Southern Ontario has a lot of climbers and in the summer, those climbers head to the few crags that are open for climbing in the Toronto area. The main crags include Mount Nemo and Rattlesnake, and farther north is Old Baldy, Devil’s Glen and the Swamp.

The Ontario Alliance of Climbers (OAC) has been working on securing access for Ontario climbers for years and recently took on the challenge of helping to spread the crowds out to lessen busyness at certain walls.

Below is statement from the OAC about their recent work at Rattlesnake that makes climbing safer, more accessible and more fun. Thanks to the OAC for their ongoing access work and be sure to support them when and where you can.

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Some of you may have noticed that we previously alluded to a makeover of the Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. We're ready to share the news! Several routes at Rattlesnake Park have been updated to the modern standard of sport climbs. Additionally, a teaching station has been installed to better facilitate anchor management practices. This project, led by the Ontario Alliance of Climbers, was approved with support from @conservationhalton and the @accyyz, as well as feedback from the guiding and instructional community. We're excited to offer the climbing community a selection of newly bolted climbs ranging in difficulty from 5.5 to 5.10. We'd like to give special thanks to those who helped get these climbs ready for you. Most notably: Randy Kielbasiewicz, Richard Messiah, @mec, Ken Chase, Mike Penney, Mike Makischuk, Rebecca Lewis, Nathan Kutcher, Rafael Kolodziejczyk, Valerie Brulotte, Mike Sheehan, and Patrick Lam. For more information about the project, please see the link in our bio.

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Introducing the Rattlesnake Bolting Project

During the winter of 2018, Conservation Halton (CH) and the Ontario Alliance of Climbers (OAC) opened discussions regarding ongoing concerns about climber safety and the impact of climbing on Mt. Nemo. The OAC proposed a plan which would address several key points. This plan was approved with support from Conservation Halton, as well as feedback from the guiding and instructional community.

Why was this project necessary?
– Climbing in both Ontario and North America are growing at an exponential rate.
– New climbers lack an area which offers a sufficient number of routes in a controlled environment.
– Climbing instructors and guides do not currently have access to an appropriate outdoor teaching area for training new climbers.
– Mt. Nemo as a climbing area poses challenges to conservation efforts.
– Mt. Nemo is not conducive to emergency services and evacuation of injured individuals.

The Solution
Several routes have been identified at Rattlesnake Park and have been updated to the modern standard of sport climbs. In addition, a teaching stations has been installed to better facilitate anchor management practice.

Rattlesnake Park is the only climbing area in the CH properties which allows for guiding or teaching. Teaching stations at all other climbing areas will be removed. Several routes at Mt. Nemo will be reviewed and may be removed if deemed necessary.

The equipment for the project was purchased by the OAC with support from MEC in the form of discounted pricing. All equipment was installed by qualified volunteers. Conservation Halton will not test these protection bolts and were in no way part of the installation process. As with bolts located on all Ontario cliffs, climbers must view all fixed protection as being used at their own risk. NO ADDITIONAL BOLTS SHOULD BE PLACED ON HALTON REGION CONSERVATION AUTHORITY LAND WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION.

Project Details
Randy Kielbasiewicz and Richard Messiah share a combined 75 years of climbing experience. Both individuals share a deep-seated respect for the history of climbing and an understanding of the complex issues facing climbing in today’s context.

Richard Messiah is a Level 3 Rope Access Supervisor with a long history of climbing instruction, first ascents, and sustained efforts to preserve traditional rock climbs.

Randy Kielbasiewicz is Co-Chair of the OAC, working closely with land managers in several areas. Randy maintains a long history of first ascents in both traditional and sport climbing styles.

The newly bolted routes follow the following guidelines:
This project is limited to Rattlesnake Point. No routes at Buffalo Crag have been altered.
Routes that are recognized as classic or that are safely protectable crack lines were not considered for this project.
Routes with excessive rock quality challenges not in keeping with the modern sport climbing model were not considered for this project.
Routes with significant historical value were not considered for this project.
Where possible, the new sport routes limited infringement on existing routes.
All routes are bolted using glue in bolts with ring anchors.
Existing Pin placements on traditional lines will be replaced with conventional bolts and hangers. Some traditional routes will receive ring anchors to facilitate rope work.
This project will help re-establish Rattlesnake Point as a climbing area specifically targeting routes graded 5.10 and under. The area is well suited to large volumes of climbers.

THE OAC DOES NOT CONDONE THE ADDITION OF BOLTS TO EXISTING ROCK CLIMBS WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE FIRST ASCENT PARTY. This is a unique project addressing specific challenges in a specific area. TAMPERING OR REMOVAL OF BOLTS AT RATTLESNAKE PARK WILL BE CONSIDERED AN ACT OF VANDALISM AND WILL BE ADDRESSED ACCORDINGLY.

The OAC believes this project represents an excellent example of the climbing community self-managing their activity and looks forward to using this as a reference in future discussions with land managers.

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