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Southern Ontario Ice Climbers Finding Ice in Cold Snap

Plus three new ice climbs north of Sudbury

Photo by: Sarah Reed of Tiffany Falls

Ontario is a big province that takes over 25 hours to drive through from corner to corner. Northern Ontario, from Sudbury to Kenora, will consistently see local ice climbs formed from December to mid-spring.

However, south of Sudbury is a different story with fluctuating winter temps creating unreliable ice climb conditions south of Toronto and east toward Kingston. While there are dozens of ice climbs from WI2 to WI5 in the area, few, if any, seem to form for longer than a few weeks every winter.

As record-setting low temps have fallen onto most of Canada, thanks to a polar vortex and nor’easter, the often slushy cascades around Hamilton are freezing. Over the past few days, ice routes at Bronte Creek in Hamilton and in Elora Gorge in Elora. However, you can only ice climb at Elora Gorge this season if you’re with a guide (see below). Tiffany Falls is also frozen, but you need to be a member of the Alpine Club of Canada to gain permission to climb there.

Some of the routes within 90 minutes of Toronto that have been climbed over the years, include: Forks of Credit Falls WI3 20m, Bronte Creek WI2 20m, Webster Falls WI3 15m, Borer’s Falls WI2 12m, Tews Falls WI2-4, 25-50m, 403 Icefall WI3 20m, Devil’s Punchbowl WI3/4 20m, Felker’s Falls WI3 20m, Buttermilk Falls WI3/4 20m, Albion Falls WI2 20m and Ball’s Falls WI4 20m. Access to some or all of these areas might be closed, so it’s best to check with local access groups before venturing out.

Ice around Bancroft, Parry Sound, Algonquin Park and Kushog Lake is in. At Landon’s Bay east of Kingston, a number of short flows are formed.

Climbers established new routes near Elliot Lake last week. At the Stone Ridge area, Marco Foladore, Artur Makos and Preet Singh Aulakh made the first ascents of International Connection WI2/3 27m, The Cave Man WI2/3 45m and Stuck Between a Rock and an Ice Place, 45 metres of mixed rock and ice.


Lead photo: Sarah Reed of Tiffany Falls