FAs- G.Cornell and G.Castillo, March 2014 and June 2015
Very easy to miss, very easy to never bother to spot from the road it is one place you may be able to climb on in winter during a warming trend. This small cliff faces SE right into the sun and the top is flat; however its’ short stature it has warm winter temps going for it along with being an okay beginner’s only practice rock, which may make for a good place to mix climb also- try it in rock shoes, then try it crampons maybe!? Watch for loose rock and holds that may snap, the gear is good where you get it and has some cute, fun moves.
Curio Crag is located about 3.7kms west from the Sibbald-Powderface junction(or 9.9kms from Hwy#40). Park off the road where you find it most safe and convenient but you should start hiking from the west side of the forested hill where a tiny waterfall can be seen close to the road. The other alternative is to park by the decorative road blocks for the 70 Buck Valley/old road, then walking back east along Sibbald to the tiny waterfall. Curio Crag is kinda visible as a brown small blob atop this forested hill coming from the east.
The recommended approach is described here: where Hwy #68 begins to bend at this hills’ SW corner, walk into a flat area over to a narrow creek trailing down from a tiny slab waterfall sometimes visible no more than 75m from the road. Hike up right of the slab waterfall into the woods and up steep grass slopes meandering through trees, constantly heading out south and east as you walk up(flagging) and eventually coming into a open meadow hillside. Once you see rock just go to it and follow along somewhat. The hike in itself (20 minutes)is rather pretty and the view from the crag is a refreshing escape from the dusty old Sibbald Road, as the yazoo stream feature in the lush green meadow is very captivating and you should bring a camera to capture all its curves- I have seen some amazing evening light shine off its snake body while climbing. Returning to your car, we found it easier to hike back down a bit, then head south-east into the open grassy but steep meadow and makes for a much more pleasant than returning the way you came. Bugspray is very wise.
Lil Esoteric, 5.7(13m) – park your backpacks to the left of the cairn. Go up the dirty, garden trench to the nice bulging rock. Place a few pieces of gear before you head out, up, and left as there is nothing for some time. It’s a mantle onto slab, at this point you will say, “yeah route length is rather irrelevant at this exact moment!” An after -thought piece of pro (#2 or 3) fits in a yellow hole once your standing easily at the end of the slab. Best to be safe and toss it in there as the walk to the rap tree is a few moves away. Bring small cams and some nuts, pink Tri-cam maybe. Climbed rope solo and not recommended.
Blind Devotion, 5.6(15m) - drop down the trail west a few meters- climbs the left side of the rock bulge. Climb up to a bolt, then up into the slab corner. Soon your in a short gully. Continue up to the rap tree.
Bygone Era, 5.5(16m) – found in the right-facing corner gully right of the dead spiky grey tree. From a low belay bolt, scramble up to a fixed piton. Climb right onto ledge and head up the gully. Near the ugly top, go out right onto fun, cleaner and safer rock topping out, then walk to a two bolt belay on a shin-high rockwall.
Up the Yazoo, 5.7(18m) – ascends the obvious left-facing corner. Drop down from the base of the rock to a lower snout. Belay from one bolt here. Go up to a bolt, pass some nice black rock to a cleft with a fixed piton. Go up the cleft and left to some various good gear placements can be had. Go up and left up the nicer, cleaner slab to the top and walk back to the two bolt anchor on the shin-high rockwall found near a tree.