Photo credit: Kris MacLellan
Eagle’s Nest – the archetypical “urban crag”. Also a great place to throw beer bottles. In reality it’s not that bad, but it is the kind of cliff that you commonly find near urban centres: heavy erosion, so-so routes, and a party spot for teh local yahoos. Despite its detractions, this crag has a few surprisingly high quality lines on it and was on of the earliest sites in Nova Scotia used by rock climbers. This is a very popular spot with climbers from Halifax who don’t own a car (it’s on the bus route). Also, the large collection of easier lines and an abundance of tress make this an excellent place for beginners (although there are definitely a few challenging lines for more advanced climbers).
The climbing at Eagle’s Nest is located within Admiral’s Cove Park, which is managed by the Halifax Regional Municipality. The main cliff has about 15 routes on it and there are 14 additional routes on two smaller cliff faces (The Schoolroom and The Back Slabs), located not far from the main cliff.
How to get there
From Halifax, take the Bedford Highway into Bedford and turn right (go under the railroad tracks) onto Shore Drive. From Dartmouth, take Highway 7 north and then the Bedford exit (get in the left lane) onto Dartmouth Road. Take the first left onto Eaglewood Drive.
Turn off of Eaglewood Drive onto Snowy Owl Drive and look for a short dead-end street off of Snowy Drive (there is an Admiral’s Cove Park sign and trail at the end of it). Park here and follow the overly marked trail for five minutes or so until you can see a beautiful view of the Bedford Basin. Many variations to the trail take you down a few levels to reach the top of the climbing cliff (the cliff faces south).
The Back Slabs can be reached from the left end of the Main Cliff near the top of the Nursery Slabs. Look for a narrow trail leading north and follow trails and your nose for about five minutes.
Not far from the end of Shore Drive, park on the east side of the road by the Admiral’s Cove Park sign and follow the trail for about 15 minutes.
The low-angle slab littered with cracks located at the left end of the cliff is very popular with first time climbers. It can be climbed numerous ways. Trees are available at the top for anchors.
Climb the steep left wall of the dihedral to a ledge. Then follow the left edge of the face past two bolts. The name was apparently inspired by some equipment that Nick Sagar took to his high school grad.
The cave-like overhang in the middle of the steep wall. Exit the cave on the left and scramble up the crack to finish. The route is fairly slick and gear is difficult to place on this one.
A somewhat contrived line to the right of the overhang which traditionally stays in the finger crack to the left of the blocky holds. The route is easier if the holds to the right are used. The route is often dirty because of erosion run-off from the top. In the late 90's a climber (later known as "Flyin' Brian") attempted to ascend the route without using the bolts and suffered a six metre fall which resulted in two broken ankles. In a first-hand report of the descent: "I would've fallen farther but the ground stopped me."
Climb up a series of flakes and blocks on the right side of the overhanging face. The gear is bad on this one unless you use the bolts on No Man's Land. Watch for loose rock. [Note: I haven't climbed this one, but there's a good chance it's harder than 5.9.]
Directly above a narrow ledge, a large "guillotine-like" block hangs over the top of the wall. Climb past three bolts towards the block and carefully traverse under the roof to the right. The block seems to be solid, in spite of its appearance, but you can never be too sure!
Climb the white slabby face left of Sea Gully past three bolts and a couple of bulges. Nice climb.
Climb the obvious corner over a small block to a ledge and then up a final dihedral to the top. Finishes at a tree.