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Duncan Hutchison Sends New 5.12 Ontario Finger Crack

Duncan Hutchison has been climbing for about 15 years and is based in Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario. He’s know for difficult off-the-couch sends from Ontario to Mexico and up to Squamish.

In 2009, he climbed and cleaned a crack at Claghorn, about an hour north from Thunder Bay, with Kyle Brooks and Adam O’Connor. They never free-climbed the traditional line.

Some of the kilometres-long Claghorn. Photo Nick Rochacewich

Thunder Bay is known for two styles of climbing: ice and hard trad. The hard trad climbs often follow vertical splitters or discontinuous horizontal lines like Back of the Lake in Alberta.

There are countless cracks at the kilometres-long Claghorn, which some say resembles a basalt Indian Creek, many of which are unclimbed.

Hutchison put his crack climbing hat on and put down his nearly decade-old project before the snow fell. It’s called Tips Crack 5.12a.

Local climber Paul Desaulniers was on hand to take a photo of Hutchinson. He said, “It’s a bout 20 metres. A splitter tips crack in an almost featureless open book corner. Super sustained. Doubles in grey Metolius TCU up to yellow TCU.”

The project was noted in Aric Fishman’s climbing guidebook Thunder Bay Climbing, which you can find more on here.

Hutchison has opened a number of fun gear routes in the Thunder Bay area, including the two-pitch Death as an Advisor 5.10c, the two-pitch Toss it Up 5.10a and the sustained Autochone O-tak-thone 5.10+.

Duncan Hutchison on TIps Crack 5.12a at Claghorn. Photo Paul Desaulniers