Matt Dennison of Winnipeg sent in the following letter about a re-bolting initiative he has been part of. “I wanted to alert you guys about the kick ass climbing community in Winnipeg/Northwestern Ontario and what just went down this monday. One of the other local climbers and I went out to the local crags (just north of Kenora, Ont.) and did a little recon of the sport climbing bolts and anchors, as they were all mostly placed in the late 1980s and 1990s. As you’d expect most were plated steel and corroded.”
Northwestern Ontario is home to a number of granite crags, including Goose Neck, the Narrows, Road Side and more. Many of the routes were established around 20 years ago and the climbers at the time mostly used home made or self-drive bolts. While the granite has remained as it was at the time of the first ascent, the hardware has become somewhat dangerous to use.
Dennison continues, “Ryan Munro and I decided to pull a bunch (and replace them with SS Fixe bolts) and write up a grant application/business plan for a re-bolting initiative. We missed the MEC deadline, so i coded a website and we showed our plan and evidence to the community for a crowd-funded re-bolting. We needed about $3,000, which is not a fortune, but there are not a lot of climbers on the eastern prairies. We launched the website and shared it on our local Facebook page. The money was raised immediately.”
Many Canadian climbers drive across Canada from Quebec and Ontario to the western walls and never know they are driving past amazing granite in Northwestern Ontario. There is a small, but growing scene of climbers in Winnipeg and the eastern prairies who travel the few hours to climb at these crags every weekend.
Dennison also said, “Big shout out to the Winnipeg and Kenora climbers. It’s amazing that we all care about this enough to dig deep and fund the upkeep of our great crags. I’m impressed with the climbers out here. Now comes the hard part. We are going to get out there this week with a small and talented team and start replacing bolts.” Visit the website here for more info.