Ship Rock

Crag Description

This is one of the least visited cliffs in Nova Scotia despite its awesome and unique character. The quartzite rock face rises out of the ocean on Ship Rock Island, located a short distance from the mainland. On calm days the paddle over is quite easy but depending on which route you take there can be some exposed sections to be careful of. Best to avoid the place on really windy days.

How to get there

From Musquodoboit Harbour (i.e., at Highway 357 turn-off), continue for 40 km along Highway 7 until you see a sign for Murphy Cove Campground on your right, just before Murphy Cove. Continue for another 0.5km and watch for a dirt road leading to the Government Wharf. Put in here and paddle for about 25 minutes to reach Ship Rock Island. A sheltered cove close to the cliff (on the southwest corner of the island) provides a good landing area.

Note: Permission to climb at this location has not been explicitly granted by the absentee landowner. Seek permission yourself other you will be trespassing at your own risk. All routes established to date have used natural protection only and have not required any brushing or cleaning. Please continue this zero-impact ethic when climbing here.

Routes

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A great route - steep and sustained all the way. Climb up and left along the blocky ramp to the triangularish block that sticks a little way out from the cliff. Cast yourself overboard, up and left again using any available crack systems. Head up towards the overhanging pinnacle, skirting it on the right side to finish. [Note: keelhauling involves being dragged under the keel of a ship (across sharp barnacles) and up the other side - rarely alive but always chewed up.]
Type:Trad
Height:20m
Rating:G
FA by:Andy Birtwistle, Sean Cassidy
FA on:September 6, 1997
Named by the phosphorescent "Hanging Beef" Matthews, this line begins as for Keelhauled, but heads straight up when you reach the block that sticks out like a gangplank. Walk the plank, or fire up the gear-eating crack. Continue straight to the top or finish on Comfortably Numb.
Type:Trad
Height:19m
Rating:G
FA by:Colin Matthews, Sean Cassidy
FA on:September 6, 1997
Excellent climbing that starts up the left-leaning ramp as per the last two routes, but breaks right as soon as possible towards the roof systems. Avoid the roof systems by stepping left to another crack system and heading straight up the steep dihedral to the top. Sustained.
Type:Trad
Height:17m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:July 2, 1996
Climb up the intimidating six metre high detached block. From the block, head straight up the gentle folds of rock whilst dreaming of Bowden Doors (a climbing area in northern England).
Type:Trad
Height:22m
Rating:PG-
FA by:Andy Birtwistle
FA on:September 6, 1997
"Pitch 1 (5.8, 8m) - Squeeze into the dark recesses of the obvious chimney (Home of the Rock Gnome), and swim upwards to the light. Emerge through a slot onto a small ledge above the surging sea. Belay on cams and nuts.
Pitch 2 (5.10+, 15m) - Step right into a crackline and follow it over an awkward bulge. Precarious moves lead up to an even more awkward overhang. Finish straight up a pleasant cracked wall.

[Note: this route crosses ""Dreaming of Bowden Doors"", route#4]"
Type:Trad
Height:23m
Rating:PG-
FA by:Steve Punshon
FA on:September 7, 2003
Due to the ever-present sea at the base of the route, you need to rap down from the "poopdeck" (the ledge with the large boulder and larger guano deposits) on the mainland side of the boulder. Set a hanging belay below the roof, but above the water, and climb straight up the obvious crack back to the "poopdeck."
Type:Trad
Height:13m
Rating:A0
FA by:Sean Cassidy, Colin Matthews
FA on:September 6, 1997
Both this route and the next one are accessed by rapping down the ocean side of the large boulder on the "poopdeck." These routes can only be climbed during relatively low tides when a large flat barnacled ledge avails itself. From the barnacles, superdrift up the obvious corner until forced to make some interesting exit moves back to the "poopdeck."
Type:Trad
Height:14m
Rating:PG
FA by:Adam Hartling
FA on:September 6, 1997
From the barnacled ledge, ascend the ramps and blocks right of Stale Biscuit. Finish in a left-facing dihedral. A fine route in an inspiring setting.
Type:Trad
Height:14m
Rating:PG
FA by:Andy Birtwistle
FA on:September 6, 1997