Submit your photos for the 2017 OAC Crags Calendar

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Amateur and professional photographers, we are putting together our annual Ontario Crags calendar and we need your photos! Please consider donating a photo to help raise awareness and funds in support of the Ontario Access Coalition.
oac_calendar_cover_2013The Ontario Crags calendar aims to celebrate and highlight the wide variety of climbing that Ontario has to offer, i.e. ICE, SPORT, TRAD and BOULDERING at as many different crags and different times of year as possible. Valid photo submissions will be LANDSCAPE orientation (i.e. horizontal) and of climbers at Ontario crags only (of course).
Please send your best pics to Bonnie atmikewilliams_lh bonniedb@hotmail.com by TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4th for a chance to have your photo featured and credited in the calendar! Chosen entrants will get a free copy of the 2017 calendar as well as a credit complete with your name and website.
Thanks in advance for your efforts to support the OAC!

Volunteer at Halfway Log Dump this summer!

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Are you a boulderer, looking for a way to help the OAC keep Ontario bouldering areas open? This is your chance to help! Enjoy time at one of Ontario’s premier bouldering crags while giving back to the community by becoming a site host at Halfway Log Dump!

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 Camp Hosts, 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 2016. If you want to help access efforts and become a Site Host for a weekend, click HERE to fill in the volunteer application.

Ng_01

Iman Thabit climbing in Bruce Peninsula National Park, ON. Photo by Dennis Ng.

What does a Site Host do?

Site hosts act as ambassadors for Halfway Log Dump. They ensure everyone is having a good time, communicate the rules that are in place, point out the endangered Lakeside Daisy (see it right over there?), explain bouldering to curious tourists and, of course, know all the beta on every problem ;). These honoured volunteers will receive free camping!!! (as available), and pre-paid parking ($11.70 per day) at the park. This is all courtesy of Bruce Peninsula National Park as a thanks to volunteers.

Who makes a good site host?

If you like to boulder outside, can get yourself to the Bruce Peninsula, and are interested in helping maintain climbing access in Ontario, you will 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 101 visit to Halfway Lakeside-Daisy-Closeup_Guide-4-Final_ 2Log 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.

A 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”.

A beautiful new, updated guidebook is currently in the works by Author (and Site Host!) Joe Ho. For further details on Joe’s new guide, Click HERE

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.

A big thanks to those of you who apply!

Grey County and Bruce County’s climbing knowledge share forum

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On September 11, 2015 in Owen Sound, the Ontario Access Coalition played a key role in the first ever rock climbing and bouldering knowledge share forum for Grey County and Bruce County. The OAC met with many of the conservation land owners in Grey/Bruce to formally introduce rock climbing and bouldering as sustainable recreational activities on the Escarpment.  As an active steward on the Escarpment, the OAC seeks to promote sustainable recreational activities and support stewardship initiatives and regional tourism.20150911_100730

The goal of the forum was held to promote a coordinated approach to rock climbing and bouldering as recreational activities where appropriate in the Grey/Bruce region. Community agencies had the opportunity to share and learn about the environmental, social and economic impacts of rock climbing and bouldering. The forum fostered dialogue on how management plans examine recreational activities and also improve liaison, shared resources, and coordinated action among various community agencies.

20150911_134317

Participating agencies include:

  • Alpine Club of Canada
  • Grey Sauble Conservation Authority
  • Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority
  • Ontario Parks
  • Owen Sound District Office, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • Regional Office, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
  • Niagara Escarpment Program, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

This was the first meeting with more to come this fall. Important take-away messages from the first meeting include the following:

  1. Many at the meeting think rock climbing and bouldering have the potential to be sustainable tourism generators within the region much more so than they already are.
  1. Land managers who have partnered with the OAC in the past for sustainability initiatives value the climber-manager relationship and wish to explore ways to increase involvement and trust.
  1. Recreational environmental impacts at locations such as Lions Head, Devils Glen, and the Swamp are actively being monitored by provincial specialists. Now, more than ever, is a time for climbers to do more to minimize all recreational environmental impacts and to practice self-regulation and restraint.

What can you do to make a difference? First, join the OAC if you haven’t already done so. We have strength in numbers and the more members we have, the better we are as a community at sharing concerns, best practices, and mobilizing when necessary. Second, be vigilant about “Leave No Trace.” We know climbers are amazing stewards of the land but here are a few reminders for us all based on the 7 Leave No Trace Principles. Check out (www.leavenotrace.ca/home) for further information.

