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The Snake is a Must-Climb Ontario Ice Route

It's one of the best long pitches at the grade in all of Ontario

Photo by: Juan M. Angel

The Snake is a classic 45-metre WI4 found on Patterson Lake north of Parry Sound in Ontario. It forms every year, provides a steep finish up a fun pillar and offers excellent views.

There’s no first ascent information for The Snake, but many believe it was first climbed in the 1980s when many of the area’s ice climbs were being discovered. There are at least two other climbs nearby: Looking Like Elvis WI5 40m and Anaconda WI3 30m.

Patterson Lake is less than four hours north of Toronto, so it’s more accessible than the dozens of amazing climbs around Montreal River north of Sault Ste. Marie. To get to the climb, park in the lot at the south end of Patterson Lake and follow the south shore for one-kilometre to your right until you come across the climbs.

Below is a 2021 video from Juan M. Angel of Marco Foladore on The Snake in nice conditions. Angel sent us the following from Foladore about The Snake: The Snake is one of those climbs. It is undocumented as to when it was discovered and climbed for the first time but is now seeing more visits as our community grows and people are venturing further from the busy and crammed usual hot spots. We slid into the Snake last weekend and were pleasantly surprised to see its condition as it was. Generally a late season destination it was in fine form. The bottom was leaning as it usually does and the upper section which generally throws a steeper section to it’s conquerors gifted the climbers with a gentler finish. The morning was -18 and made for a cold start and hard ice but by early afternoon a pleasant -4 showed up to ease us into our afternoon climbing. There are three established climbs there, we also climbed Looking’ Like Elvis, but I did notice a few other mixed and ice lines that would go.

Ontario has dozens of amazing ice climbs worth checking out. For information on where to explore this winter, check out these two guidebooks.

The Snake

Lead photo: Juan M. Angel