The OAC has been monitoring escalating mischief in Devil’s Glen Provincial Park & adjacent Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) land. Climbers should take caution and:
- Do not engage if you are approached by individuals while parking/leaving/arriving at your vehicle unless they can provide proof of OPP, By-law or similar credentials
- Do not engage if you are approached/questioned by other park users unless that individual is able to provide proof of Ontario Parks, MNR or similar credentials
- Do not leave valuables in your car while climbing
- Keep your personal belongings near you at all times
- Be sure to assess the bolts & anchors on each climb before & during climbing
- Take extra caution to assess the climbing up to the first bolt & use a stick clip if necessary to protect the moves to the first available bolt
- Continue to be great climbing ambassadors, respecting the space and fellow park users when out at the crag
- In the event of an emergency, call 911
- The non-emergency OPP telephone number is: 1-888-310-1122
- Please share any information with the OAC that may be related to this ongoing situation
Over the winter, the OAC became aware that a party had filled the gully descent to Devil’s Glen with deadfall collected from the area. As a result, climbers organized a clean up to remove the deadfall from the gully. This happened again a short time later.
After clearing the gully for the second time, the team went out for a midweek site visit and noted that the perpetrator(s) had returned and filled the gully for a third time. The volunteers left their belongings at the top of the gully while they worked to clear it. When the team returned to the top of the gully, they noted one of the volunteer’s backpacks had been stolen.
The volunteers searched the park for the thief and missing bag. They eventually found the bag approximately 200 feet away; it had been thrown into the forest on the section of trail east of the approach back to Highway 124. After finding the bag, the volunteers hiked back out to the highway and walked along the 124, visiting each house in an attempt to talk to locals and see if they had witnessed any suspicious activity. The volunteers noted fresh footsteps in the snow leading out of the park and east along highway 124. The first homeowner did not appear to be home. As they stepped onto the driveway of the second home, they were immediately greeted by a woman screaming at them “You’re trespassing, get off my property”.
Unfortunately, the theft was not resolved. The volunteers did not opt to call the police at the time as they were unclear if it would be considered theft after the bag had been found.
Weeks later, after the wintery weather had cleared, the volunteers returned on a Saturday to find the gully had once again been filled. The team removed the brush again, and returned for a site visit on Wednesday. To no surprise, the gully had been filled again, but volunteers did not have time to remove the brush during this site check. Upon leaving the area, a volunteer drove along 124 and saw a homeowner standing in their driveway, filming him as he drove by.
On April 12th, climbers visited Devil’s Glen once again in hopes of enjoying a few routes during the nice weather before clearing the brush from the gully. However, when they reached the cliff they found the first bolt had been chopped off several routes spanning the MNR & Ontario Park boundary. On six routes, the first hanger was removed and the bolts had been chopped off with an angle grinder. In our assessment the culprit(s) appears to have done this work with a ladder from the ground up. Therefore, it is unlikely the responsible party has any climbing knowledge. Affected routes include:
- Unnamed unclimbed project (10 metres left of Wave)
- Wave of the Future (open, unclimbed project)
- Face that launched a thousand sighs
- Morning Star (first two bolts affected)
Upon leaving Devil’s Glen, the climbers noted freshly scribed “F U” written in the gravel at the trailhead at Highway 124.
We feel this is an escalation of anti-climbing mischief likely perpetrated by the same party responsible for filling the gully, stealing the volunteer’s bag and disrupting at least 5 tonnes of natural deadfall. These recent developments also confirm the OAC’s suspicion that the responsible party is stalking/monitoring climbers during their visits.
The OAC reminds climbers that climbing access at Devil’s Glen continues to be tolerated by Ontario Parks as a permitted historical use. The Ontario Alliance of Climbers meets regularly with Ontario Parks staff representing the entire region including Devil’s Glen to maintain an open line of communication. The access status at Devil’s Glen has not changed.
The OAC has notified Ontario Parks & the Ontario Provincial Police of these concerning events.
We encourage all climbers to report any suspicious activity to us & if you are approached aggressively by anyone in the park or surrounding area, or experience a theft or damage to your property, please call the police.
In the event of an emergency, call 911.
The non-emergency OPP line is: 1-888-310-1122.
We will continue to monitor the situation and update the community as needed.