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.

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/…

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…

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.

1,607 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Ontario

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
WI4
 7
Obsession
Ice 2 pitches
WI3-4
 14
Cascade Falls
Ice
WI2+
 16
Tempest
Ice
WI4
 3
Ranxerox Tangent
Ice
WI5
 5
10% Real
Trad, Ice 2 pitches
WI4+
 4
Getting Oriented
Ice
WI5+
 4
Pukasahib (Child's Play)
Ice 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 4
Nutcracker
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 14
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 13
Maneline
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 4
Hiromi's Route
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 5
I Owe a Lot of Money to a Man Na…
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 4
The Fin
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 3
Vox Angelica
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 3
Coeur de Lion
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Obsession Orient Bay Ice… > 5. Cascade Falls/Obse…
 7
WI4 Ice 2 pitches
Cascade Falls Orient Bay Ice… > 5. Cascade Falls/Obse…
 14
WI3-4 Ice
Tempest Orient Bay Ice… > 5. Cascade Falls/Obse…
 16
WI2+ Ice
Ranxerox Tangent Orient Bay Ice… > 3. Ice Palace
 3
WI4 Ice
10% Real Orient Bay Ice… > 3. Ice Palace
 5
WI5 Trad, Ice 2 pitches
Getting Oriented Kama Bay, Lake… > Getting Oriented Area
 4
WI4+ Ice
Pukasahib (Child's Play) Thunder Bay Reg… > Mt McRae Ice & Mixed
 4
WI5+ Ice 2 pitches
Nutcracker Devil's Glen > Blank Canvas
 4
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Kiss of the Spider Woman Lion's Head > American Bucks / Spid…
 14
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Maneline Lion's Head > Maneline Wall
 13
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Hiromi's Route Golden Horseshoe > Mt Nemo > Castle
 4
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
I Owe a Lot of Money to a M… Golden Horseshoe > Mt Nemo > Iguana Wall
 5
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
The Fin Lion's Head > Fin Wall
 4
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Vox Angelica Metcalfe Rock > Overhanging Wall
 3
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Coeur de Lion Lion's Head > Lost at Sea Wall
 3
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Ontario »

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jaysquared
Minneapolis, MN
jaysquared   Minneapolis, MN
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? Aug 17, 2008
nodin
Duluth, MN
nodin   Duluth, MN
Checkacctbay.ca for more info on the Thunder Bay area... Oct 15, 2008
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. Jan 20, 2009