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New Thunder Bay Sport Crag

Spring is almost here, and with climbers making plans for cragging season, here’s another reason to consider the Thunder Bay area as a destination. Orient Bay in Northern Ontario has dozens of high-quality sport and trad routes with many walls still unclimbed. In 2018, local climber and guidebook author, Aric Fishman, teamed up with Brent Clark to make the first ascent of Chimney Sweep, a new 30-metre 5.9 bolted route at their new crag called The Shield.

“A very fun and unique climb,” said Fishman about the 12-bolt route that climbs solid basalt. “Begin by climbing up the easy steps until you get to a big ledge. Continue up the next series of cruxy moves with a few closely spaced bolts to protect against a ledge fall.

“Find yourself at the base of the shallow chimney and get ready for the real fun. Try not to get tunnel vision as you make your way up, utilizing nice holds and body positions right where you’d want them. Continue up till the very top of the chimney and then bust out right at the mini roof to gain the anchors.” Visit Fishman below for more on the new crag and this fun looking chimney.

Extra Extra, Read all about it! New crag at Orient Bay is accessible to climbers of all (most) skill levels! • I often hear from people that they don’t venture into Orient Bay to climb because they feel it’s too stiff and too intimidating.. and for the most part I can’t really argue with them haha.. The majority of the routes there are committing, long, and stout, usually requiring a leader to be experienced and comfortable on at least 5.10 territory. • There is no shortage of hard climbs to develop around here, you can practically walk down any cliff line and find one every few meters! I love it haha.. It does however take a considerable amount of effort to not only find a moderate route to develop, but to find an entire area to establish with high quality, tall, moderate, safe, fun & unique lines has been a real challenge. • In an effort to help make this phenomenal area more accessible to climbers of all skill levels, a crew of us spent a week out at Orient Bay focusing on this mission. Our goal was to find and develop a crag with a high concentration of fun moderate sport routes, on some tall stellar rock, in an area that is spectacularly gorgeous. Quite the combo! • Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Paul Desaulniers, Brent Clark, Steve Charlton, & yours truly – Aric Fishman, we present to you a slick new crag at Orient Bay, called The Shield! • So far we have 4 full value, 30 meter sport routes ranging from 5.8 to 5.10d, with the 2nd and 3rd pitches going to the top in the works. • It was really nice actually to see a crew of local climbers out enjoying the new routes a day after we finished putting them up haha 🙂 • For Route Descriptions and Photos, visit: www.outdoorskillsandthrills.com/new-routes • Don’t forget to protect those mushy brains of yours, wear a helmet! • This rad photo was snapped by Paul Desaulniers (@pauldesaulniers) of me (Aric @outdoor_skills) on the FFA of Chimney Sweep – 5.9

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