Thunder Bay’s Paul Berger spent a number of ice seasons searching out new winter routes in and around northern Ontario. For nearly a decade, he meticulously explored every nook and cranny around Lake Superior’s north shore for unclimbed ice.

He found a number of fine looking routes, off the beaten-track, in a remote area around Crater Lake. Some of the routes he found were in Devil’s Crater, an relatively unknown geologic feature in northern Ontario, 150 km north of Thunder Bay.

Thunder Bay has some of Canada’s most classic ice routes, including White Lightning and Child’s Play. The nearby Orient Bay has dozens of ice and mixed routes up to 100 metres.

In winter 2004, Berger and friends explored the walls around Crater lake and found a 70-metre WI4 they named Devil’s Spell. In March 2014, Rod Brown and Kevin Shorthouse made the trek and found Devil’s Spell was well formed.

Shorthouse and Brown returned with Marcus Himanen and Paul Berger, made the trip to explore other potential lines. They climbed the new 40-metre Dirty Devil WI4 and Little Devil M4.

Ice climbs in northern Ontario offer remote adventures without worrying about avalanches or cornices, like in the Rockies. If you’re looking for a place to swing your tools this winter, consider the areas around Thunder Bay.

Devil's Spell
Devil’s Spell
Dirty Devil
Dirty Devil
Devli's Crater  Photo Leif Nelson
Devli’s Crater Photo Leif Nelson

Report error or omission



  • Paul Berger says:

    Hi Folks, A correction is needed! The first ascent of Devil’s Spell was by Rod Brown, Volker Krom and Mike Shacklady in March 2004. The first time I’ve been in was this year, with Kevin, Rod, and Marcus. Thanks for picking this up. Please adjust for accuracy. Thanks. Paul Berger

  • Heather Brown says:

    FYI – This article is very misleading and should be corrected. Devils Crater (Devils Spell) was first climbed by Rod Brown, Volker Kromm and Mike Shacklady on 14 March 2004. 2nd ascent Rod Brown, Volker Kromm, Geoff Lee and Ed Chwastyk in Februaryt 2005. Third Ascent Rod Brown / Volker Kromm March 2005. Rod Brown invited Paul Berger, Marcus Himanen and Kevin Shorthouse to climb the other routes in the crater in March 2014. This location is very remote and takes several arduous journeys in to cut and set the trail. Paul Berger is indeed very passionate about discovering new ice – I have partnered with him on numerous first ascents. I have spoken to him about the misleading statements written above and he is quick to acknowledge the glaring errors contained in this article – which he had no input in writing. Whoever submitted this article should retract it and replace it with an accurate version. Thank you – Rod Brown – Thunder Bay

  • Heather Brown says:

    With best regards to Paul. I believe if an article is written about Devils Crater specifically, there are many other men who deserve the credit for finding these beautiful climbs to begin with. As well as making it possible to get to this remote location. Much effort and struggle has been put in over the last ten years for visiting this area and beautiful climbs. Paul had the opportunity 10 years later to see and be a part of climbing new lines which is great. However, I believe credit should be due where credit is due. And it’s unfortunate the errors in this article, and a shame that the first to discover and climb many years previously were not even mentioned. -Heather Brown

  • Peter Sylvestre Kinglagos says:

    i live just maybe an hour away from this site. and ill be doing an expedition in a couple years. all my life iv been hearing all about these mythological storys around my community and im thinking there has to be some kind of truth behind all of this. there was a lil group of people in 1993 that tried to making it to there in the winter time but 2 guys gave up on this one person, not sure for what the reason is. maybe they just got tired of cutting thorn bushes. i dont know. they say its better to go and cut your way the through in the winter time first, then after it will be alot easy to go through in the summer time. so this year i already have some people to come with me to make our path. obviously our path will be open to everyone that wishes to go there. but ill be documenting the whole thing and posting it if we survive. there is alot more mythological things going around my community and not only here in our bushes but around the globe. im determined to at least document these strange and scary mythological storys.