Sorrow's End

Topography Information

Crag Description

One of the most picturesque places to climb in Nova Scotia, Sorrow’s End rises out of Shellbird Lake amidst the coastal barrens of Terence Bay. The ocean can be seen from the top of the cliff. In the fall, the colours are absolutely incredible.

The area was initially developed by local (and international) climbing ace Nick Sagar, during some wanderings not far from his family cottage. The name of the cliff was taken from one of his favourite books at the time about a mythical place called Sorrow’s End where Dreamberry Wine was consumed and all were undoubtedly merry. After its initial discovery, the merriment continued and there are currently about twenty-five routes established, with a third of them being sport routes. Not surprisingly, the presence of bolts makes it a popular destination for sport climbers (although it is quite a stretch to call it a sport climbing crag).

How to get there

This description is long and detailed, however the trails are easy enough to follow once you get going. Hiking time = 40 to 45 minutes

From the rotary in Halifax, drive 3.7 km on the St. Margaret’s Bay Road and turn left onto Route 333 (Prospect Road) at the lights. Approximately 15 kin after the lights turn left down the Terence Bay Road for 6.5 km to reach Nice View Drive on the right hand side (note the iron gate and stacked boulders). This is a private road – do not drive on it. Instead, park in the parking spaces just before the gate on the left. If the spaces are filled, park out of the way elsewhere or carpool. Do not block any driveways.

Walk 150 m down Nice View Drive and take the first right on a rough narrow road. This road ends after 180 m (as does the power line). Continue on an ATV trail at the end of the road for 125 m and hook up to the start of another rough road. Follow this for 350 m to its end (T-junction). Turn right and go to the end of the road (80 m) where it turns into an ATV trail and enters the woods. You have now reached an excellent bouldering area known as “The Woods.”

Continue on the ATV trail for 60 m and turn left at the first junction. After another 60 m there will be a second junction – take either the left or the right trail. The left trail goes up to a Look-off point and runs along a ridge for about 100 m before bearing right (northeast) to re-enter the woods. The right trail passes a couple of trail junctions – keep left at both of these. After 260 m on either trail (left or right) they meet again and after another 130 m you will be very close to someone’s backyard. Stay on the trail as it veers back into the woods (left) and heads northwest for 300 m until it hits Dadies Lake. (Just before you reach the Lake [-50 m] there will be two trails on the right that head towards the back of a private sand pit. Look across the lake west-northwest to see the topographic high that is the top of the cliff (it faces west) – keep it in mind as the trail ahead can be a bit confusing.

From the lake, follow the trail to the right as it hugs the eastern shoreline. You will come to an old outhouse and a trail that heads northeast (away from the lake) – don’t take this one, it leads to more backyards. Keep heading northwest until you come to a rough bridge crossing a stream (it is sometimes a little boggy just before the bridge).

Stay on the trail after the bridge and it will bear north heading away from the lake. Approximately 60 m from the lake, take the left fork in the trail onto a rock outcropping that leads into a small stand of hardwoods. A few minutes on this trail will take you to the top of a large rock slab and a clear view of the barrens. From here you can see the topographic high straight ahead. Follow trails to reach the top of the cliff.

NOTE: The cliff is located on crown land but all trails leading to the cliff cross private property. At the present time, there is no secured access point to the cliff The description listed above attempts to minimize the impact that climbers have on local landowners (by staying clear of houses and limiting the use of private roads to foot traffic) but may change in the near future . Our continued use of these trails depends on the cooperation of all climbers in respecting the property and privacy of private landowners.

