Railway Crag

Topography Information

Crag Description

Railway Crag (or Skull Rock as the Musquodoboit Trailways Association calls it) is located on the edge of the White Lake Wilderness Area, just a few kilometers away from Musquodoboit Harbour. The cliff is rarely visited because only a handful of routes have been developed and the rock appears a little dirty. However, the rock is solid with plenty of features and has a respectable height of 30m in places. It is also one of the most easily accessible cliffs on the Eastern Shore.

At the top of the crag, the Trailways Association has built a guardrail to keep visitors from hurling themselves off. Unfortunately it doesn’t prevent them from hurling garbage, rocks, and other things off, so wear a helmet.

The Railway Crag is worthy place to visit if you only have a short climbing day. And if you do go there with more time, I’d strongly recommend hiking the 10km Admiral Lake loop trail (built by the Trailways Association). It’s a great hike and at the back end of the loop there’s a nice view across Admiral Lake where you can see an impressive looking cliff (dubbed by climbers as the “Promised Land”) in the distance. This unclimbed cliff has had at least half a dozen visits by climbers (mostly during the winter when lakes are frozen) but no known ascents to date. Although it sure looks good from a distance it is unfortunately a little less impressive when you’re at its base.

UPDATE

The railing at the top of the crag is unsafe for use as an anchor. There are no anchor bolts at the top of defibrillator, ozymandaeus, Follow…the white rabbit. Please have the necessary gear and knowledge to build a trad anchor at the top of any route that finishes at or under the railing.

How to get there

From Highway 7 in Musquodoboit Harbour, drive 1.5km along Highway 357. Turn right onto Bayers Mill Road on a one-lane bridge that crosses the Musquodoboit River. Park at the end of the road and walk across the rail trail. Continue along an old overgrown road. (Note: when you crossed the rail trail, if you look left, directly down the trail, you will see the Railway Crag rising above in the distance – you can, in fact, hike in that way to the crag but its harder to describe and you’d likely miss it). After ten of fifteen minutes on the road, a stream will cross the road and create a large pool on the road (depending on the time of year, this might be the second pool/stream you come to). The major landmark is an old rusted and flat car on the left side of the road at the edge of the stream. From here, follow a faint trail heading perpendicular to the road on your right-hand side for about 20 metres to reach a well-travelled trail (this is a part of the Admiral Lake loop trail). (Note: by this point you should be able to catch glimpses of the cliff through the trees) Walk left on the main trail for a few metres to a faint overgrown trail that leads uphill to the right side of the base of the cliff.

Routes

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The railing at the top of the crag is unsafe for use as an anchor. There are no anchor bolts at the top. Please have the necessary gear and knowledge to build a trad anchor at the top of any route that finishes at or under the railing.
Type:Sport
Anchor Type:Guard Rail
FA by:Todd Foster/Alec Manley
FA on:Fall 2013
The route left of Terminus. climb up to the small ledge and up around or through the right side of the overhang. Avoid going left at the small ledge due to some loose blocks.
Type:Sport
Anchor Type:Rings
FA by:Todd Foster/Shawn Smith
FA on:5/1/2015
Climbs the short steep overhang left of Defibrillator. Start up through the dihedral and move left following the good holds to the rings. Awkward first moves.
Type:Sport
Anchor Type:Rings
FA by:Shawn Smith/Todd Foster
FA on:5/1/2015
Ghostwriter: is a writer who's work is officially credited to another person. Located on a long slab capped with a small dihedral and roof on the far right side of Lower Railway Crag.
Type:Sport
Anchor Type:Rings
FA by:Todd Foster
FA on:5/13/2015
Stared at by many over the years...the white streak at the Railway Crag has long been one of the seemingly last great lines...but early explorations deemed it unclimbable. This line starts to the right of Oyzymandaeus (which with a LOT of cleaning could be returned to its former glory....) Climb out a roof and then work up the face to a ledge(one could belay here and split the route into 2 pitches to avoid rope drag or just use a realllllyyyy long runner on the bolt.) Bust right off the ledge and climb the gorgeous streak of perfect granite. Top out at the safety railing.

