The Skapper

Crag Description

An unusual cliff for the South Shore, the Skapper is well hidden in the woods and doesn’t rise above a body of water like most other cliffs in the region. Definitely a good find by explorer Sean Drohan, who named the cliff after a close friend’s dead dog. At its highest point, the granite cliff rises about 20 metres above the moss covered forest floor and consists predominantly of one continuous face (as opposed to the corners and tiers of Columbus Wall for example). At the north end of the main cliff is a smaller outcropping with a number of routes on it. These make good warm-ups for the main wall and are unfortunately the only routes that catch much sun in the afternoon. In general, routes at the Skapper are harder than they look – deceptively steep in fact (you’ll understand after you’ve climbed a few “easy-looking” lines!)

Considering its proximity to Halifax and the number of steep obvious lines, it is destined to become a popular mid- to late-summer climbing destination. Unfortunately, in the off-seasons (spring and late fall) this crap is largely dripping. Very buggy in spring.

How to get there

Drive southwest from Halifax on Highway 103 and take Exit 5 at Tantallon. Drive south over the highway to reach Route 3. Turn right and follow Route 3 through one set of lights and then about ten minutes further to reach the community of Boutiliers Point. Turn right on Island View Drive or Christies Road and follow it to a community playground and ball diamond. Park here. At the back of the ball diamond is a well-used ATV trail (driveable with 4x4s). There are a couple of minor side roads along the way, but the most-travelled track is the way to go (a split in the main road after about 10-12 minutes quickly rejoins itself). After about 15 minutes from the ball diamond, you’ll come to a confusing fork in the road which splits and splits again. Take the middle of the three options. (the right rack goes down hill slightly into the mud and then bends right; the left-most option is a tighter track leading into dense woods; and the centre option is the driest and most travelled.) The road soon crests a small hill and travels along a narrow ridge as you approach a stream. Just before you reach the stream there is a fork. Take the right one and 50m later you will come to a rickety old bridge (about 20 minutes from the ball diamond at this point). Cross the bridge and immediately turn right to follow a faint trail that switches back and forth across the stream as it climbs the hillside. After about 10 minutes the trail moves away from the stream (on the north side of it) and the cliff materializes unexpectedly out of the trees.

Routes

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An unusually featured little wall at the far left end of the cliff. Initially cleaned and top-roped by Andrea Makkay during a Climb Nova Scotia route development day in the fall of 2001. Often bouldered as a warm up.
Type:Trad
Height:5m
Rating:R
FA on:2001
Just to the left of Gobbles is an aesthetic inside-corner scrubbed for three hours by Nicole Brooks, who subsequently named the route Dirt Bag for a variety of reasons.
Type:Trad
Height:5m
Rating:PG
FA by:Teth Cleveland (solo)
FA on:October 28, 2001
A beautiful (albeit short) finger to hand sized crack in between the corner and the arete.
Type:Trad
Height:5m
Rating:G
FA by:Kevin Brooks
FA on:October 28, 2001
Pronounced "show-din-froy-dah," which is apparently a German expression that means "to laugh at other people's misfortunes." Very charming. Sounds like some serious sandbag potential here. Start at lowest possible point and climb up to a ledge. Layback right to gain the blocky upper face.
Type:Sport
Height:7m
Rating:G
FA by:Todd Foster
FA on:November 18, 2001
A short two bolt sport route three metres right of the arete. Looks like some gear options in the first horizontal crack if needed (the first bolt is at about four metres). Steep flaky wall (check your holds).
Type:Sport
Height:7m
Rating:PG
FA by:Sean Therien
FA on:November 18, 2001
Starts at the offwidth crack about three metres right of Reach for the Skylar and leads up to a pod/roof. Take the jam crack on the right up to the top. The top-out is a little dirty.
Type:Trad
Height:5m
Rating:G
FA by:Scott Guenther, Sean Kelly, Adam Pearce
FA on:August 2, 2002
A short crack five metres right of Mommy's Boy beginning with a horizontal break at about 1.5 metres.
Type:Trad
Height:5m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Kelly
FA on:August 17, 2002
A widish crack at the left end of the main wall. Easy going for the first half and then a surprisingly tricky middle section. Nice climbing.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:PG
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:September 22, 2002
The second crack in from the left on the main wall. This unexposed route starts with a short bouldery section (crux) and then settles down to a comfortable 5.8 for the duration. A little slimy, but fun once you get going.
Type:Trad
Height:16m
Rating:PG
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:September 22, 2002
The crackline a few feet right of Johnny G. Crux is about halfway up.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:PG
FA by:Steve Punshon
FA on:August 2003
Climb the finger/thin hand crack midway between "Careful with that Axe" and "Dead Dog Doo" to a small ledge at 20 ft., move up and right past a horn shaped jug and then a pleasant wall to top. Good protection and surprisingly good climbing. Top-roped in 2003 by Alan Wilson.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:G
FA by:Steve Punshon
FA on:October 11, 2008
Moderate crack line left of Surfer Dude.
Type:Trad
Height:16m
Rating:G
FA by:Steve Punshon
FA on:July 21, 2003
A popular route which climbs a blobby-looking crack close to the centre of the cliff. Much harder than it looks. [Note: a critical flake halfway up the route sounds a little hollow but seems solid. Use caution.]
Type:Trad
Height:16m
Rating:PG
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:July 2001
The original line (5.9) started as for Surfer Dude and then cut right to gain a left-facing corner and flake system. A direct start was completed the following year and makes a more complete route [FA: Steve Punshon, Sean Cassidy, September 22, 2002]. Not a bad line.
Type:Trad
Height:16m
Rating:PG
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:October 28, 2001
Fantastic route right of Mr. Cruller. Walk to the top of the ramp and start climbing up a dihedral to a short roof. At the roof move left into an obvious hand and finger crack that leads up the buttress to finish at a tree at the edge of the cliff.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:August 1, 2003
Start as for "Tree-Hugger" but step right and climb the inside corner up to a wider crack and final slab. Graded for wet conditions which are the norm.
Type:Trad
Height:15m
Rating:PG
FA by:Steve Punshon
FA on:September 13, 2003
The prominent left-leaning hand crack that climbs the highest part of the wall. Follow the crack until forced to make some face moves on small but positive holds. Move up and left to gain the right-angling rib. Finish straight up. Unfortunately this line is often wet.
Type:Trad
Height:17m
Rating:A0
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:July 2001
An excellent line that starts three metres right of Shadows and Dust, and then follows horizontals up to a bolt on the relatively blank face. Move up and right from the bolt (crux) and follow obvious weaknesses to the top. Belay at a two-bolt anchor or in the trees above. Pumpy.
Type:Mixed
Height:16m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Therien
FA on:October 28, 2001
The wide chimney crack left of The Crapper.
Type:Trad
Height:16m
Rating:G
FA by:Steve Punshon
FA on:July 21, 2003
Climb the short hand crack near the right end of the crag that leads to a narrow ledge. From the ledge, step left and ascend the dihedral to the top. This was the first route established at the cliff and was named after dead dogs everywhere. Although the name doesn't reflect it, this is actually a good line.
Type:Trad
Height:14m
Rating:G
FA by:Sean Cassidy
FA on:June 4, 2000