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Raps:19 - 22, max ↨164ft
Red Tape:No permit required
Shuttle:Required 25 min
9 Sep 2023
"Deep, dark, cold, forboding canyon with cold water and little sunlight. Some nice jumps and sinuous narrows in the upper section. Huge logjam in upper
High Falls is an excellent challenging canyon 30 min outside of Squamish. The full canyon is a long day out with 450 meters of vertical descent. High Falls Creek is noticeably split by the large 110m three-tiered waterfall in the middle of the canyon, with two massive hanging pools. Above the falls, the canyon is tight and narrow with sculpted passages and demanding water features. After the falls, the canyon has towering walls (100m+) with consistent drops until the end.
High Falls Creek is not to be underestimated. Much of the year the flow could be A5 or greater. The canyon is EXTREMELY slippery, so caution must be taken when approaching edges. There are many false floors created by log jams and a massive fragile logjam in the upper section that demand climbing gingerly. Staying on top of the large pieces of wood is generally best practice and avoid pulling sideways. This canyon displays a high flow even in the midst of summer.
Drive one vehicle up the forest service road to the top of the High Falls Creek trail, there is parking for 2-3 cars. From the road bushwack 15m down to the obvious trail. Go right and hike down the trail about 100m until a junction and the trail makes a 90 degree right turn. There is a knoll and clearing straight ahead and a clearing to the left. Leave the trail, heading straight over the knoll and down where the forest is clear. After descending 30m you will see a cliff band on your right and a very steep drop off ahead. Go right following the bottom of the cliff band for 30m or so, then turn left and downwards and scramble down an unlikely way directly down into the creek. You are aiming for 49.9462, -123.2917. Left or right of this point on either side will require rappelling.
After dropping into the creek, proceed 50m or so to the first drop:
R0 - 15m off a log on Canyon Right. Scramble and creek walk another 300m or so until the canyon narrows. Note: this can be bypassed by following the trail another 10 minutes downstream, and dropping in just before the narrows.
Downclimb - 4m down a log choke. Will be difficult in higher flows, but natural anchoring for a rappel is possible.
R1 - 8m off a single bolt on Canyon Right (CR)
R2 - 28m on unlinked bolts on Canyon Left (CL). It is advisable to set a handline off logs approximately 7m away to traverse over a false floor to reach these exposed bolts. This waterfalls drops into a beautiful cavern like section.
Climb/Jump - Climb over a large log jam and jump 2m or so into the slot on the other side. This passage is one of the narrowest in the canyons and leads around the corner to a large chockstone 2m overhead.
R3 - 9m from a protruding log in a large log jam. Caution should be taken here not to step through a the false floor.
Jump - Immediately after Rappel 4 is a 2m jump into a shallow pool.
R4 - 20m on a natural anchor log jammed overhead. The rappel is 2 small drops. These drops could be the problematic section in higher lows. Both are potentially strong trap pools. The first drop should be rappelled CR to avoid the trap pool on CL. Climb out of the pool to the second drop which is rappelled on CL. The second drop has a rope eating crack which jammed hard for one rappeller that they got stuck in a loop for a short period of time. In higher flows, these two drops may be bypassable with a high ledge on CL, but it will require a long multi-point handline to be traversed safely.
R5/jump - After a small downclimb/slide around a corner, swim across the pool and climb out to a single bolt on CL. This climb out will be challenging in higher flows because the majority of the pool exits here. The waterfall is 7m in height. Steel wool is recommended for cleaning the slippery rock face.
Slide - Sit on CL and slide the low angle but powerful 6m slide. The slide flushes you to the opposite wall, but exiting the pool requires climbing out in strong concentrated current. In high flows, this could be extremely challenging. The pool below is a strong eddy, and it will trap bags in lower flows (and people in higher flows).
R6 - 11m off single bolt on CR. Slippery climb out of the pool to reach it. This waterfall is visible from the High Falls lookout, and it is a great water reference.
R7 - Single bolt on CL for an 8m hanging rappel out of the flow.
R8 - 25m in length from large tree root on CR. The drop is two-tiered, separated by a long, deep pool. After setting the rope over both drops, team members can slide the fun 6m drop into the pool and then swim across to CR to get on rappel for the 2nd drop.
Directly after this second drop is a useful spot to eat & plan for the main falls. At this point you're directly below the upper High Falls lookout. A scouting team rigged bolts at this lookout, making it possible to rappel down into the canyon from there. This makes it a useful evacuation point (requiring either pre-planning to drop a rope here as you shuttle up, or with the assistance of others from above).
