This past Sunday, August 18, emergency services and nearby climbers successfully evacuated a climber from the far end of the Swamp, following a ground fall. The climber sustained non-life threatening injuries.
Please take this opportunity to refresh and update your safety systems while climbing. Some safety tips: Remember, the most important safety tool you have is your awareness and attention. Consider bringing a headlamp when you go to the crag, as well as wearing helmets. Renew your wilderness first-aid training—not all of our crags have cell phone service, and the furthest point of the Swamp is more than an hour from definitive care.
The OAC communicates on your behalf with emergency services about evacuations from our local crags. As always, thanks to our emergency responders for their excellent work!
We’d like to send out a big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to our first community discussion at Climber’s Corner last week. We had great turnout and a productive conversation, with proof that the Ontario climbing community is dedicated to ensuring we’re following best practices and building a strong reputation as climbers.
Meeting minutes can be found at here for those of you who could not make it:
Rock climbing access at Devil’s Glen (DG) is facing steep environmental, social, and logistical challenges.
In response, the Ontario Alliance of Climbers would like to invite you to a community discussion about the important issues that are facing our beloved crag. Thursday, July 11th, we’ll be meeting at Climbers Corner in Collingwood from 7-9pm.
The topics we’ll be discussing include:
1. The history and current state of rock climbing access at DG 2. DG’s primary access threats 3. What climbers are seeing when they visit DG 4. What we can do, as a community, to improve access 5. The formation of the Beaver Valley Climber’s Collective
So, come out for a few pitches and some productive conversation about the important issues that are facing our beloved Devil’s Glen!
Lions Head and Devil’s Glen climbing access is AT RISK.
The OAC is currently in talks with Ontario Parks to address their concerns regarding the impact of climbers in these areas. As these sensitive discussions progress, please continue to be great ambassadors for our sport by minimizing your impact at all Ontario crags. Steps you can take include:
Avoid visiting these crags in large groups.
Please visit other areas when possible. Ontario is home to many great climbing areas. Please do your part by spreading the love to other, less traveled areas!
Continue to practice good crag etiquette and leave no trace ethics. This also applies to human waste.
Be proactive in communicating best practices to other climbers.
Do not visit these crags without the appropriate level of skill.
Reminder: Lions Head is an advanced crag and it is not suitable for new climbers.
Every year, the Ontario Alliance of Climbers holds an Annual General Meeting. We appreciate Conservation Halton’s support in hosting us at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area this past June 1st, 2019. The short formal portion of the meeting allows OAC members to elect Directors for the coming year (as legally mandated). Afterwards, the AGM gives us the opportunity to connect with the membership in a loosely structured Q&A discussion session.
Discussions during this year’s Q&A included: * Why were glue-in bolts chosen for the Rattlesnake project? * Does the OAC need help with (other) bolting projects? * When is the OAC going to start buying crags? * What are the different ways volunteers can support the OAC? * Why does the OAC not provide funding to individuals engaged in retro-bolting? * Does the OAC have policies in place about who can bolt? * Are records being kept of hardware specs when bolting/retro-bolting is being done? * Will more 2019 OAC calendars be available?
During the winter of 2018, Conservation Halton (CH) and the Ontario Alliance of Climbers (OAC) opened discussions regarding ongoing concerns about climber safety and the impact of climbing on Mt. Nemo. The OAC proposed a plan which would address several key points. This plan was approved with support from Conservation Halton, as well as feedback from the guiding and instructional community.
Why was this project necessary?
Climbing in both Ontario and North America are growing at an exponential rate.
New climbers lack an area which offers a sufficient number of routes in a controlled environment.
Climbing instructors and guides do not currently have access to an appropriate outdoor teaching area for training new climbers.
Mt. Nemo as a climbing area poses challenges to conservation efforts.
Mt. Nemo is not conducive to emergency services and evacuation of injured individuals.
Several routes have been identified at Rattlesnake Park and have been updated to the modern standard of sport climbs. In addition, a teaching stations has been installed to better facilitate anchor management practice.
Rattlesnake Park is the only climbing area in the CH properties which allows for guiding or teaching. Teaching stations at all other climbing areas will be removed. Several routes at Mt. Nemo will be reviewed and may be removed if deemed necessary.
The equipment for the project was purchased by the OAC with support from MEC in the form of discounted pricing. All equipment was installed by qualified volunteers. Conservation Halton will not test these protection bolts and were in no way part of the installation process. As with bolts located on all Ontario cliffs, climbers must view all fixed protection as being used at their own risk. NO ADDITIONAL BOLTS SHOULD BE PLACED ON HALTON REGION CONSERVATION AUTHORITY LAND WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION.
Randy Kielbasiewicz and Richard Messiah share a combined 75 years of climbing experience. Both individuals share a deep-seated respect for the history of climbing and an understanding of the complex issues facing climbing in today’s context.
Richard Messiah is a Level 3 Rope Access Supervisor with a long history of climbing instruction, first ascents, and sustained efforts to preserve traditional rock climbs.
Randy Kielbasiewicz is Co-Chair of the OAC, working closely with land managers in several areas. Randy maintains a long history of first ascents in both traditional and sport climbing styles.
The newly bolted routes follow the following guidelines:
This project is limited to Rattlesnake Point. No routes at Buffalo Crag have been altered.
Routes that are recognized as classic or that are safely protectable crack lines were not considered for this project.
Routes with excessive rock quality challenges not in keeping with the modern sport climbing model were not considered for this project.
Routes with significant historical value were not considered for this project.
Where possible, the new sport routes limited infringement on existing routes.
All routes are bolted using glue in bolts with ring anchors.
Existing Pin placements on traditional lines will be replaced with conventional bolts and hangers. Some traditional routes will receive ring anchors to facilitate rope work.
