Southern Ontario has a lot of rock climbing, with most of it found on crags along the Niagara Escarpment. But east of those limestone bluffs are a few must-visit granite-ish walls with good trad and sport routes.
Eagle’s Nest west of Ottawa and just south of Algonquin Park has a long history of climbing in summer and winter. Since the 1960s, climbers have been following natural lines up the broken cliffs above the town of Bancroft. A few of the more popular climbs are Dude, I Think She is the King 5.8 2p bolted, Stairway to Heaven 5.8 2p trad, Father and Son 5.10a bolted, and Finger Stinger 5.11a 2p trad.
This year, Renée Rogge, who’s been recovering from a serious knee injury, acquired a drill from longtime Ontario route developer Reg Smart, and decided to purchase enough bolts and hangers to establish a multi-pitch. Growing up in Deep River on the Ottawa River two hours north of Bancroft, Rogge had driven under the Eagle’s Nest routes countless times since childhood, and decided that it would be nice to add a climb to the area.
In September, Rogge teamed up with out-of-towner Brandon Pullan, who helped with the bolting and route-cleaning logistics, to establish what is now a four-pitch sport climb up the centre of Eagle’s Nest.
Rogge called the fun climb Migizi Wazoson 5.10a, which is the Indigenous name for the Eagle’s Nest area. It follows four mostly slab pitches that required no trundling, only some lichen scrubbing, and follows an independent line from any other established route.
“The route starts off with some moderate and technical slab that leads into an easy traverse to the next pitch,” Rogge said.
“Follow the next bolts up to some easier slab with lots of fun holds for a relaxing finish. Don’t forget to take in the view and give a little wave to the onlookers at the Timmies across the road.”
Rogge and Pullan re-established the descent gully out left (flagged from the top of the wall) and added a fixed rope. It’s a safe and easy option to access the top of the wall, and to reach the parking lot, in a matter of minutes.
Migizi Wazoson by Renée Rogge
The route starts just left of the single-pitch The Swiftly Tilting Planet 5.10c, which is to the left of the classic two-pitch Perspective 5.6 trad. You can find some great crag info on The Crag here.
Pitch one (The Rocks) 5.9, 50ft: Dance up the technical cracks then up the left traverse to the arête beside the steep head wall. Stick-clipping the first bolt is recommended as the crux is low. 8 bolts. You can alternatively climb Tilting Planet and continue to the next pitch.
Pitch two (The Waters) 5.10a, 88 ft: Crack your way up a deceivingly easy looking slab to a mid slab crux that takes a moment to figure out but feels good when you do. Follow the bolts to some fun moves into a traverse with lots of great holds all the way to the anchor for a relaxing finish. 9 bolts.
Pitch three (The Forests) 5.4, 40ft: Casual pitch that heads up a fun and easy little crack to Snake Ledge. Easy but mossy walk onto the ledge. 4 bolts.
Pitch four (The Skies) 5.6, 50ft: One of the best pitches on the route that follows more slab on great holds and great feet with an even more spectacular view. Wonderful way to finish it off. 6 bolts.
Finish the route off by rapping back down from the top of pitch-four to the top of pitch-two. From here rap down through some trees that part to allow passage down to the top of pitch one. Rap to the ground from here.