Siphon/Sieve Crossing - The water noticeably drops through a boulder choke and disappears. You must cross this section from CR to CL to get to the next rappel anchor. These sieves/siphons will be a formidable challenge in higher flow since it will likely conceal its exit points. At low flows, crossing is straight-forward, with care. If needed, there are large, living trees to anchor off on CR. After the first person crosses, you can set a guided rappel to either a jammed log or the bolts at Rappel 9.
R9 through R12 should be linked to each other in a series of rebelays. Essentially this section is done as 4 consecutive pitches.
Pay attention while walking the false floor to get to R9.
R9 (Pitch 1/4) - 35m. Pair of bolts DCL. (BOLTS NEED REPLACING DUE TO CORROSION. These galvanized steel bolts were placed by a scouting team. Replacing them is suggested, as they're showing signs of galvanic corrosion due to the environment and stainless steel hangers). Rappel 25m down and around the corner out of sight to a small ledge. Traverse the ledge and under the roof for another 10m until reaching the bolts for R12. The total length of rope needed from anchor to anchor is 35m. DO NOT RAPPEL INTO THE LARGE POOL ABOVE HIGH FALLS.
R10 (Pitch 2/4) - 12m. From 2 unlinked bolts on DCL down the first sloping section of High Falls to reach the anchor at the edge of the main drop.
R11 (Pitch 3/4) - 55m. From 2 unlinked bolts on DCL at an exposed and airy ledge. Begin the rappel straight down, over the sloping edge and out of sight of the anchor. You'll soon reach a large crack (1.5 to 2m wide) that trends CL and downwards. Follow this crack down until you see a 1m wide ledge just to the DCR of the crack. On this ledge, you'll find the bolts for Rappel 14. DO NOT SKIP THE CRACK AND RAPPEL INTO THE LARGE POOL BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT FIND THE R14 BOLTS.
NOTE: At least THREE groups have stuck their ropes when pulling from the stance for R12. There are small ledges, horns, and rough spots in the crack (more of a chimney) that can catch ropes when they are pulled straight down. If you don't want this to happen, it is highly recommended that you extend the pull for R11 to the pool at the bottom of R12 and pull from another 70' back, further down canyon. This means enough rope AND pull for R11 AND R12 at the same time. Even if pulling partially from the top of R12 before extending the rope, this means 55m+25m (partially pulled)+~60m (rope down canyon) PLUS 45m+45m for a total of AT LEAST 230m (755') of rope. Hope you have some lighter pull cord.
R12 (Pitch 4/4) - Time to enjoy the spray! R14 uses 2 unlinked bolts at a 1m wide ledge for a 45m rappel. The bolts were placed in a mossy face, so don't be surprised if the moss grows over the bolts after a long period of unuse. This rebelay location is spectacular but quite unpleasant to hang out for long periods of time. The spray from the waterfall above is strong enough that you cannot look above you.
R13 - After swimming across the pool at the base of High Falls, climb up CR to a single bolt. Rappel 15m along the ledge to the next bolt.
R14 - 14m from single bolt on CR.
Jump - 2m jump on CL.
R15 - 20m from single bolt on CR. Traverse a slippery ledge for about 10m to reach the anchor. The traverse can be somewhat protected/belayed from a single bolt placed on the outside of the large boulder in the log pool.
Jump - 3m from the center of falls into a shallow pool.
R16 - 10m off single bolt CL.
R17 - 8m off single bolt CL.
R18 - 9m off single bolt HIGH CL (approximately 2.5m above the canyon floor).
R19 - 10m off single bolt on top of large boulder CL. This goes as a jump to the CR of the boulder into a deep slot, but the launch is best accessed using a rope from the bolt.
R20 - 9m from single bolt CL.
Walk 200m or so to exit on CR.
Walk down the creek until the wall on CR ends. Find a natural staircase up and a short social trail through clear forest that leads back to the main trail. Walk the main trail 100m to the carpark.
- CanyoneeringNorthwest.com (archive.org) : High Falls Creek Prospect
Trip reports and media
High Falls was initially scouted by Chris Hood in 2003. The first full descent was made on September 4th, 2019 by Kevin Steffa, Ben Thomas, Andrew Humphreys, Michael Henson, and Brent Roth.