2021 Calendar Photo Submissions are Open!

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It’s that time of year again — we’re opening up submissions for next year’s Ontario Crags Calendar!  The 2021 Calendar isn’t going to be just any calendar either… this is going to be our special 10th edition!  Help celebrate this milestone by seeing your work published and hanging on all your friends’ walls ❤

Cynthia Chung on Jetstream, by Kevin Chan

The Ontario Crags Calendar aims to celebrate and highlight the wide variety of climbing that Ontario has to offer. We want to showcase everything from as many different crags, seasons, and climbers as possible — ICE, SPORT, TRAD and BOULDERING are all honoured here.  We want to celebrate the diversity of our province and our community!  Valid photo submissions must have LANDSCAPE orientation (i.e. horizontal), and be of climbers at Ontario crags only (of course!).  

Wayne Truong on Fear and Loathing, by Shawn Tron

2020 hasn’t been your typical climbing year, and that’s okay.  Submissions do not need to be dated from this year, but they DO need to showcase your love for Ontario climbing.  So make the most of this tail end of the season, or take some time to venture down memory lane and rediscover some forgotten gems!

Dustin Johnston-Jewell on Super Sharp Shooter, by Will Tam

The Crags Calendar helps us raise awareness and funds in support of Ontario access.  Please consider donating a photo!  Send your best shots to submissions@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca by SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4TH for a chance to be featured.  Chosen entrants will receive a free copy of the calendar, credit complete with name and website, and a little slice of local fame 😉

Please see additional rules of submission:

OAC 2020 AGM Recap

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Thank you to everyone who tuned in for our AGM last Monday!  We had great turnout, with at least 71 members tuning in.  Congratulations to Randy Kielbasiewicz, Patrick Lam, and Mike Makischuk, who have all been re-elected to the Board for another two-year term.  Randy and Mike Penney will also continue to serve as Co-Chairs of the Board.

Our meeting minutes and a summary of our Access Sends for the 2019-2020 year can be found below:

A complete recording of the meeting is available below:

Thanks everyone, we’ll see you soon!

OAC Service Award: Tony Berlier

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We’d like to present Tony Berlier with the 2020 Ontario Alliance of Climbers Service Award. As you enjoy expanded access to Ontario crags, be sure to thank Tony for his essential contributions!

Tony has been the man holding together the OAC from before its inception, serving as co-chair from 2009 through 2019. He took on a ton of unglamourous behind-the-scenes administrative work to make sure the OAC continues to exist and to advocate for access for Ontario climbers. For a long time, he welcomed us to Board meetings in his backyard and organized the meetings (which is a ton of work). Tony chaired AGMs, maintained the membership database, and emailed all members with AGM notices. He did the day-to-day financial transactions to keep the OAC running — all of the boring, but necessary, tasks. 

The final test of one’s success at a task is being able to hand it off to one’s successors, and Tony has managed to pass on essentially all of his tasks to the next generation of OAC volunteers, while giving us occasional advice. Thanks for everything Tony!

Support the Metcalfe Toilet Fund

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We decided to spruce up the Metcalfe parking lot with the addition of two porta potties for the rest of the season!

The surge in visitors to our green spaces has unfortunately meant that our parks are becoming littered and filled with waste.  In an effort to help keep our crags clean, we’ve fronted the $1000 bill for toilet service which will help climbers and hikers alike.

Please consider making a donation to support this initiative!  We’d like to recoup the costs so that we can continue to finance crag improvements on an ongoing basis.

Thank you, and see you out there!

Rattlesnake Welcomes Climbing Back!

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Conservation Halton is ready to accept climbers at Rattlesnake Park again! This includes Rattlesnake proper, Broken Glass Cliffs and Buffalo Crag.

Climbers must reserve a 2 hour time slot. Overstaying your time slot will lead to potential fines/penalties and reflect poorly on the climbing community, so be sure to keep track of time! Reservations can be made at http://parkvisit.ca/ .

Conservation Areas, Provincial Parks and Managed Properties are under immense pressure with visitations at record levels. It is vital that climbers act as stewards and partners with land managers to help protect the areas we all love. Please remember to be safe, climb in small groups, and respect other climbers while following social distancing efforts.

Register for the OAC Virtual AGM, and Vote in the Board of Directors Election

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Our annual board election will take place during our Virtual AGM on Monday, August 17th! Register now, and be sure to attend in order to cast your votes.

Registration is required in advance in order to keep the event secure. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Click Here to Register.

Up for election at this year’s AGM are the following candidates:

Patrick Lam
Patrick Lam – Patrick has supported the OAC since its inception, becoming a director in 2013. One of Patrick’s main goals is to improve the lines of communication between the OAC and the climbing community. Patrick has been climbing for 8 years, 4 in Ontario. He enjoys sport, trad, multi-pitch and mountaineering.
Randy Kielbasiewicz – Randy has been part of the OAC since 2012 and Co-Chair since 2014. He has been climbing for 35 years in all seasons, enjoying all forms of climbing. Randy’s focus has been working on specific projects with land managers in the Beaver Valley and Conservation Halton.
Mike Makischuk – Mike became involved with the OAC in 2017. Working to bring the local climbing community together and educate them about what the OAC means is strongly one of Mike’s goals. Climbing for over 20 years, he brings a strong passion for all aspects of climbing from bouldering, to sport and alpine.

