September 2014 Crag Status Document

We are pleased to release a new edition of the Crag Status Document [download PDF]. Use it to find out about the access status of crags in Ontario. New in this version: short area descriptions and Google Maps links for the crags. It includes information about crags in Niagara, Milton, Beaver Valley, Bruce Peninsula, Eastern Ontario and Lake Superior. Happy climbing!

Beaver Valley Climbing Festival

sport climbing “You are adventurers, you are people who have love for the earth, and so we have more common ground than we would think” – words of Gaisheda Kheawok from Whispering Song Teaching Lodge during the Beaver Valley Climbing Festival’s opening ceremony at Metcalfe Rock. “The earth has a consciousness, and it is talking to you, which is why you came here. It speaks to you and soothes your soul in every way that is right for you. That is really the alchemy of the earth’s consciousness and your consciousness. It is a conversation.” Kheawok’s blessing left everyone feeling high-spirited and gallant for the day’s journey.

Picture 1 The festival, now in its second year, had a large turnout of climbers, curious non-climbers, families and friends. Envisioned and organized by local companies, Free Spirit Tours and On The Rocks, the festival was an amazing success, raising over $6000 to support current and upcoming OAC projects, such as a proposed climber’s parking lot at Devil’s Glen. An even greater success of the event was uniting climbers with land managers and local businesses – a rare opportunity to celebrate the beauty of the Beaver Valley together.

Women's Clinic Rock climbing may have been the reason we all gathered together, but it was not the only activity featured in the festival. Throughout the day, alternative activities such as caving, rappelling, and slack-lining were popular, as were the yoga sessions led by Two the Core and the bike demos by Ride Guides. The family-friendly festival offered lots of fun for the young adventurers in attendance with a scavenger hunt, a Kids Survival Camp, and face painting. Of course, being a climbing festival there was plenty of climbing happening – beginner clinics, a training and nutrition session by At Last Adventures, climbing comps, and the Women’s Rock Star clinic put on by festival organizer Leslie Timms.

Picture 3 Metcalfe’s bridge area acted as the central hub for the day’s events. Participants gathered here before venturing out for their clinics. Representatives from the OAC and the Alpine Club of Canada answered questions about climbing and access.

Massage The bridge’s most popular spot was with Sonya Lee Reimer, the massage therapist from Living in Balance. Offering massages at just a dollar a minute it is easy to see why she was fully booked all day, with all the proceeds being donated to the OAC!

Picture 4 The festival volunteers were easy to approach and very personable; the whole atmosphere of the event was warm and welcoming. And the day ran without a hitch, which is a testament to the great organization, energy and commitment put in by everyone involved.

Picture 6 The aerial silk performance by Aerial Silks Collingwood wowed the audience, and wrapped up the activities at Metcalfe Rock. The festival continued at Rob Roy Dogsled Farm with live music and food catered by The Flying Chestnut (a very climber friendly establishment located in Eugenia). Activities continued into the night with the G6 Rock Climbing pull-up competition, and the Canadian National Ice Climbing Team’s figure-4 challenge, which not only raised $155 for the OAC but also created awareness for competition climbing in Canada. It is safe to say that everyone who participated had a great time!

Thank you On The Rocks Climbing and Free Spirit Tours for organizing such a wonderful event in support of the OAC. Thank you to all the sponsors and to those who have put a lot of time and energy into making this amazing festival a reality.

-written by Elli Levene and Justin Dwyer
-photos by Elli Levene and Dennis Barnes


The OAC is calling on photographers to submit their best photos of Ontario crags for the annual Ontario Crags Calendar!

Amateur and professional photographers will have a chance to be featured in the 2015 calendar and win a rope! To enter the OAC 2015 calendar photo contest, post your best photos on the Ontario Access Coalition Facebook page ( or on Twitter (@OACclimbing) by Sept. 24, 2014. All Facebook and Twitter entries should include the hashtag #OACcalendar.

