Forget Scaling Rocks…What About Ice-Climbing This Weekend?

on January 28, 2013

a caucasion man ice climbing with a chisel
Leave the rock scaling to the warmer climates. How about mounting something truly Canadian? How about trying…ice climbing!

I was shocked to learn about the sheer number of Ontario-based ice climbing packages available in the winter. From Thunder Bay to Marathon and Orient Bay on Lake Nipigon, we are lucky enough to be in the ultimate ice-climbing country, where routes can reach heights of over 90 metres (300 ft.).

Super Exploration, Adventure & Climbing Company (282-B Whispering Pines Road, Batchawana Bay ON) offer beginner, intermediate and expert climbs near Batchawana Bay in Sault Ste. Marie. They are located in close proximity to the climbing areas of Mile 38 Road, Havilland Slabs, Cerro De Hielo and are also situated near Westfalia Wall and Agawa Canyon.

You start with a review of gear and techniques inside before heading outside in a top rope setting. After that, you advance to rigging for a top-rope climb along with rappelling. With the advanced course, you will learn the skills necessary to lead your own single climb or front a multi-pitch climb up to grade 3 in difficulty.

You can take a one day trip with three hours spent inside and five hours outside or book a full weekend with an evening session.

Most equipment is included in the $200/person rate, although you will have to bring your own boots.

More information is available at SuperiorExploration.ca

Muskoka Outfitters also provide great weekend ice-climbing packages. You can experience the Muskoka Lakes by spending two full days on the ice and learn how to climb routes for any skill level. You hike through the winter landscape and can ascend four routes on two of the best Ice Falls in Ontario.

A sample itinerary looks like this:

Day 1
9:30 – Meet your guide for group briefing and gear distribution
9:45 – Climbers are set up with helmets, boots and harnesses
10:00 – Hike to your first Climbs
10:15 – Arrive at first Climbs, receive instruction on equipment and techniques
10:30 – Climb 2 routes at Blue Boy (WI2+)
12:30 – Arrive at Climb #2 – Receive weekend technique instruction
12:45 – Climb 2 routes at Caramel Coating (WI3+)
15:30 – Pack up
16:00 – Arrive at Parking – Enjoy Après Climb Social

Enjoy a free weekend snowshoe rental on us when you book a room at the Riverside Inn!

Day 2
9:30 – Meet your guide for group briefing and gear distribution
9:45 – You are set-up with helmets, boots and harnesses
10:00 – Hike to your first climbs
10:15 – Arrive at first climbs, receive instruction on equipment and techniques
10:30 – Climb 2 routes at Caramel Coating (WI3, 3+)
12:30 – Arrive at Climb #2 – Receive weekend technique instruction
12:45 – Climb 2 routes at Blue Pillar (WI4)
15:30 – Pack up
16:00 – Arrive at Parking – Enjoy Après Climb Social

The climbs take place in Kushog Lake which offers many climbs of varying difficulty. The weekend adventures start in three different ice falls. The Blue Boy (WI2+) and Caramel Coating (WI3) kick off things on Saturday. Then on Sunday, you are taken to Blue Pillar (WI4) which is a 90 ft. pillar of ice and described as one of Ontario’s best treks.

Muskoka Outfitters is designed for those ages 16 and up. You can book weekends from mid-February – March and the cost is $279 + HST with all equipment included.

More information is available at MuskokaOutfitters.com