Ice Season Warm-Up: Ontario’s Wild Devil’s Crater
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.
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Heading up another dream line today (Nanabijou) with my buddy Kyle Brooks. This massive pencil of ice leads up into a wild chimney of rock and ice to finish. 🤞😎 AweYea! Nanabijou on the left, with Pukashib (a.k.a Child's Play) and Chucky's Revenge to its right in photo 2. 😈 Stoked that @dave.rone & @adam_james_dailey will also be at this wall today working up a new line just left of Child's Play, the psych is high!! 📸Aric Fishman – @outdoor_skills
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.