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Thunder Bay, Ontario 
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Ontario  


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Administrator: Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
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



Weather station 4.7 miles from here

438 Total Routes

['4 Stars',59],['3 Stars',131],['2 Stars',130],['1 Star',93],['Bomb',5]
['<=5.6',29],['5.7',18],['5.8',15],['5.9',14],['5.10',68],['5.11',74],['5.12',64],['5.13',20],['>=5.14',4],['',0],['<=V1',4],['V2-3',25],['V4-5',28],['V6-7',10],['V8-9',2],['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...
Cascade Falls   WI3-4     Ice, 1 pitch, 130'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Tears of Joy   WI3+     Ice, 2 pitches, 250'   Orient Bay (Ice)
10% Real   WI5     Trad, Ice, 2 pitches, 150'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Obsession   WI4     Ice, 2 pitches, 180'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Sycho Icycho   WI2+     Ice, 1 pitch, 190'   Orient Bay (Ice)
Mellow Yellow   WI3+     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 200'   Orient Bay (Ice)
The Orbital Traverse   V3 6A     Boulder, 10'   Calabogie : Calabogie Bouldering
Electric Chair   V3+ 6A+ R     Boulder, 20'   Calabogie : Calabogie Bouldering
The Bullfighter's Friend   V3-4 6A+     Boulder, 12'   Calabogie : Calabogie Bouldering
November   V4 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
Browse More Classics in Ontario

Featured Route For Ontario
Nearing the top of the crux pillar.  Photo by Dan ...

Icebreakers WI5+  North America : Canada : ... : Kama Bay, Lake Superior (Ic...
One of Kama's showpiece routes! Long, steep, sustained, and exposed. The crux is usually the 30' vertical to slightly overhanging pillar at the bottom, which can sometimes be difficult to protect. Once up the pillar the angle eases to slightly less than vertical and the ice quality improves. The finish can sometimes be a little tricky, varying at times from big umbrellas to bare rock.You can usually see this massive sheet of ice from miles away as you approach on Hwy 17. Turn off on the Dom...[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 quali...
Cat's Tail (5.9), a long, sustained and high quali...
non climbing - throwing rocks into Lake Superior d...
non climbing - throwing rocks into Lake Superior d...
Starting up "I Wonder Where the Lions Are&quo...
Starting up "I Wonder Where the Lions Are&quo...
Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl
Entering the crux of "I Wonder Where the Lion...
Entering the crux of "I Wonder Where the Lion...
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.
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