Routes

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Rap off slung boulder as for Excellent Adventure to small shrubbed belay ledge above the lake. Head up and right along ramp with good gear in dihedral seam until gaining ledge and comfortable stance. Collect yourself and head straight up to higher, thinner seam with small insecure gear placements. Keep it together for a few moves and top out 30cm left of Excellent Adventure. Awesome line.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Anchor Type:Gear
Rating:PG
Developer:Mick Levin, Sarah Gutowsky
For the tragically hip, swing back and forth up the short arete at the left end of the main cliff. At about two-thirds height, a horizontal crack will take a 2.5 friend but this isn't essential.
Type:Sport
Height:12m
Rating:G
FA by:Jonathan Graham
FA on:June 30, 2002
Climb the steep crack near the left end of the main wall (starting next to a large boulder). A chockstone halfway up the crack moves a little, but seems to be solid. (Tango Variation - 5.10c G FFA: Andy Birtwistle, Sean Cassidy, Fall 1997): Start as for Hummingbird Boogie but break left along the left-rising handrail to rejoin the original line of Doin' the Rustle.
Type:Trad
Height:14m
Rating:G
FA by:Steve Brewis
FA on:Spring 1996
A challenging sport route that starts in a hole down by the water and consists of three bouldery cruxes with the hardest one at the bottom (stick clip the first bolt). It is also possible to avoid the first crux by climbing in from the right above the first bolt which makes an enjoyable climb in itself (~5.12b). Unrepeated.
Type:Sport
Height:14m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:November 22, 1999
Climb the obvious crack (5.9) just right of the start of Chameleon and behind a mammoth boulder. Climb the crack up to a right-facing corner and rest at the top of it. Swing right onto the steep headwall and pass two bolts to reach the anchor. (Whingeing Pom Variation - 5.9 G; FFA: Andy Birtwistle, Sandie Baldauf, April 1998): A more consistent climb that avoids the steep headwall by escaping right along the gravelly ledge to finish on Rustle Never Sleeps.
Type:Mixed
Height:14m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:October 1996
An unfinished project (bolted) that climbs the face right of Hummingbird Boogie to a short roof. Pull the roof and head up and left to the final steep headwall and anchor.
Type:Sport
Height:12m
Rating:G
Start just left of See With Joy on the diamond-shaped boulder. Head up and slightly left towards a small ledge with a medium-sized boulder. Mantle onto the ledge and make a tricky move off the boulder onto the exit slab. Belay off two bolts at the top of the slab. Neil Young would enjoy the line. The original ascent of this line was done in a ground up style (cleaned on lead). Unfortunately, as a result of over-zealous bolting on neighbouring routes, this line now has two bolts where before there were none. But if the new bolts are what lure you up, the crux will come as a surprise.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:PG
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:June 1996
Start as for Rustle Never Sleeps up to the horizontal break. Step up onto the steep wall and follow a right-arching overlap. A dynamic move at the top of the overlap takes you to the clipping jug by the chain anchors. A small cam is useful in the arch but not necessary.
Type:Sport
Height:10m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Therien
FA on:September 13, 2000
Start on top of the diamond-shaped boulder and follow easy horizontal breaks up to a left-facing corner. Continue up the crack and skirt the large roof by traversing right for three metres and then up again. One of the best routes in Nova Scotia! Avoid the tempation to stop at the anchors for Big Foot Motel - the upper moves are just too enjoyable to miss.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:G
FA by:Nick Sagar
FA on:Summer 1994
An excellent sport climb up the steep thin face in the centre of the crag. Start below the left side of the face at a wide left-angling crack. Climb up and right and follow the line of bolts. Steep and technical. Has only seen a couple of repeats to date.
Type:Sport
Height:15m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Therien
FA on:October 29, 1999
A long-standing open project up the arete just left of Recognition---freed by Dustin Curtis, on a visit from Ontario.
Type:Sport
Height:15m
Rating:PG
FA by:Dustin Curtis
FA on:August 2004
The obvious right-facing corner with wide crack. Great climbing on good pro. Get the recognition YOU deserve and fax all the magazines after sending this rad line!!
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:G
FA by:Nick Sagar
FA on:Summer 1994
A delicate face climb on the wall between the two major crack climbs. Very popular.
Type:Sport
Height:15m
Rating:G
FA by:Dave Edgell
FA on:October 1996