This project will help re-establish Rattlesnake Point as a climbing area specifically targeting routes graded 5.10 and under. The area is well suited to large volumes of climbers.
THE OAC DOES NOT CONDONE THE ADDITION OF BOLTS TO EXISTING ROCK CLIMBS WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE FIRST ASCENT PARTY. This is a unique project addressing specific challenges in a specific area. TAMPERING OR REMOVAL OF BOLTS AT RATTLESNAKE PARK WILL BE CONSIDERED AN ACT OF VANDALISM AND WILL BE ADDRESSED ACCORDINGLY.
The OAC believes this project represents an excellent example of the climbing community self-managing their activity and looks forward to using this as a reference in future discussions with land managers.
Announcing the Rattlesnake Spring Fling! We’ve been doing our best to keep things under wraps, but it’s time we spill the beans. What we had been previously advertising as a Rattlesnake Crag Stewardship Day is actually going to be the OAC’s first Rattlesnake Spring Fling — our kick off to the start of the climbing season!
Come join us on Saturday June 1st. This event is open for all climbers, and clinics are offered for anyone who’s never climbed outside before. If you want to learn how to transition from the gym to the crag, this is the perfect opportunity for you!
Come meet us, your advocates for access to all climbing in Ontario, and partake in our Annual General Meeting.
We’ll also be unveiling a fresh makeover to the Rattlesnake area with several freshly bolted routes from 5.5 – 5.10!
It’ll be a day of climbing, learning, fun, and celebrating all Ontario has to offer.
Rock Talk Mentorship Series Clinic: Communicating to Encourage Lasting Change FREE
You probably care about Ontario climbing. More and more people are leaving the gym and going to the crags. This is an incredible opportunity for us to pass along our values and traditions to the next generation. We have power to shape the behaviour of new climbers so that they respect the space and climb safely.
From discouraging guitars and boomboxes to encouraging safe anchor setups, we will discuss and practice communication styles that have been shown to be helpful in changing people’s behaviour. There is a good chance you already have a good array of tools and techniques that work well for you. This is a chance to hear about one more and then you can decide if you want to use it. The clinic is based in behaviour change science and represents some of the most cutting-edge approaches to encouraging behaviour change.
Clinic time: noon – 1pm (before the AGM)
Intro to Rock $40/person
Open to all ages and abilities, this is a great opportunity to experience real rock climbing on the Niagara Escarpment. Certified guides and all necessary climbing equipment will be provided, no experience necessary.
All On the Rocks Climbing Guides clinics taught by professional climber Leslie Timms (owner of On the Rocks) and PCGI certified guides Adam Mitchell and Julie Weisz.
Face your fear of falling on lead, become a better lead belayer and more efficient climber in this course catered to current lead climbers. Learn about outdoor lead fall hazards and proper lead belay methods in a variety of scenarios. Learn about fear management and how to overcome the mental hurdles of lead climbing. This course will offer a variety of tips to help you become a more confident and safe sport climber, so you can take your climbing to the next level.
All On the Rocks Climbing Guides clinics taught by professional climber, Leslie Timms (owner of On the Rocks) and PCGI certified guides Adam Mitchell and Julie Weisz.
This 1/2 day clinic is being offered by ONE AXE Pursuits. The clinic will review the skills needed to make a safe transition from sport climbing in the gym to sport climbing outdoors, including: how to safely lower off a climb; stick clipping the fist bolt; stick clipping past a crux on the climb; outdoor safety hazards; and the outdoor climbers code of conduct. Clinic participants must be indoor lead climbing certified.
Clinic times: 8:30am – 12:30pm & 1:30pm – 5:30pm Spots Available: 8 people per clinic To register, email email@example.com
The OAC invites all members to partake in our 2019 Annual General Meeting on June 1, 2019. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions about the organization and our on-going projects, in addition to sharing your input on the future direction of the OAC. We’ll be holding the election for board membership, talking about the past year’s accomplishments, and discussing what’s on the horizon.
The meeting will be held at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area (7200 Appleby Line, Milton, ON L9E 0M9 — Upper Pavilion) on Saturday June 1st at 1:00 PM. There will be a discounted park entrance day pass for all attendees! OAC membership is required for the discount. Come out to participate in the OAC Rattlesnake Point Stewardship Day activities.
The OAC is very interested in increasing its capacity by attracting new ideas, leadership, and energy. At this meeting, we will elect three members to the Board of Directors (for a two-year term each). As always, we are also looking for portfolio managers and general volunteers. While members can be nominated to the Board at the AGM, any nominations submitted by May 15th 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.
Potential board members should have:
An interest in (learning about) outdoor climbing access issues in Ontario
A varied skill set with a self-starter attitude
A positive, proactive team-based approach to problem solving
As a board member the individual will:
Attend monthly board meetings
Lead projects and/or access portfolios
Participate in developing and executing the OAC’s strategic goals
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The OAC is pleased to be presenting the Southern Ontario Ice Climbing Festival! If you’re an avid ice climber or someone who’s never tried it before but think kicking crampons and swinging ice axes into frozen water could be your climbing destiny, then this fest’s for you!
We’ve also got all the really good stuff like cool prizes, hot meals, and icy cold drinks in the small town of Maynooth, Ontario. Only a hop, skip, and a three hour jump from Toronto, you’ll definitely want to bring your friends because this is a weekend to remember (and carpool karaoke is better with a friend). More of the lone wolf ice climbing type? We’ll have tons of clinics and belay buddies ready for you.
Mark your calendars for February 8 – 10, 2019 and keep an eye out for registration opening in a couple weeks. Clinic spots fill up fast, so you want to stay glued to @soicefest or the SOIce Facebook page for all the latest and be ready to pounce when the big announcement comes.