The 2021 Ontario Crags Calendar has arrived! Featuring local climbers shot by local photographers, the OAC calendar is a tribute to everything Ontario climbing has to offer. With a mix of climbers, crags, and disciplines featured, this is the milestone 10th anniversary of the OAC Calendar published, and we think it’s our best one yet!
We’ve adapted sales this year to be conducted online, as well as at a selection of gyms volunteering to assist with this fundraiser. Calendars are $20, plus $5 for shipping via Canada Post. All proceeds from calendar sales go toward promoting, advocating for, and maintaining open access all across the province.
With the recent announcement of Grey Sauble Conservation Authority properties reopening for public use on June 6th, climbing areas across the province are finding themselves under varying levels of restrictions. We’ve created a table to help the community more easily understand what crags are open for climbing. You can access the table here. This is a living document and will be updated as permissions change.
Please keep in mind that some smaller communities, including Grey County, have issued official requests that non-residents or seasonal visitors avoid visiting. We’ve listed resources for the Public Health Units and municipalities that correspond with the various crags in our document — please use these to determine if there are any regional restrictions.
Currently, climbing is permitted on crown land, where access is tolerated.
Old Baldy is re-opening to visitor access on June 6, but at the time of this posting, climbing will not be a permitted activity. We are in direct communication with Grey Sauble Conservation concerning this. Please stay tuned for updates.
Climbing is still not yet permitted on Conservation Halton properties, which include Rattlesnake Point and Mount Nemo — but we are working with them to determine when we can do so safely.
Bouldering is also not yet permitted at the Niagara Glen, but the NPCA is actively working on a plan to reintroduce it. We hope to be able to share news of progress here soon!
We previously established a list of guidelines to help climbers decide whether to climb, and if they choose to climb, how to do so responsibly. You can access the complete list of guidelines here. A condensed version suitable for use as a poster is also available below.
If you do go out, this is an important time to make a good name for the climbing community! Take the time to educate yourself on the best practices for climbing during this pandemic. Remember to take care of the crag, yourselves, and others.
Please keep in mind that as our situation is constantly changing, it is important to be in the know before you go. Stay up to date and do your research before you head out. Please respect all government guidelines and be considerate of vulnerable communities. Stay safe!
A lot has happened over the course of the past week. Restaurants, bars, entertainment facilities, and climbing gyms have been closing in efforts to slow the transmission of COVID-19. It’s a time of uncertainty for everyone, and it can affect us all both physically and mentally.
Climbing, physical activity, and being outdoors are all ways to alleviate stress. With the inability to climb indoors, it’s easy to think that heading out to the crag is a safe and viable option right now. But should we be climbing outside at this time?
We encourage everyone to be responsible and respectful of the population as a whole. Even if we feel well, we may be asymptomatic carriers and not know it. By traveling outside your hometown, you increase the risk of transmitting the disease to other communities, many of which are remote and have limited access to supplies and healthcare services. All provincial parks are now closed, as well as many other public services. Additionally, if we get injured climbing outside, we can increase the load on an already overburdened healthcare system.
Tommy Caldwell provided the Access Fund with the following quote: “I cancelled my upcoming climbing trip to the southwest, not because I think my family will get sick while we adventure in the desert, but because it’s the responsible thing to do to slow the spread and protect vulnerable people. It’s our responsibility to stay put. But it’s also a great opportunity to stay home with your family, practice low-impact living strategies, and get some fresh air.” We’re in accordance with this line of thinking.
Many climbing destination communities are urging visitors to stay away. We ask that you consider how your actions can impact the lives of others at this time. We all want to climb, and getting some fresh air is crucial to staying both healthy and sane. But the crags aren’t going anywhere, and staying local is only a temporary sacrifice that will protect our community.
There are many resources coming out that will help us stay in top climbing shape while at home, and we’ll be sharing some tips and inspiration to keep you motivated! But for the time being, we’re willing to put the health and safety of our community before our own desires. We hope you’ll join us.
Here’s a brief rundown on Crag Updates for Spring 2022.
Bookings are here to stay for the foreseeable future. However, Halton allows climbers to book back-to-back slots, giving you more time to enjoy the crag.
Good news: The new booking system is working well, and our relationship with landowners has improved! For a link to the reservation page and the Turtle Crag Code Of Conduct, click here.
Great work, everyone, and continue to enjoy the space responsibly.
We need your help! We seek a team to help with advocacy and access in the Hamilton area. Please get in touch with us about volunteer opportunities. Contact Us!