Similar to All The Rage but slightly harder. Start three metres left of the wide crack (Dreamberry Wine).
Type:Sport
Height:15m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Therien
FA on:August 18, 2000
A great pitch. The first four metres of laybacking are a bit unnerving unless you have some large camming units. From the triangular slot at the top, finish either left or right of the large block.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:PG
FA by:Heather Reynolds
FA on:Summer 1994
A question of balance. Start on small crystals three metres right of Dreamberry Wine on a rectangular boulder. Climb up along a short flake to reach a small overlap and thin crack. At the top of the crack, stand up without hesitation to a horizontal break. Step left to finish on Dreamberry Wine, or continue straight up from break to break.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:PG
FA by:Steve Brewis
FA on:Spring 1996
Start up Double Rope Disaster, aid the left arching seam on tied off pins and wires and connect to Hesitation Breeds Chaos. Work up Hesitation on small wires and free climb left up the Dreamberry Wine exit. Clean aid only please - this line crosses a few free routes that have delicate features.
Type:Aid
Height:18m
FA by:Nate Smith
FA on:November 25, 2007
Climb the right-curving undercling flake until you can reach the left-angling ramp. Traverse back right at the first opportunity for about five metres and then head straight up on small holds to the top. Variation: Avoid rope disaster by taking two ropes OR finishing out left along the ramp (easier but not recommended since the original finish is so much fun).
Type:Trad
Height:14m
Rating:PG
FA by:Sean Willett
FA on:Summer 1994
Despite the lycra reference, this is hardly a sport route (even for aging sport climbers who still wear lycra). Put on your Prana toque and crank up the delicate face past two bolts. Join the original finish to Double Rope Disaster.
Type:Mixed
Height:13m
Rating:G
FA by:Dave Edgell
FA on:October 1996
Welcome to the Chicken Coop. An enjoyable face climb that weaves right then back left to finish on big holds. Anchor bolts are hard to see, but are set back from the cliff about five metres.
Type:Mixed
Height:13m
Rating:PG
FA by:Bob Scheibling
FA on:October 1996
Climb up through horizontals to ledge, then pull technical moves on side pulls up the overhanging face to jugs. RIP Mohammed Ali!
Type:Sport
Anchor Type:Rings
FA by:Mick Levin
FA on:4/6/2016
Follow four bolts up to sequencey face on edges to rings. Between Float Like A Butterfly and Radio Flyer
Type:Sport
Anchor Type:Rings
Anchor Accessibility:Walking
Rating:G
Developer:Mick Levin
FA by:Mick Levin and Nathan Benjamin
FA on:September 22, 2016
Begins 4 m left of "Sorrows End 5.8". Step over the void and pull onto horizontal seams, clip on jugs and navigate easier territory to second bolt, then pulla delicate sequence on positive crimps and huck the mo to the lip. Stick clip first bolt if you're scared.
Type:Sport
Anchor Type:Bolts
FA by:Mick Levin, Shawn Smith
FA on:27/07/14
Start at the far right end of the cliff, in a horizontal crack at the back of a two metre roof, fairly close to the ground. Traverse left along the crack until you can climb straight up the left-facing corner to the top.
Type:Trad
Height:9m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:June 1996
Short sport route up arete between Sorrows End and Vertigo (see photo).
Type:Sport
Height:7m
Rating:G
FA by:Jeremy How
FA on:Fall 2007
A discontinuous line that starts up easy terrain on the left side of a triangle-like feature to reach a bushy ledge (5.6). From the ledge, short steep moves take you to the top.
Type:Trad
Height:9m
Rating:PG-
FA on:1999
On the trail down from the top you'll notice a line of bolts on a short but extremely steep piece of rock. To date this has not been climbed and has been dubbed Rock Pollution by the cynics.
Type:Sport
Height:6m
Rating:PG
Start at the base of the wall just right of a wide crack. Follow the crack up and when it starts to get hard (angling right) high tail it to easier ground on the left. Houdini would probably have gone right.
Type:Mixed
Height:10m
Rating:G
FA by:Todd Foster
FA on:Summer 2000
Start as for The Escapist, but continue along the right-leaning crack at the top to finish.
Type:Mixed
Height:10m
Rating:G
FA by:Jeff Lockyer
FA on:September 23, 2000
A tremendous face climb up the centre of the blank face. Very delicate climbing on small crystals.
Type:Sport
Height:10m
Rating:G
FA by:Becky Craig
FA on:September 28, 2000
Climbs the left-facing flake and seam on the right side of the face.
Type:Trad
Height:10m
Rating:PG
FA by:Todd Foster
FA on:Summer 2000
Look for a two metre north-facing step on the top of the cliff. Rappel down the face from here to a ledge just above the water. Climb back up via obvious cracks and dihedrals.
Type:Trad
Height:12m
Rating:G
FA by:Dave Edgell
FA on:May 1996