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Three-Pitch 5.11 Trad Routes Opened in Northern Ontario

Steve Charlton completes The Landmark which he started in 2006, and climbs a new 75-metre 5.11 with ByungKyu Peter Song

The Landmark in Orient Bay in northwestern Ontario has been talked about for decades. It’s an eye-catching dihedral that leads to a roof and more cracks up the prow of Mount Olympus. With only a five-minute approach from the road, the 85-metre wall of compact and splitter basalt is surprisingly underdeveloped. Orient Bay is north of Nipigon and about a 14-hour drive from Toronto.

In 2006, Jody Bernst and Steve Charlton ventured up the Landmark after rumours that it was climbed at 5.9 many years before. They found no sign of passage or fixed gear and loose rock. They climbed two pitches at 5.9 A2 and stopped below a large roof.

They nailed bird beaks, bashies and hooked their way up, sometimes placing bolts in the blank sections for the first 30-metre pitch. They added a second 20-metre pitch up a wide crack and stopped below a large roof. They added a few metres up the final pitch and then descended.

In 2013, Jen Olson made the first free ascent of the established line, freeing the aid sections onsight, while visiting from the Rockies with Ryan Creary and Brandon Pullan. She freed it up to 5.11+, but it hadn’t been taken to the top of the wall until this summer.

Steve Charlton and ByungKyu Peter Song completed two routes this month, with the FA of Fountain of Youth and the completion of The Landmark.

Fountain of Youth 5.11b 75 m
Pitch 1: 5.10a 20 m
Pitch 2: 5.11b 30 m
Pitch 3: 5.10a 25 me

The Landmark 5.11+ C1 85 m
Pitch 1 – 5.11+ PG
Pitch 2 – 5.10- OW
Pitch 3 – C1 or 5.12/5.13?? Open project

Steve Charlton on pitch-two of Fountain of Youth  Photo ByungKyu Peter Song


Fountain of Youth


The Landmark