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Ontario

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Lake of Bays, Ontario, Canada 
Lion's Head 
Mile 38 
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Orient Bay (Ice) 
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Thunder Bay (Ice) 
Thunder Bay, Ontario 
White Bluff 

Ontario 


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Location: 44.0244, -80.6836 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrator: Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Peter Spindloe on Apr 19, 2007
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Entering the crux of Nimbus (5.10b) at Lion's Head...

Description 

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.


Getting There 

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.


Climbing Season


412 Total Routes


['4 Stars',56],['3 Stars',124],['2 Stars',115],['1 Star',96],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',29],['5.7',18],['5.8',15],['5.9',14],['5.10',65],['5.11',72],['5.12',64],['5.13',20],['>=5.14',4],['',0],['<=V1',3],['V2-3',19],['V4-5',25],['V6-7',7],['V8-9',1],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',1],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Ontario:
Tempest   WI2+     Ice, 1 pitch, 200'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Andromeda Weeps   WI4     Ice, 2 pitches, 200'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Hully Gully   WI2+     Ice, 2 pitches, 140'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Evil Des Seins   WI4     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 55'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Gomar Falls   WI3     Trad, Ice, 2 pitches, 260'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Ranxerox Tangent   WI4     Ice, 1 pitch, 150'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Getting Oriented   WI4+     Ice, 1 pitch, 150'   Kama Bay, Lake Superior (Ic...
Obsession   WI4     Ice, 2 pitches, 180'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Tears of Joy   WI3+     Ice, 2 pitches, 250'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Sycho Icycho   WI2+     Ice, 1 pitch, 190'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Cascade Falls   WI3-4     Ice, 1 pitch, 130'   Orient Bay (Ice)
10% Real   WI5     Trad, Ice, 2 pitches, 150'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Mellow Yellow   WI3+     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 200'   Orient Bay (Ice)
The Gate   V2 5+     Boulder, 10'   Calabogie : Calabogie Bouldering
The Bullfighter's Friend   V3-4 6A+     Boulder, 12'   Calabogie : Calabogie Bouldering
Malaria   V4-5 6B+     Boulder, 10'   Calabogie : Calabogie Bouldering
Ken's Super Slab   V5 6C     Boulder, 15'   Calabogie : Calabogie Bouldering
Birthday Ridge   5.0 2- 4 I 6 MM 1c     Trad, 4 pitches, 300'   Bon Echo
Front of the Pinnacle   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   Bon Echo
Blood Beach   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 45'   White Bluff : B-Movie Wall
Browse More Classics in Ontario

Featured Route For Ontario
Climb the blunt arÍte left of the ice to a ledge.  Then step to the right and climb the steep ice wall.

drone attack WI5 M7+  North America : Canada : ... : Ice Palace
A fun route on excellent rock and steep ice. Climb past 9 bolts to a ledge about 80' up, where you'll find a bolted anchor. It's a bit cruxy from the 5th to the 6th bolt, where the parallel-sided crack widens, and the feet get thin, and then again gaining the ledge. Move across the ledge to the right, and climb overhanging and then vertical ice, finishing to the right of the trees above.An alternate finish continues up the well-featured rock face (small stoppers, C3's, C4's to 1.5") above the...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Ontario Slideshow Add Photo
Thomas seconding Nimbus.
Thomas seconding Nimbus.
Me on Caramel Coatings (Kushog Lake, ON, Canada)
Me on Caramel Coatings (Kushog Lake, ON, Canada)
Agawa Canyon
Agawa Canyon
Cat's Tail (5.9), a long, sustained and high quality line at Mt. Nemo near Milton.
Cat's Tail (5.9), a long, sustained and high quali...
non climbing - throwing rocks into Lake Superior during a backpacking trip to Lake Superior Provincial Park.
non climbing - throwing rocks into Lake Superior d...
Starting up "I Wonder Where the Lions Are" (5.12a) at Lions Head on the Bruce Peninsula.  This is a stellar limestone sport climb with multiple cruxes and great technical moves.
Starting up "I Wonder Where the Lions Are" (5.12a)...
Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl
Entering the crux of "I Wonder Where the Lions Are" at Lion's Head.
Entering the crux of "I Wonder Where the Lions Are...
Leading Elzingas Corner
Leading Elzingas Corner
Comments on Ontario Add Comment
Show which comments
By jaysquared
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?

By nodin
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.