Eagle Crag is the highest bluff in the Chinese Mountains area at around 60m. The situation up on the south-facing hillside gives spectacular view of the surrounding Strathcona and Mainland Coast Range Mountains and adds to the exposure and atmosphere of the outstanding climbs. There are several faces and sub-crags so it takes some attention to detail to get oriented and locate the routes.
The access path from the Chinese Mountains trail system arrives at the east (right) side of the crag. Branching uphill at this east end is the access path to the top of the crag and routes on Flying Snag Wall and Raven Corner.
Continuing along the lower main path brings you to the base of the Main Wall and then continues west (climber's left) to the West Wing and at the end a path runs up to the top and down a forested draw to the base of Lower Eagle.
Most of the routes are between 40 and 60m long. Some have mid-stations to break the routes into two pitches and where the climbing justifies it the anchors allow for lowering and top roping the lower pitches from the mid-point belays. Of these routes some work well to fire in one pitch. It's easy to tell on lead with directions from the guidebook as to how to best tackle each line.
The rock is superb, solid andesite basalt which varies from steeper, clean, smooth grey texture to slightly off vertical, weathered coarse rock. There are a handful of Trad routes with one or two being exceptional quality. But as with most of the climbs on the Vancouver Island basalt the majority are sport routes with generous bolt protection.
It takes about 40 minutes to hike from the Chinese Mountains trailhead out to the base of Eagle Crag. From the ferry terminal in Quathiaski Cove follow signs for Heriot Bay taking West Road as far as the turn off to the left (north) onto either Hyacinthe Bay Road or the more main Cramer Road (which joins Hyacinthe Bay Road at the north side of the little village. Continue north on Hyacinthe Bay Road winding through pretty forest. Watch for the Walcan Road on the left, pass this and then pass the Salmon Eco-Centre on the right. Just past the Eco-Centre is a small sign on the left for Chinese Mountains. Follow the rough but fine gravel road to the end and park.
From the parking lot be sure to take the lefthand trail marked to Beech's Mountain. Hike along the trail for 5 minutes to a junction. Keep right still following directions for Beech's Mountain. Along the way are signs for the other crags at Chinese Mountains. Pass Evening and Horizon Wall and continue for a total of about 20-25 minutes from he parking lot to a very prominent washed out creek.
IMPORTANT: The Beech's Mountain trail turns sharply up the hill on the washout. Leave the trail here by crossing straight across the gravel seasonal creek bed and finding a rough path on the other side. Follow the obvious flagged tread along an old cat track and then along open mossy ledges. Watch for the first turn off that heads steeply uphill after about 10 minutes from he washout. This path goes up the hill to the routes at Flying Snag Wall.
Keep to the lower path and in another 6-8 minutes arrives at the base of the main wall. Talon (5.11c) is the big obvious clean grey corner below a massive brown prow. This is Eagle Crag.
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