Franey Mountain is a popular hiking destination and rises high above the Clyburn River Valley. Solid granite cliffs sit at the upper tier of the “mountain” and are modest in height (25-30m) but reasonably extensive and would off a full weekend of climbing and exploring. Four climbs are recorded here to date and much potential exists. One of the most interesting features on the cliff is a detached pillar (known as The Splinter) which from the valley floor looks enormous. Unfortunately it is less impressive after you slog your way up the scree slopes of Franey to find a pillar standing only ten metres high, but nonetheless, it offers some great exposures and vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and the Highland Plateau.
How to get there
Option 1: Across from the beach at Ingonish Centre turn off of the Cabot Trail (watch for Franey signs) and follow the road (changes from paved to dirt) for 2 km to reach a small parking area in front of a gated fire road. Follow the road and/or hiking trail (there’s a loop) to where the first tower once stood (~3.5km). From the fire tower platform, traverse west along the top of the ridge for about 300m to reach the top of climbs near The Splinter.
Option 2: This option is generally preferred since you can easily see the climbing areas as you approach from the valley floor. Approximately 300m south along the highway from the turn-off to Franey is a signed parking area for Clyburn Brook (right next to the golf course). Park here. Walk along the road and then riverside trail for 3 or 4 km until you see the cliffs. At this point slog up the steep scree slopes.