It would appear at first glance that Ontario lost in the glaciation lottery. Somehow nearby Quebec and New York State were spared total bulldozing, but Ontario really got it in the last however number of ice ages.
Despite that, there is some fine climbing to be had in Ontario, even some great climbing. The local communities are large and strong.
In southern Ontario, the limestone and dolostone of the 700km long Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, provides fifty or more crags from Niagara Falls up to Tobermory on the Bruce Pennisula. Recent decades have added a number of high quality sport crags to the trad areas established in the sixties. Lion's Head is a true gem of an area; pictures from there look like Thailand.
Further north and also to the east, the granite and quartzite of the Canadian Shield formation provide some excellent trad cragging and multi-pitch routes.
The relatively long winters have pushed people to hunt out every ice smear around, and if you're up to winter camping and lots of tromping across frozen lakes and in the bush, there's solid ice climbing to be had.
In the more populated areas of Ontario, especially southern and south-western Ontario (within a few hours drive of Toronto) access is often complicated, with many cliffs closed to climbing. The Ontario Access Coalition (OAC) monitors this, and negotiates for access to cliffs, or to avoid closures. They maintain a crag status list at: ontarioaccesscoalition.com/cra...
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry also maintains an online crown land use policy atlas. This can often be used to determine the ownership status of the land on which a cliff is located in Ontario. It can be found at: giscoeapp.lrc.gov.on.ca/web/MN...
The southern parts of the Niagara Escarpment are easily accessible from Toronto, Buffalo or Detroit. For most other areas you're looking at a lot of driving.
Weather station 4.7 miles from here
440 Total Routes
['4 Stars',59],['3 Stars',133],['2 Stars',130],['1 Star',93],['Bomb',5]
Browse More Classics in Ontario
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Ontario:
Featured Route For Ontario
WI3-4 North America
: ... : Orient Bay (Ice)
This climb is an Orient Bay classic. Enormously fat ice with huge variation in steepness. There are so many variations to choose from, but farthest to the left tends to be more stepy and it gets more difficult and steep the further right you go. This route is perfect height for a 60m toprope and is a great place to bring beginners. You can set up at least 4 different TRs. This climb is also the site of clinics during the annual Nipigon Ice Fest.References: "Ice Climbs of the Lake Superior Re...[more] Browse More Classics in International
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From: Madison, WI
Aug 17, 2008
Last week I drove from Toronto to Sudbury and was amazed by the amount of rock up there. Does anyone know about established climbing up there? I didn't see many obviously climbable faces from the road, but I'm assuming there's got to be something.
Anyone familiar with the area?
From: Duluth, MN
Oct 15, 2008
Check www.acctbay.ca for more info on the Thunder Bay area...
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
Jan 20, 2009
jaysquared, there are some well established climbs in Killarney Provincial Park. Some are documented in David Smart's book Ontario's Finest Rock Climbs. Beyond that, I'm sure there are tons of other areas, although the information is probably sparse.