14741-check-list-clip-artPlan ahead and prepare
Make wise decisions during your climbing day so you will not require rescue. Rescues are hard on the natural environment. Pack appropriate gear and clothing for the conditions and bring extra food and water in case the day goes longer than anticipated. Remember to bring a first aid kit. Make sure your footwear, clothing, rope bags, backpacks, etc. are free from dirt, seeds, or any other residue from non-native environments. Parks specialists have noted that invasive species are becoming especially problematic in climbing zones. Finally, know which climb you’re on and always have a plan for safely backing off if needed.

event-tent-clipart-tent-clip-art-TentTravel and camp on durable surfaces
Park your vehicle in designated areas only. Use the main access points and do not create new crag access. Stay on established trails and do not create new ones. Avoid rappelling and trampling cliff-top areas – access climbs from the ground up. Do not disturb vegetation, insects, birds or other wildlife encountered on cliff faces. Brush chalk off holds carefully.

img-thingDispose of waste properly
Bring extra garbage bags and pack out all trash from climbers and non-climbers alike – leave nothing behind. Use the washroom before going to the crag. If disposing of human waste needs to happen, dig a cathole. “Catholes are the most widely accepted method of waste disposal. Locate catholes at least 200 feet (about 70 adult steps) from water, trails, the crag and camp. Select an inconspicuous site where other people will be unlikely to walk or camp. With a small garden trowel, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches in diameter. The cathole should be covered and disguised with natural materials when finished. Placing toilet paper in plastic bags and packing it out as trash is the best way to Leave No Trace….” (http://www.leavenotrace.ca/principle-dispose-waste-properly, 2015). And don’t forget to wash your hands with hand sanitizer or a small amount of biodegradable soap!

Graphic1Leave what you find
Leave any indigenous artifacts encountered where found. Take a photo instead. Do not pick flowers, plants, mushrooms, and anything else that grows wild unless you have permission from the land manager to do so. Minimize site alterations. There is no need to build benches or other structures at the crag – keep it natural.


Minimize campfire impactssnoopy-camping_crop_north
Have fires only in sanctioned areas where it is clearly allowed. At most Ontario climbing areas, having a random fire is unacceptable, especially near climbing zones. If you see a fire ring that is clearly not supposed to be there – take it apart and disguise the area.


rdpayRespect wildlife
– Do not feed wildlife and do not leave food containers open while climbing/belaying. Pack food away while at the crag. Observe wildlife from a safe distance and do not chase, yell, or otherwise disturb wildlife encountered.

 

 

Be considerate of other visitors – Be respectful to others that you may encounter and keep a low profile. Help lost hikers find their way. Answer questions in a friendly way if asked about climbing. If you meet a land manager, stop and say hello and ask her/him about the important work they’re doing. More and more, Ontario climbers are being viewed as stewards of climbing environments and that stewardship extends to the ways we interact with the non-climbing population.

4.1.1

Finally, share all of this information with other climbers you meet and remind people of how to leave no trace if necessary. Unfortunately, the poor behaviours of a few people can shape perceptions about the whole community. We should all feel comfortable talking to one another.

We don’t mean to sound “preachy” – we just know a little refresher on how to “leave no trace” never hurts, so thanks for reading.

And finally, have a great fall climbing season of sending! Maintaining access to Ontario’s diverse climbing resources is something the whole community is responsible for and should be proud of – so go out and send that elusive project as the temperatures cool down and don’t forget to take in the views of your beautiful surroundings while you’re at it.

We will update the climbing community of what comes from future meetings with the various stakeholders from Grey and Bruce counties. We view the first meeting as a major success and look forward to future collaboration and partnerships.

Grey County and Bruce County's climbing knowledge share forum

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On September 11, 2015 in Owen Sound, the Ontario Access Coalition played a key role in the first ever rock climbing and bouldering knowledge share forum for Grey County and Bruce County. The OAC met with many of the conservation land owners in Grey/Bruce to formally introduce rock climbing and bouldering as sustainable recreational activities on the Escarpment.  As an active steward on the Escarpment, the OAC seeks to promote sustainable recreational activities and support stewardship initiatives and regional tourism.20150911_100730

The goal of the forum was held to promote a coordinated approach to rock climbing and bouldering as recreational activities where appropriate in the Grey/Bruce region. Community agencies had the opportunity to share and learn about the environmental, social and economic impacts of rock climbing and bouldering. The forum fostered dialogue on how management plans examine recreational activities and also improve liaison, shared resources, and coordinated action among various community agencies.

