I’ve got my new waterproof Bluetooth speaker in my pack and I’m ready to send to my favorite jam. A new track just dropped by Avicii and it is amazeballs. Climbers around me are going to lovvvvve itttttt. Birds and waves and wind all that nature stuff is not as fresh as this sound. Other climbers will just let me know if they don’t like EDM.
I can’t hear you.
Take? OK? No, no. no. Rock?
Music is great. Nature noises are better. Communication between climber and belayer is better still.
Photo credit: Alan Light, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23155665
You know what makes a cliff great on an awesome day? Climbing with a big group of friends. More than four makes the pack complete. Yeah, nature’s quiet and solitude are cool, but we only get out here together once a year so we really don’t feel like climbing in pairs. It’s just easier to take over a whole bunch of routes in one area so that other climbers can’t intrude on The Wolfpack! I know, breaking large groups up into small groups is better for access, but since we all climb together at the gym, I can’t really imagine us climbing apart. Sorry, other climbers, you will just need to deal with the Wolfpack – “Wolfpack for Life”.
Climbing in large groups causes issues ranging from excessive noise to greater impact on unique terrain like ledges and steep scree. Climb with a partner, break larger groups up across the crag, and get a ninja badge.
Photo by Doug Smith – http://www.nps.gov/yell/photosmultimedia/photogallery%2Ehtm?eid=379961&root_aId=547#e_379961, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6888427
Only one of you has been here before? That person was so thoughtful to bring everyone along on this cool outing.
Oh, this is a few folks’ first time to the area? Well, Tony and Randy have rappelled before and I’m sure all of you can lead… Wait, do you all know how to ascend a fixed line? What about self rescue? Ok… I’m sure the most experienced climber will take time out from their proj to teach everyone how to safely ascend a fixed line when the weather changes, build anchors for everyone, and haul Suzie up the side of a cliff when she realizes she’s forgotten her epipen after climbing too close to that beehive. That guy knows how to do it all right? He went on a few road trips and climbs 5.12 so he must know what’s up. It is a really great idea to go the bottom of a big cliff with them. What could possibly go wrong?
If you don’t have the experience to go, get it before you go. Lion’s Head is not the place to learn. Can’t lead climb, set anchors, clean, rap, ascend a fixed line, self-rescue and communicate without talking (no really, for real, the wind can get super loud)? You need to learn this BEFORE you head to Lion’s Head.
Photo credit: Garry Knight @ Flickr, CC-BY-2.0.
Need to shed a few crucial pounds for the send? Do you hear the call of nature? Does it sound like last night’s chili?
Here’s the step by step basics… Find a private spot away from the crag and the trail. Dig or kick a hole in the dirt with your shoes. Do you business. Bury your business and any associates that decompose. Camouflage the spot so no one will ever know. Go back to sending 5 pounds lighter. For more info on leaving no trace check out http://www.leavenotrace.ca/principles and the Access Fund’s poop infographic (click to enlarge).
An important message from a community member, Mike Penney. Please read before visiting Lion’s Head this long weekend.
If you’re thinking of visiting Lion’s Head this long weekend, please follow the Lion’s Head Best Practices below. Let’s pull together and collectively work to save this precious resource.
Lion’s Head Best Practices:
– Please do not tailgate on Moore Street or in the Bruce parking lot.
– Please arrive at the trailhead organized. Grab your stuff, fist bump your friends and quietly head in for an awesome day of climbing.
– SMILE and say hello to anyone walking, running or biking on Moore Street. Chances are they are local cottagers unsure about climbers.
– Slow down when driving on Moore Street… You’ll get there… I promise.
– Do not bushwhack. Use only the main trail.
– When speaking to locals in town, if climbing comes up, stress that climbing is very safe when performed properly and responsibly. As a group we look out for each other and our #1 priority is taking care of our community and staying safe.
– Pick up any garbage along the trail – both at the top and bottom of the cliff
– Learn how to go to the bathroom in the woods. Bury your waste and leave no trace (or, better yet, go before you get there!).
– If you’re going to sleep in your car/van, do your research. There are plenty of areas to park minutes OUTSIDE the town on Crown land.
– If you arrive in a large group, split up and swap partners periodically. You’ll get more done in pairs anyway.
– Stay Safe. Accidents happen, but not at LH! Be diligent, help others and leave your ego at the trailhead.
– If you see anyone conducting destructive behavior, please speak up and let them know they are endangering future climbing access
– If you see anyone from MNR, NEC or the Park, please let the OAC know (email@example.com) and in turn refer them to the OAC should they have any questions.
– Have fun!
