. We ran into some friends from the Vertical World, as well as some other Boealps members while we were up there - quite the friendly gathering of folks! We ended up climbing just about every line at Seven Dwarfs (do the routes there actually have names? Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, etc.?), and "Mother Superior" (5.7) and "Sport Climbing is Neither" (5.8) on Red Tail Wall. On the way back into town, a contingent stopped at Lord Chumley's to pick up some fish and chips ("Close to authentic" quipped Rob James, a true Brit), while another group headed to the local package store for some alcoholic beverages. A walk to the giant peach on the beach for ice cream afterwards capped off a fine day!
Keeping our plans a bit more appropriate to the group we headed to the Day Care on Sunday morning. When we arrived there, we met Russ Turner, one of the more prolific route setters of Skaha, who clued us in to a wall he had just set some routes on just across the gully from the Day Care. Between the new area with some short but fun 5.8 and 5.9 routes and the top ropes we set on the Day Care wall, everyone, including the kids, was able to get some climbing in. One of the highlights of the day came when a large rattler decided he'd had enough of us and headed for quieter areas, but chose a path directly over our ropes. I was belaying on the crag across the gully when one of the kids came running over, yelling "Matt, Matt - you've got to come quickly! There's a huge rattlesnake over here!" Naturally, I was concerned, but having someone on the sharp end of my rope didn't lend myself to running directly over there, so I asked "Aren't there any other adults around over there?" "Yes," she said. "Well, what are they doing?" I asked. "Taking pictures!" she exclaimed! Ah - so no disaster was in the offing, it was just excitement that put the urgency into her voice! We kept a sharp eye out for our reptilian friend the rest of the day, and had a couple of more sightings. Eventually, though, he found quieter environs, and left us with just the climbing for excitement.
Since that evenings was to be our last for this trip in Penticton, we did the "dinner by shifts" things again. Half the parents headed out for an early dinner while the other half made dinner for the kids and got them fed. When the "early dinner shift" returned, places were swapped and the kids got bathed and put to bed while the second dinner shift got to enjoy a pleasant, child-free dinner. We all chose to go to Mambo's - a fabulous noveau Italian restaurant. The fact that it was only 100 yards from where we were staying (and within sight) probably helped, but the food was the main reason for the choice - if you're in the area, I highly recommend at least one meal there!
The drive home the next day wasn't quite as scenic as the way up. Much of the way we were driving in low clouds, with visibility reduced to just a few hundred yards. Fortunately, Bryden decided to make up for the sleep he'd been missing because of the excitement over the weekend, and he slept most of the way home.
We're already looking forward to our next trip back to Skaha!