Northern Ontario Route Development
The unlimited potential of rock is being tapped into by a group of young local climbers
While regions around Toronto seem to battle with access issues and bolting shenanigans, the northern part of the province is getting a number of new routes. The area has gone through a series of development sprees, with thousands of unclimbed lines left, there will be years of new-routing to come. During the 80’s it was Shaun Parent and friends, they climbed classics such as Discovery, 100m, 5.8, and Spiral Galaxy, 60m, 5.9. Then it was Randy Reed and friends during the 90’s, they developed Orient Bay and its many multi-pitch 5.11’s, all three stars. At the start of the century it was Matt Pellet, Jeff Hammerich, Chris Chapman and friends who further developed Lost Falls, Squaw Bay and Kama Bay. Later in the decade it was Brandon Pullan and Will Meinen who picked up the power drill and established a number of sport and mixed routes at places like Mount Godfrey, Silver Harbour and Orient Bay. Now, as the next generation of climbers has learned the way, it is Kyle Brooks, Duncan Hutchinson, Derrik Patola and Aric Fishman who have scrubbed lichen out of cracks to unveil stellar lines. Climbers such as Nick Rochacewich have made the trip, from the Rockies, to develop hard routes at Claghorn Longwall and Silver Harbour, such as Stirling, 5.13b. Once again, this fall a group of climbers will gather for the fall colours and great fall temperatures, proving the Thunder Bay region is gaining popularity.
This summer Aric Fishman added a couple of sport routes after an extended road trip: Legends of Animikee, 30m, 5.11b, at Mount Godfrey, just left of the 2004 route Echoes of the Totem, 5.12d; Dog and Bone, 15m, 5.11b, at Silver Harbour; and Back Home, 5.10a, 10m, at Silver Harbour. With another month of good weather, a keen group of climbers, and some scrub brushes, the stoke is high.