Currently, no change – there is no climbing permitted at Rockwood. The stakeholders have no interest in allowing climbing at this time.
The Niagara Conservation Authority is still undergoing an ecological assessment of the cliff in order to protect the bat population. Because of this Campden is still closed for climbing, but we remain in constant contact with the NCA.
The situation is ongoing. For the latest news and new parking guidelines, click here.
We have porta-potties again this season (Yay!). The porta-potties are a collaboration between Arc’teryx and the OAC. The OAC is also hard at work with a parking expansion project. We will keep you posted on developments.
Paid parking continues to be enforced. For tips and best practices for a fun day at Lion’s Head, click here.
The Nooks, Sudbury (*new guidebook)
The Nooks is one of Ontario’s newest bouldering areas, featuring over 150 problems. You can purchase a new The Nooks Guidebook here. This is a newly developed area, where special care is required to minimize climber impact: stay on the trails, and no camping.
If you have any news or questions about your favourite crag, contact us!
As you may be aware, through early 2022, our members began reporting vandalism and mischief at Devil’s Glen. From there, things seemed to escalate, and we have continued to share updates via our website and on Social Media.
If we had to sum up the last few months in a few words—essentially, the climbers at Devil’s Glen are being bullied by anti-climbing mischief.
We currently have not yet gathered conclusive proof about who is causing the trouble, and we do not know their motivations. However, we believe that the people responsible are also reading these posts. With that in mind, the OAC is exercising discretion about what tactics we may be pursuing to address this serious issue. We ask that our members be similarly discreet.
While the events are ongoing, there have been some developments.
The OAC has been in ongoing communication with land managers and the OPP on this matter, and the discussions have been positive. This matter is serious, and efforts are underway.
Devil’s Glen is on public land and we understand that Ontario Parks is happy to have climbers enjoy the space.
Do not engage with individuals who approach you 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 can 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 with the OAC any information you may have related to this ongoing situation.
Please Report further incidents
We continue to encourage all climbers to report any suspicious activity to us. Contact us here. If you are approached aggressively by anyone in the park or surrounding area, or if you experience 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.
What the OAC is doing
We are often asked what efforts are underway to remedy this situation.
As this is ongoing, we prefer not to discuss our plans publicly — but rest assured, this is a high-priority task for us, and we are working with agencies assisting us in solving this.
We will keep you posted on developments.
The Silver Lining
When faced with challenges, we try to find a silver lining.
From the beginning, climbers who’ve visited the crag and experienced this nuisance have taken the high road.
Everyone has handled it like champs and demonstrated respect and care for the space. (Thanks for the clean-up efforts, gang!)
As a community, we are working to find solutions through dialogue and long-term solutions, and this has not gone unnoticed by the various agencies we work with. (Thanks to everyone—go team!)
Parking and Access
New parking restrictions exist on the side of Concession 10 (by Devil’s Glen) to accommodate local farmers.
Climbers are still encouraged to park on Concession 10, but No-Parking signs will prohibit parking for the first 175 metres on the east side of the road, and the first 50 metres on the west side, and will be enforced by Bylaw.
Outlined below are our current guidelines for accessing Cow Crag.
There are ongoing discussions regarding a dispute about property boundaries. In the meantime, the direct access trail (blue line) is CLOSED as it runs through private property.
Currently, access is via the clear-cut trail (purple line). This route is less convenient and a little longer at about one kilometre, and we appreciate your understanding.
When parking, ensure you respect the No Parking signs at the turnaround – cars which are parked illegally here cause problems for tractors and larger vehicles using the turnaround circle. Additionally, make sure to park on the shoulder, ensuring that your tires are completely off the road.
Discussions to sort out the boundaries are ongoing, and we will keep you posted on developments. If you experience issues or have information to share, please contact us.
The Clearview Township Council is placing restrictions on parking on the side of Concession 10 (by Devil’s Glen) in order to accommodate local farmers. Climbers are still encouraged to park on Concession 10, but no-parking signs will prohibit parking for the first 175 metres on the east side of the road as well as the first 50 metres on the west side, and will be enforced by Bylaw.
This change is in direct response to concerns from local farmers, who have been unable to pass through this section of Concession 10 with farm equipment due to cars parked on both sides of the road. The OAC is supportive of this change as it presents a good compromise for climbers & farmers in the area! Again, please ensure you do not leave any valuables in your parked car, and enjoy the crag responsibly.
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.