OAC Virtual AGM set for Aug 17

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Save the date: the OAC Annual General Meeting will take place Monday, August 17, at 7pm.  Join us as we meet virtually for a socially distanced AGM!  This is a great opportunity to ask questions about our organization and to share input on our future direction.   We’ll also be holding the election for board membership, talking about the year we’ve just had, and speaking about what’s on the horizon.

If you would like to run as a candidate for the board of directors, please submit your bio to info@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca by July 24.  Details for the virtual meeting will be announced August 1.  Hope to see you all there!

Lion’s Head Climbing Access

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Climbing access at Lion’s Head has always been an extremely delicate issue.  We would like to update the community and provide some clarity to the events which have transpired over the past few months.

On May 12th, we were notified by a community member about hanger removal from select routes on Latvian Ledge.  The OAC did not consult on, nor condone the hanger removal.  We have made attempts to reach out to the individual(s) responsible, and while they have not come forward directly, we believe that the hangers were removed in order to reduce large group impacts and encourage regeneration of Latvian Ledge. More recently on June 25th, we were notified that the Stinger Gully fixed ropes have also been removed. Though not confirmed, we believe the fixed lines were removed to discourage hikers from descending and finding themselves unable to exit safely.

The OAC does not condone unilateral route removal.  However, we acknowledge that the impact observed on the Latvian Ledge is an increasingly important issue that needs to be addressed in order to preserve access. Upon careful reflection, the OAC does not feel it is in the best interest of the long-term access at Lion’s Head to replace the removed hangers and fixed lines at this time.  

If you plan on climbing at Lions Head, please be aware of the removed routes on the Latvian Ledge.  Please also be prepared to Leave No Trace by descending into the crag using your own equipment, and ascending to exit at the end of the day.

This recent series of events has emphasized some of the current issues facing Lion’s Head. As a result, we have developed some best practices in order to promote ongoing access and assist you in your visit to Lion’s Head.

BEST PRACTICES

Know Before You Go. Lion’s Head is an advanced crag and requires advanced technical rope skills to access the base, ledges and hanging belays. It’s critical you know how to rappel, ascend, self-rescue and navigate vertical terrain.

Do Not Tailgate, party or drink open alcohol on Moore Street or in the Bruce parking lot. Please arrive at the trailhead organized. Grab your stuff and quietly head in for a day of climbing.

Slow Down when driving in town and on Moore Street. You’ll get there soon enough.

Be Kind to Locals. Smile and say hello to anyone walking, running or biking on Moore Street. When speaking to locals in town, if climbing comes up, stress that climbing is safe when performed responsibly.

Pick Up Garbage along the trail whether it is yours or not – at both the top and bottom of the cliff

Leave No Trace. Stay on established trails as much as possible. Learn how to go to the bathroom outdoors. Do it far from any trail, and use a wag bag or bury your personal waste (not your garbage). When possible, go before you arrive at the cliff.

Be Kind to Trees. The escarpment is home of some of the oldest trees in Ontario, as well as sensitive cliff edge ecology. Lion’s Head is no exception. Please do no top-rope off the trees. If you must use a tree or two to access ledges or hanging belays, please take measures to protect the trees and anchor through fixed hardware as soon as possible.

Find Appropriate Accommodation. Sleeping in your car/van in town will not be tolerated. If you must sleep in your vehicle, do your research to find a place to stay beforehand

No Large Groups. If you arrive in a group, split up and swap partners periodically. You’ll get more done in pairs anyway.

Leave Pets at Home. Dogs are not permitted off leash in Lion’s Head Provincial Park at any time. Lion’s Head does not lend itself well to the inclusion of pets due to its sensitive ecology, challenging logistics and confined staging areas.

Stay Safe and leave the ego at home. Do your very best to avoid accidents. Be diligent and help others who might be in need.

Speak Up. If you see climbers acting poorly, please speak up and respectfully ask for their support in keeping Lion’s Head open.

If you see anyone from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Niagara Escarpment Commission, or the Park, please let the OAC know and refer them to the OAC should they have any questions.

Have Fun!

Follow Up Study on the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Outdoor Recreation Participation

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Brock University and ALIVE Outdoors have launched a follow up study to explore how Canadians have been impacted by the closure, and now reopening, of outdoor recreation areas. Study participants are asked to fill out a survey which takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and focuses on how outdoor recreation affects their physical, emotional and overall health. You may participate in this study regardless of whether or not you completed the Phase 1 survey.

This is an opportunity to provide land managers and outdoor recreation service providers with insight into how you feel about the reopening of these spaces, and what policies would need to be implemented for you to feel safe recreating outside.

The survey is only open until July 10th. If you have the time, please fill it out to ensure all outdoor recreationists are represented!

Link to survey:
https://brock.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_799N0OEnC2LLiCN

Rattlesnake Point opens to guided climbing

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Conservation Halton is now allowing guiding companies to run courses and lessons at Rattlesnake Point. As the first step in lifting restrictions on climbing, these small groups will allow them to easily manage the number of climbers at the crag, as well as test that appropriate protocols are in place for when restrictions are eased further.

Please keep in mind that ONLY guided groups are permitted to climb at this time.  Conservation Halton is looking forward to opening their crags to the general climbing population as soon as possible!