20150911_134317

Participating agencies include:

  • Alpine Club of Canada
  • Grey Sauble Conservation Authority
  • Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority
  • Ontario Parks
  • Owen Sound District Office, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • Regional Office, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
  • Niagara Escarpment Program, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

This was the first meeting with more to come this fall. Important take-away messages from the first meeting include the following:

  1. Many at the meeting think rock climbing and bouldering have the potential to be sustainable tourism generators within the region much more so than they already are.
  1. Land managers who have partnered with the OAC in the past for sustainability initiatives value the climber-manager relationship and wish to explore ways to increase involvement and trust.
  1. Recreational environmental impacts at locations such as Lions Head, Devils Glen, and the Swamp are actively being monitored by provincial specialists. Now, more than ever, is a time for climbers to do more to minimize all recreational environmental impacts and to practice self-regulation and restraint.

What can you do to make a difference? First, join the OAC if you haven’t already done so. We have strength in numbers and the more members we have, the better we are as a community at sharing concerns, best practices, and mobilizing when necessary. Second, be vigilant about “Leave No Trace.” We know climbers are amazing stewards of the land but here are a few reminders for us all based on the 7 Leave No Trace Principles. Check out (www.leavenotrace.ca/home) for further information.

14741-check-list-clip-artPlan ahead and prepare
Make wise decisions during your climbing day so you will not require rescue. Rescues are hard on the natural environment. Pack appropriate gear and clothing for the conditions and bring extra food and water in case the day goes longer than anticipated. Remember to bring a first aid kit. Make sure your footwear, clothing, rope bags, backpacks, etc. are free from dirt, seeds, or any other residue from non-native environments. Parks specialists have noted that invasive species are becoming especially problematic in climbing zones. Finally, know which climb you’re on and always have a plan for safely backing off if needed.

event-tent-clipart-tent-clip-art-TentTravel and camp on durable surfaces
Park your vehicle in designated areas only. Use the main access points and do not create new crag access. Stay on established trails and do not create new ones. Avoid rappelling and trampling cliff-top areas – access climbs from the ground up. Do not disturb vegetation, insects, birds or other wildlife encountered on cliff faces. Brush chalk off holds carefully.

img-thingDispose of waste properly
Bring extra garbage bags and pack out all trash from climbers and non-climbers alike – leave nothing behind. Use the washroom before going to the crag. If disposing of human waste needs to happen, dig a cathole. “Catholes are the most widely accepted method of waste disposal. Locate catholes at least 200 feet (about 70 adult steps) from water, trails, the crag and camp. Select an inconspicuous site where other people will be unlikely to walk or camp. With a small garden trowel, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches in diameter. The cathole should be covered and disguised with natural materials when finished. Placing toilet paper in plastic bags and packing it out as trash is the best way to Leave No Trace….” (http://www.leavenotrace.ca/principle-dispose-waste-properly, 2015). And don’t forget to wash your hands with hand sanitizer or a small amount of biodegradable soap!

Graphic1Leave what you find
Leave any indigenous artifacts encountered where found. Take a photo instead. Do not pick flowers, plants, mushrooms, and anything else that grows wild unless you have permission from the land manager to do so. Minimize site alterations. There is no need to build benches or other structures at the crag – keep it natural.


Minimize campfire impactssnoopy-camping_crop_north
Have fires only in sanctioned areas where it is clearly allowed. At most Ontario climbing areas, having a random fire is unacceptable, especially near climbing zones. If you see a fire ring that is clearly not supposed to be there – take it apart and disguise the area.


rdpayRespect wildlife
– Do not feed wildlife and do not leave food containers open while climbing/belaying. Pack food away while at the crag. Observe wildlife from a safe distance and do not chase, yell, or otherwise disturb wildlife encountered.