Please submit photos with landscape orientation (i.e. horizontal) and of climbers at Ontario crags. We aim to highlight the wide variety of climbing that Ontario has to offer, i.e. ICE, SPORT, TRAD and BOULDERING and as many different crags and different times of year as possible.

Submit your photos before Sept. 24 to be eligible to win. Three finalists will be chosen by the OAC board of directors for an online public vote. From Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, OAC followers will be invited to “like” their favourite photo in an online Facebook gallery; the photo with the most likes will be awarded the grand prize.

All photo submissions will be considered for the 2015 Ontario Crags Calendar. If yours is selected, it will be credited and you will be gifted a free 2015 calendar!

Share your photos and help raise awareness and funds in support of the Ontario Access Coalition!

Click OAC 2015 Calendar Photo Contest Rules for contest’s official rules.

ACCESS SENDS 2013/2014


Old Baldy With support of MEC, the Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section and numerous donors, the OAC has raised 185K towards ongoing efforts to purchase land at the base of Old Baldy Conservation Area. This purchase is vital to maintaining access to one of Ontario’s premiere climbing areas.
Devil’s Glen The OAC submitted a complete Climbing Management Proposal to the MNR and the Wasaga Beach Conservation Authority. The proposal included evacuation routes, trail maintenance, signage as well as planning for a new parking area. The report was received with positive reactions. The OAC will continue to work with the relevant parties towards finalized access to Devils Glen.
The Swamp OAC/MNR walkthroughs have begun at The Swamp within the Kolapore Uplands. Assessment of the area will include a complete Environmental Study which is being funded by the OAC. This action will ensure long-term sustainability and provide clarity towards a working access plan for The Swamp.
Niagara Glen Niagara Parks Commission has expressed that the permit system is working well and encourages boulderers to purchase their permits if they have not already done so for the 2014 season.


The Ontario Access Coalition hosted the second installment of our `Discussion Series’ on Saturday, November 23 at Grand River Rocks in Kitchener! Participants included the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority. The event opened positive discussions between climbers and land managers, with the goal of providing accurate, up-to-date information regarding climbing outdoors in Ontario.

Jennie Elmslie (Free Spirit Tours) and Leslie Timms (On The Rocks Climbing) organized Ontario’s first climbing festival in late August and raised $4500 for the Ontario Access Coalition! Thanks to Jennie and Leslie for their hard work and to all sponsors, particularly the major sponsors Joe Rockheads and Boulderz.

We continue to sell calendars highlighting Ontario climbing; proceeds go to the OAC to support access.


Bruce Peninsula
On June 13, the OAC gave a presentation to the Bruce County Council’s Agriculture, Tourism, and Planning Committee, with the goal of educating and gaining support from the local community for climbing in the county. Bruce County contains all crags from Owen Sound to Tobermory including Lion’s Head, Cape Croker, Halfway Log Dump and others. The OAC presentation shared information about existing climbing tourism, environmental sustainability and the economic impact of climbing on local communities in the Bruce. As a result, the Bruce Peninsula now allows for the use of climbing in tourism promotion for the region, helping to ensure that climbing tourism, an important source of revenue for local communities is recognized and promoted.

The OAC participated at this year’s Niagara Escarpment Leading Edge Conference. The Niagara Escarpment Commission hosted the conference in partnership with the Ontario Professional Planners Institute. The NEPDA (Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act) aims, in part, to provide for outdoor recreation. Stakeholders at the event included the Niagara Escarpment Commission, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Parks, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and Parks Canada. Presentations and panel discussions ranged from how to revitalize quarry sites to the intangible values of Escarpment lands.

“Rock climbing research and management in the 21st century: Where are we headed now?” Research roundtable discussion at the 2013 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium, Cooperstown, New York. This was a roundtable research discussion led by OAC volunteer and Brock University Associate Professor, Garrett Hutson, to discuss best practices and challenges in climbing management. Other attendees included Dave Smaldone from West Virginia University, who is involved with cliff face research at the New River Gorge, and Aram Attarian from North Carolina State University, who is the author of climbing management literature for the Access Fund in the United States.

