From the top of Dorion Tower near Ouiment Canyon, you can see Black Bay on Lake Superior, stretches of boreal forest and other rock formations that were created nearly 10,000 years ago. Of course, to stand on top of it means you have to climb The Canine first.
The classic 5.6 takes advantage of wide cracks and splits in the tower. With large ledges along the way, the most exposed moves are near the top. As you climb past a small narrow pillar that seems to be holding the top multi-ton block in place, be sure to think light thoughts and don’t stem off it.
The top block offers a one-metre by one-metre flat area where you can sit and stand. To descend, you have to rappel off a nest of webbing that has accumulated over the years. The webbing is wrapped through cracks in the top block, again light thoughts.
Thunder Bay climber Frank Pianka, who works as a physics professor, noted that while it appears unstable, the tower is very stable and safe. Nearby is Ouiment Canyon, an ancient gorge with 100-metre walls composed of billion-year-old diabase.
Climbing is off limits in the canyon and there are rare arctic flowers that grow in the valley. While there are many free-standing towers in Ontario, most are closer to cliff faces. If you’re into fun adventures, the one-of-a-kind Dorion Tower provides. Check out this short video by Will Gregorash.
To get to the tower, travel east on the Trans Canada from Thunder Bay and turn left onto Ouimet Canyon Road. After 3.6 km, turn right onto Valley Road. Drive for 3.3 km and then turn left onto Tower Road. Follow Tower Road to where it ends and park near the building.
A high clearance vehicle will make life easier on Tower Road. The flagged trail-head is opposite the road and in line with the tower. It takes 20 minutes to hike the trail to a short scramble down and to Dorion Tower.