The Landmark Freed! Ontario Four-Pitch Climb Now 5.12a
After 15 years since climbers started up, one of the most outstanding features in Orient Bay has been sentPhoto by: Steve Charlton
The Landmark in Orient Bay had been talked about for decades before climbers started up. The line follows 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 nearly 100-metre-tall wall of compact and splitter basalt has several outstanding routes.
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, descended and left for many years.
In 2013, Jen Olson made the first free ascent of the established 70-metre line, freeing the aid sections onsight at 5.11+. In 2021, Charlton and ByungKyu Peter Song took The Landmark to the top of the wall at 5.11+ C1, leaving the final sections to be freed.
This summer, Dustin JJ jumped on the sharp-end and completely freed The Landmark to the top. “A proud line and truly great route,” he said. “Each pitch is unique and quality.”
About the climbing, Dustin said, “First pitch is techy mixed. Second pitch is offwidth. Third is gymnastic climbing through a big roof to gain an upper head wall. Fourth is a short pitch to the top. But each is super high quality climbing.
About Orient Bay itself, Dustin said, “This place is heaven. A huge credit to Steve. He’s incredibly generous and kind. And is the driving force behind Mount Olympus and all its glory.”
Orient Bay is north of Nipigon and about a 14-hour drive from Toronto. Below is a photo of Olson on the Landmark by Ryan Creary during the first free ascent. A photo of Olson freeing the first original pitches in 2013: