Eastern Canada has so much remote and wild climbing that it could use more huts, but there’s one in Ontario that has been keeping climbers warm for decades.
The Bon Echo Hut on the lake is operated by the Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section which also operates a boat to ferry climbers to and from the climbs.
The hut is comfortable and an excellent place to meet other climbers and get information on the climbs. The area also offers excellent swimming and hiking.
The rock climbing at Mazinaw Lake is some of the finest in Ontario. The area boasts quartzite cliffs up to 100 metres high that rise vertically out of the lake.
The routes are all traditional and range in grades from 5.0 to 5.11, with the most popular routes in the 5.4 to 5.11 range.
The exposure and length of the routes make for an adventure unlike any other in the province. And after a long day of climbing, you get to chill in a hut.
The hut is a single-room wooden structure with a fireplace and kitchen equipped with propane stoves and a large dining table.
There is a sauna located near the lake. The hut is not used for sleeping, but is a day hut and cook shelter for those staying at the campsites immediately adjacent to the hut.
Bon Echo is located approximately 300 kilometres northeast of Toronto on the east side of Mazinaw Lake, a mile north of the Mazinaw Rock and Bon Echo Provincial Park.
The drive to the public dock takes three to four hours from Toronto or one and a half hours from Ottawa. The hut can be reached by hiking overland, but this would take an entire day. Boating to the hut is much more convenient.
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Five Bon Echo Classics
Birthday Ridge 5.0, 4 pitches
Boris’ Route 5.5, 3 pitches
Knob Hill 5.7, 3 pitches
Sweet Dreams 5.9, 3 pitches
The Joke 5.9, 3 pitches