Bolted in winter of 2015....injury and illness prevented me fro getting on till Sept 2015..thanks to all who waited to give me first crack at it and props to Shawn Smith and Jack Bennet for the send!

The railing at the top of the crag is unsafe for use as an anchor. There are no anchor bolts at the top. Please have the necessary gear and knowledge to build a trad anchor at the top of any route that finishes at or under the railing.
Type:Sport
Anchor Type:Natural
FA by:Sean Therien
FA on:08/29?/2015
Farthest left route on the left most slab section of railway. Looks blank but once you find the holds it goes. Blatant theft of a line Todd cleaned and toiled on by climbing wizard Gareth Ryan
Type:Sport
Anchor Type:Rings
FA by:Gareth Ryan/Shawn Smith
FA on:Fall 2015
Originally scrubbed and deemed impossible by Sean T, bolted by Mick, snaked by Shawn
Type:Sport
Anchor Type:Rings
FA by:Shawn Smith/Gareth Ryan
FA on:9/4/2016
To reach this climb go to the far left side of the cliff - past where it becomes discontinuous, until you reach a steep wall. Squeeze your way up the obvious chimney. Quite fun and surprisingly easy.
Type:Trad
Height:10m
Rating:PG-
FA by:Rich LaPaix (solo)
FA on:May 2008
La Paix. Climb the face just left of De-Railed, passing 4 bolts and finishing at a tree belay. Dave proposed the name in honour of the route's co-developer.
Type:Sport
Height:6m
Rating:G
FA by:Dave Peabody
FA on:June 2009
Walk for a few minutes left along the base of the main crag to a shorter cliff-band with a clean and enticing right-facing corner crack. Climb the enjoyable corner, stepping left to finish. Good gear and consistent difficulty.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:G
FA by:Steve Punshon
FA on:May 5, 2002
Climb De-Railed to halfway height then traverse horizontally right for 4 m with increasing difficulty and sketchy gear to reach a groove. Climb this past an awkward move to the top. Great fun. Double ropes an advantage.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:PG-
FA by:Steve Punshon
FA on:Spring 2003
About halfway between the De-Railed buttress and the main crag is a short clean face behind a pruned birch with flagging tape. Start on the left side of the face and climb diagonally right on good edges to reach a slabby arete. Step up onto the arete (crux) and climb it to an in-situ sling. Rap off this or continue scrambling up to tree belays. A fine but rather intimidating micro-route!
Type:Trad
Height:8m
Rating:R
FA by:Steve Punshon
FA on:Spring 2003
Another grovelling chimney from the skinny Santa ho ho ho!!!!
Height:25m
FA by:Chris Hayes
FA on:November 7, 2002
Climb the obvious corner just left of the overhanging wall on the main crag. Follow corners, cracks and gullies to the top. A little dirty, but otherwise this is a nice long line.

The railing at the top of the crag is unsafe for use as an anchor. There are no anchor bolts at the top. Please have the necessary gear and knowledge to build a trad anchor at the top of any route that finishes at or under the railing.
Type:Trad
Height:30m
Rating:PG
Traverse over to the left side of the sloping ledge (ideally, set up an exposed yet comfortable belay in the cracks here) and climb a right-facing corner. At the top of the corner follow an undercling and slab out right to join another dihedral heading to the top. Fun climbing.
Type:Trad
Height:20m
Rating:G
Previously known as The Prow (#5 in NSR). This route remained unclimbed for ten years. Follow cracks and shallow dihedrals up the center of the wall. Desperate.
Type:Trad
Height:20m
Rating:R
FA by:Steve Punshon
FA on:July 1, 2003
A steep crack capped by a short roof sits just right of the clump of trees on the sloping ledge. Dubbed "The Sickle" in the last guidebook, this project has been attempted but never climbed successfully. Apparently the gear is good. Difficulty is estimated to be 5.12ish.
Type:Trad
Height:20m
"From the belay ledge go to the right of the steep roof project and up the corner ramp. When you
reach the huge flake head left up the crack in the slab to the look-out at the top. [A direct start was added by the two Chris' on Nov. 7, 2002: Climb the steep face at the right end of the cliff from the ground on big holds (5.7)."
Type:Trad
Height:20m
Rating:PG
FA by:Chris Eager
FA on:October 4, 2002