Access to climbing at Lion’s Head has been threatened for several years. Recently the MNR has begun recording cliff face data using drone flights to assess climber impact. Additionally, the OAC was made aware that camping in inappropriate areas has increased, further threatening an already tenuous position.
On July 23, 2016 we tried a new approach to make climbers aware of the potential increase of this threat. We posted a meme and heard from many passionate climbers who felt the post was inappropriate. We now realize that it was out of line for the OAC, and we sincerely apologize. For future posts, we will strive to act as champions of the Ontario climbing community in a more respectful and less contentious way.
During the next few weeks the OAC will continue its meme campaign to educate local climbers as well as local citizens. The challenges presented to the Lion’s Head climbing community are significant. The OAC cannot achieve its goal of securing access to one of North America’s most beautiful climbing areas without your support. It is our hope and belief that we can move forward together to attain this goal.
Climber with their vehicle/tent in the Bruce Trail parking lot/farmer’s field charged with jeopardizing access. This individual can’t take the time to help maintain access to the crag they are visiting.
What he doesn’t know is that “dirtbagging” on the Bruce is actually called something else by the locals – trespassing. It’s illegal. When the OPP visit him at 3am, fines him, and he finds himself driving back home, he will remember this post. He will say to himself, “Why didn’t I just visit http://visitlionshead.ca/where-to-stay/ and book a place? I would have been helping access by bringing in tourism dollars instead of being selfish and cheap.”
If you see a dirtbagger around Lion’s Head kindly remind them that their actions actually affect you and the greater climbing community. Tell them to check out http://visitlionshead.ca/where-to-stay/ and find a real place to stay.
P.S. Don’t sneak rocks in their backpack either.
Arrange accommodations ahead of time before coming to the Bruce Peninsula. This is a busy tourist area in the summer and dirtbagging is not welcome here. Get a campsite, dirtbag, this isn’t the Valley.
Note: this post has been edited for tone, and we have removed the picture at the request of the person featured in it.
EDIT: Climbing has been re-opened as of July 29, 2016. Climbers must sign the Code of Conduct before climbing at Bon Echo.
Bon Echo Code of Conduct
We are passing along the following message from the Alpine Club of Canada, Toronto Section.
The Superintendent of Bon Echo Provincial Park has informed the Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section that starting immediately all climbing has been suspended until further notice.
The suspension was a result of a recent incident, and no one was hurt. The board of the Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section and the Bon Echo Committee are collaborating closely with the Park to open access as soon as possible.
Weekends at the Bon Echo hut are subsequently canceled until further notice.
Until the matter is resolved please respect the wishes of the Park and refrain from climbing at Bon Echo. We will let you know as soon as the suspension is lifted.
We appreciate your cooperation and we look forward to climbing at Bon Echo again soon. If you have any questions please contact either the Board of Directors (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Bon Echo committee (email@example.com).
The Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section Board of Directors
The second Grey/Bruce Rock Climbing and Bouldering Forum took place on May 20 in Walkerton, Ontario. The forum aims to promote a coordinated approach to rock climbing and bouldering as recreational activities, where appropriate, in the Grey/Bruce region. Participating agencies at the second meeting included the Alpine Club of Canada, County of Bruce, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (Owen Sound, Midhurst District, Peterborough), the Ontario Access Coalition, Ontario Parks, Parks Canada, and Regional Tourism Organization 7.
Building off the momentum of the first meeting, the second meeting focused on the following discussion points:
- The way access to climbing areas is being framed in current/forthcoming Ontario rock climbing guides.
- The thriving climbing gym culture in the GTA and southern Ontario and how it will likely increase climber visits to Grey/Bruce.
- Climbing activity management plan discussions for areas that will be developing new/revised management plans over the next several years (eg. Lion’s Head, Devils Glen).
- Bolt usage and replacement at Ontario climbing areas.
- Adding signage at selected Grey/Bruce climbing areas to promote environmental stewardship.
- Putting into action a sustainable parking plan for Devils Glen.
- Promotion of Grey/Bruce communities at this year’s Beaver Valley Climbing Festival.
- Ontario Parks Lion’s Head cliff-face analysis to begin this summer with the use of drones.
There was also ample time for informal Q & A between managers and OAC representatives. The continued relationship-building between all agencies is positive. The OAC views the second meeting as a success and looks forward to continued collaboration and meetings with members of all of the participating agencies.
As always, stay vigilant about being great stewards of the climbing environment. If you or someone you know needs a Leave No Trace refresher see our post from the fall.
The 2016 Beaver Valley Climbing Festival is coming soon. Here is our list of clinics, which are included with the festival price: a great deal! There are clinics for both new and less-new climbers, so look through the list, see if you are interested in any of them, and sign up with the clinic providers.