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Watch Climber on “Wet and Slushy” Ontario WI5+ Ice Route

Spring conditions prevented a full ascent, but this drone footage shows some spectacular climbing

Photo by: Aric Fishman

The ice climbing season in northwestern Ontario is nearly over with spring temps on the way, but that didn’t stop two Thunder Bay locals from attempting a nearby classic.

Whitefish Lake is southwest of the city and has long been a destination for climbers hoping to ascend Artesian Wells WI5 and Sideshow WI5+. A lake crossing is required to access the climbs.

Patrick Martel on Sideshow WI5+. Photo by Aric Fishman

Local guide and guidebook author Aric Fishman accompanied Patrick Martel and Kevin Shorthouse on their recent visit to the two climbs. Fishman brought his drone to record their attempts.

“Season is almost done here I think,” said Fishman. “It was basically a full ice shower yesterday at a climb in full shade.”

Sideshow was first climbed by Randy Hyvarinen and partner and later repeated by Nick Buda and partner. It follows a stellar line up a curtain and pillar to the top of the wall to the right of the fatter Artesian Wells. “They didn’t climb all the way to the top, but tried both lines,” said Fishman. “Too wet and slushy on both variations.”

Artesian Wells and Sideshow in northwestern Ontario. Photo Aric Fishman

Sideshow WI5+

Artesian Wells WI5

Lead photo: Aric Fishman