Public Events
The OAC had representation at the “Naturally in the Glen” public outreach day at the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve to join other recreation and naturalists groups to connect with the public and promote sustainable use of the Niagara Glen, the Reel Rock festival, and a workshop by the Ministry of Natural Resources for Boards of Directors of fundraising nonprofits.

Annual Crag Ambassador Day held in early May: OAC volunteers helped fight off the invasion of Garlic Mustard. This event, run by the OAC and Conservation Halton, improves climbers’ visibility at some of our most popular crags.


Halfway Log Dump Site Hosts 2014 – Volunteers Needed

Another great season of bouldering at Halfway Log Dump is here. So many people are asking how they can help the OAC keep crags open – well, this is your chance to help!

The OAC and Bruce Peninsula National Park are looking for help from the climbing community in the form of volunteer weekend Site Hosts. Site Hosts, like a Camp host, act as stewards or Caretakers for the area during their time volunteering. The Site Host program has been a huge success since the launch in 2010, so the OAC and the Park are looking again for volunteers for 2014. If you want to help access efforts and become a Site Host for a weekend, click HERE to fill in the volunteer application.

The guide for Halfway Log Dump is available for FREE from the OAC. If you download this guide we hope that you will take the time to become an OAC member, or make a donation if you are already a member. Click HERE to download the “HWLD Interpretive Bouldering guidebook” .

What does a Site Host do?
Site hosts act as ambassadors for Halfway Log Dump while they volunteer. They ensure everyone is having a good time, communicate the rules that are in place, point out the endangered Lakeside Daisy, explain bouldering to curious tourists and, of course, know all the beta on every problem.;) These honoured volunteers will receive free camping!!! (as available), luxurious pre-paid parking ($11.70 per day), and free volunteer apparel. This is all courtesy of Bruce Peninsula National Park. A thanks to those of you who volunteer from your fellow climbers for stepping up to help out the sport you love!

Who makes a good site host? If you like to boulder outside, can get yourself to the Bruce Peninsula, and are interested in helping access in Ontario, you would be a great site host!

I would like to help, but I have never been to Halfway Log Dump. Can I still volunteer as a site host?

It might be your first visit or your hundred and first visit to Halfway Log Dump. This honour is still open to you. We can tell you what you need to know. It’s not hard. You can put it on your resume and land that promotion you’ve been after.

Yeah, but, if I go there I want to focus on climbing

The time commitment of site host at the boulders is minimal and can easily be incorporated into a regular day at the crag. You will be walking by other boulderers and they will be walking by you. In talking to other boulderers, you may discover that they know something you don’t about the latest lines, new beta, local weather, best dining, local plants, or a shortcut home.

OAC Annual General Meeting: June 23, 2014

The OAC invites all members to partake in our 2014 annual general meeting. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions and have your input on the future direction of the OAC.

The meeting will be held at The Hub Climbing Gym (165 McIntosh Dr, Markham) on Monday June 23th at 8 PM.

To be eligible to vote at the AGM, one is required to be a member of the Ontario Access Coalition. To allow for the processing of new members, please ensure applications are submitted prior to June 5th. Please visit our membership page at for further details.

The OAC is very interested in increasing its capacity right now by attracting new ideas, leadership, and energy. At this meeting, we will elect four members to the Board of Directors (three for a two-year term and one for a one-year term). As always, we are also looking for portfolio managers and event volunteers. While members can be nominated to the Board at the AGM, any nominations submitted by June 5th will have their profiles distributed to the membership in advance. This will facilitate a structured voting process. Interested members are encouraged to contact the OAC in advance.