 

 

Be considerate of other visitors – Be respectful to others that you may encounter and keep a low profile. Help lost hikers find their way. Answer questions in a friendly way if asked about climbing. If you meet a land manager, stop and say hello and ask her/him about the important work they’re doing. More and more, Ontario climbers are being viewed as stewards of climbing environments and that stewardship extends to the ways we interact with the non-climbing population.

4.1.1

Finally, share all of this information with other climbers you meet and remind people of how to leave no trace if necessary. Unfortunately, the poor behaviours of a few people can shape perceptions about the whole community. We should all feel comfortable talking to one another.

We don’t mean to sound “preachy” – we just know a little refresher on how to “leave no trace” never hurts, so thanks for reading.

And finally, have a great fall climbing season of sending! Maintaining access to Ontario’s diverse climbing resources is something the whole community is responsible for and should be proud of – so go out and send that elusive project as the temperatures cool down and don’t forget to take in the views of your beautiful surroundings while you’re at it.

We will update the climbing community of what comes from future meetings with the various stakeholders from Grey and Bruce counties. We view the first meeting as a major success and look forward to future collaboration and partnerships.

Photo Contest: OAC 2016 crags calendar

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photographing-rock-climbers

Credit: Photographer Corey Rich by www.picturecorrect.com

The Ontario Access Coalition (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 2016 calendar and to win a $100 MEC gift card! To enter the OAC 2016 calendar photo contest, post your best photos (landscape orientation) on the Ontario Access Coalition Facebook page or on Twitter by Sept. 25, 2015. All Facebook and Twitter entries should include the hashtag #OACcalendar.

Only photos with landscape orientation (i.e. horizontal) of climbers at Ontario crags will be considered – this is due to the measurement specs of the calendar. Wide-angle shots are preferred as the goal of the calendar is to highlight the beauty of our crags and the wide variety of climbing that Ontario has to offer, i.e. ICE, SPORT, TRAD and BOULDERING at various points in the year.

Submit your photos before Sept. 25 to be eligible to win. Three finalists will be chosen by the OAC board of directors for an online public vote. From Sept. 25 to Oct. 2, 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 2016 Ontario Crags Calendar. If one of your photos makes the cut, it will be credited and you will be gifted a free calendar.

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

Thinking of entering? Here are the OAC 2016 Calendar Photo Contest Rules.

2015 Beaver Valley Climbing Festival

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IMG_6756The 2015 Beaver Valley Climbing Festival was a huge success, we attracted close to 200 people and raised funds to support future OAC projects.

The day was packed with games, clinics, vendors, competitions, entertainment, yoga, massage, music, dancing, a huge bonfire and tasty food. The event was a rare opportunity for the Ontario climbing community to come together and celebrate the beauty of the Beaver Valley.

7D3_1674-X2This year, climbing and clinics took place at all 4 crags in the Beaver Valley with Metcalfe as a hub for alternative activities such as yoga by City Yogis, massages by Living in Balance, hula hooping by Hoopla Hula Hoops and much more. Thanks to The Alpine Club of Canada – Toronto Section, On the Rocks, Free Spirit Tours and Overhang Adventures Inc. for running your clinics!

A pre-dinner aerial silk performance by Aerial Silks Collingwood wowed the crowds at the Rob Roy Dogsled Farm. The Flying Chestnut served up vegetarian curries and meaty pulled pork chili to satisfy festival goers. Activities continued into the evening; featuring an insanely stocked raffle, a strongest grip competition and the Canadian National Ice Climbing Team’s figure-4 challenge. The Whiskey River Band and The Good Acoustics kept crowds dancing with musical performances throughout the night.

MANY thanks to all of our amazing volunteers, supporters and sponsors who allowed us to make the 3rd annual festival a reality:

IMG_6802

On the Rocks
Climbers Corner
Boulderz
Mountain Equipment Co-op
Alpine Club of Canada – Toronto Section
True North Climbing
The Landscape Company
Creative Paradox PhotographyIMG_1065-X2
Living in Balance

Prize sponsors:

Flashed
Maxim Dynamic Ropes
ClimbTech
Outdoor Research
Rab
Omega PacificIMG_0830-X2
G6 Rock Climbing
Outland Adventure Gear
BOREAL
La Sportiva
Patagonia
Metolius
Petzl
Mountain Hardwear

 

*images by Peter Hoang and Creative Paradox Photography