Onion River is located just over the border from Rossland and boasts a number of excellent granite crack climbs. In fact, it’s one of the only nearby areas where you can practice your finger, hand and fist jams and is highly worth the trip. It was developed by Rossland resident Keith Robine and a few of his friends. To get there, take Hwy 22 through Rossland to the Frontier/Paterson border crossing. (Remember to bring your passport.) Follow Hwy 25 south for 24km (you’ll drive through Northport) and then turn left onto Clugston Creek-Onion Creek Road. Follow this for 16.4km to a high point where you’ll notice a large, light-coloured rock on the right side of the road. (See photo below.)
Park just past here, off the pavement. Across the road (east) you’ll see a faint path leading up a small embankment which takes you to the base of Middle Wall. Approach is 100m. It’s possible to walk to the top of all these walls (with care) so you can top-rope. There are four walls here including an Upper Wall with a 5.12 line on it called “Better Than Sex.” (It has yet to go free. To access that climb, hike to the top of Middle Wall, veer northeast and bushwalk until you come to a long, short face with a prominent horizontal crack. The route starts on the left and follows this crack to the right above the route. Approach is only 7 minutes from the base of Middle Wall (if you don’t get lost). All other walls are shown below in the topos.
For written descriptions of these and other routes, download the West Kootenay Rock Guide updates.