Climbers have been heading to Lion’s Head for decades. It is one of Canada’s most aesthetic crags and boasts a number of Canada’s landmark routes.
Above Isthmus Bay in Georgian Bay, Ont., steep cliffs tower on either side, it just may be one of the most beautiful places in Canada. Many of the routes have huecos and small sharp pockets. From seven-metre horizontal roofs to sharp, thin cracks each climb offers something different.
White’s Bluff, Lion’s Head’s sister cliff, is just as impressive. From the shorter and powerful sport routes at the west end, to the splitter roof crack, The Monument, Whites Bluff can be just as alluring.
Lion’s Head and White’s Bluff have long approaches but the turquoise water and cedar trees make it a pleasant one. Both crags have a history that includes some of Canada’s most influential climbers establishing new routes. Bob and Cinta Benell, realized the potential for climbing at Lion’s Head. They established many routes, one of the finest being Maneline, 5.10a.
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Other local climbers such as Dave and Reg Smart, Gus Alexandropoulous and Daniel Martian have had a profound effect on the routes at Lion’s Head. The Smart brothers would often rappel down and place minimal bolts with hand drills, resulting in run-out classics. Alexandropoulous and Martian have added some of the crag’s steepest and hardest lines.
Sonnie Trotter and Peter Croft established some of the areas most impressive routes. Croft onsighted The Monument, maybe Canada’s finest roof crack, he considers it to be a classic climb. Trotter established Ontario’s hardest route, Forever Expired 5.14d which is roof climb with a series of Monos. “The quality of Lion’s Head rock climbing is as good as anything I have ever seen during my years of traveling, the only difference is Lion’s Head is much more beautiful,” Trotter said.
If you don’t mind a long drive and a long approach, make the trip, you won’t be disappointed. -Sam Eastman
Photos by Brett Lantz