Further details will be provided to members 14 days prior to the AGM. If you do not receive notification by email, please send us a note (

2014 Crag Stewardship Day

With the much-anticipated arrival of spring, the OAC once again invites supporters to come to its annual Crag Stewardship day held in conjunction with Conservation Halton. On Saturday, May 10th, we will help preserve the environment at one of Ontario’s most popular crags, Rattlesnake Point. As in previous years, climbers of all abilities have a chance to give back to one of our biggest supporters, Conservation Halton, by helping remove the invasive (yet edible) species, garlic mustard. Bring gardening gloves!

Please join us for one of the OAC’s signature outdoor events at 9AM at the Upper Pavilion on May 10, rain or shine. Conservation Halton will provide free entry to Rattlesnake Point for volunteers, and the OAC will provide a BBQ lunch and prize draws as usual. Following the lunch, you may choose to refamiliarize yourself with the cliffs at Rattlesnake Point and Buffalo Crag.

Volunteer with the OAC

Spring is always closer than you think. It’ll be time to put away the ice tools and get ready for the rock!

In the meantime, the OAC is looking to expand its team of dedicated volunteers working towards improved access to crags. Here are some of the roles that we are looking to fill.

Event Coordinator: Crag Ambassador Day at Conservation Halton

Our annual Crag Ambassador Day is coming up in early May. OAC volunteers will continue our commitment to help fight off the invasion of Garlic Mustard. The OAC will provide a BBQ and the rocks will be there for climbing in the afternoon.

This event, run by the OAC and Conservation Halton, improves climbers’ visibility at some of our most popular crags. The OAC is looking for you, an enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer, to lead the organization of this event. This role is great for anyone looking to build their resume and will require an estimated 24 hours effort prior to and including the event.

Volunteer Coordinator

We are also looking for someone to coordinate volunteers’ efforts. This person would develop a volunteer recruitment plan, identify and engage potential volunteers, track volunteer contributions, and generally support the efforts of our volunteers.

Apply Now!

We’d love to have you on our team by March 7. Write to us with your interests and skills (either for the above two positions, or any other task that you might be interested in) at Together, we’ll figure out how you can best help.

Also, while we have your attention: Please fill out the 2013 OAC Climbers’ Survey (click here)!

2013 Climbers’ Survey

Now that it’s 2014, we would love to hear about your climbing experiences from last year. CLICK HERE to take the 2013 OAC Survey

By completing the survey you are helping climbing access in the province. The information you provide is used in aggregate to assist the OAC in representing climbers when asking Land Managers to consider how to balance preservation and recreation. Survey data collected on this survey will be kept strictly confidential and the entire survey should take you about five minutes to complete. Your participation is greatly appreciated. Climb safe and tread lightly.

Old Baldy Fundraising Update

The OAC is pleased to share progress on efforts to purchase Old Baldy. We have reached the 150k milestone towards permanently securing access to sustainable climbing.

We are deeply thankful to our generous donors. Thanks to them, we are confident that we will succeed in raising the money needed to acquire land at Old Baldy.

Our corporate donors are:

We are also grateful to our individual donors, who are instrumental in demonstrating broad community support for this acquisition.  Gus Alexandropoulos organized an effort to collect money through the forum and raised $8,000 for us. The following people have demonstrated their support for Old Baldy and the OAC by donating at least $100:

Cam Bordignon
Aaron Brouwers
Dave Brown
Marcus Brubaker
Eli Cadesky
Ken Chase (Heavy Computing)
Daniel D’Angelo
Richard English
David Gibbs
Matthew Hill
Ben Iseman
Patrick Lam
Aldo Lopez-Negrete
Trevor Kenopic
Randy Kielbasiewicz
Stu Menzies
Mike Penney
Mugurel Sandu
Adrienne Tam
Malen Vidler

The following donors contributed directly to the OAC:
Jeremy Haak
Colton Homewood
Kacy Wilson

Please consider donating to the Old Baldy initiative; you can do so directly at our donations page.