Crag Updates, Spring 2022

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Here’s a brief rundown on Crag Updates for Spring 2022.

Halton Crags

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.

Turtle 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.

Hamilton

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!

Rockwood

Currently, no change – there is no climbing permitted at Rockwood. The stakeholders have no interest in allowing climbing at this time.

Campden

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.

Cow Crag

We have published parking and access guidelines – click here to see the latest.

Devil’s Glen

The situation is ongoing. For the latest news and new parking guidelines, click here.

Metcalfe

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.

Lion’s Head

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!

Have Fun!

Devil’s Glen Update

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Let’s talk about what’s going on at Devil’s Glen.

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 wordsessentially, 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.

So what can climbers do?

Copied from our April news article:

  • 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.

We appreciate your understanding in this matter.

Enjoy the crag responsibly.

Devil's Glen Crag - Parking and Access

Cow Crag Update, June 2022

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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.

Cow Crag Access and Parking

Community Safety Alert: Devil’s Glen

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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)
  • Outlier
  • Wave of the Future (open, unclimbed project)
  • Hyperion
  • 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.

Ontario Crags Calendar 2022

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Monika Widjaja-Tam on ‘Safety Dance’ at The Swamp Photo by William Tam   @willtam85

Fresh off the presses – the 2022 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 our 11th edition and we’re excited to hang it on our walls!

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.

Get your copy now before they sell out!  You can also find copies for sale at the following Ontario locations:

Don’t see your gym listed?  Have them contact jessica.best@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca if they’re interested in selling copies!

NOTE: Online sales have currently sold out, please pick up your copy at one of our partnering gyms/vendors!

2021 OAC Survey

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The 2021 OAC Survey is available now! This survey helps inform us of community priorities for our advocacy initiatives, and takes only 15 minutes to complete.

We have added some new & important questions this year to help us better understand your experiences out at the crag. All entrants will be entered into a draw — there are two $50 MEC gift cards to be won! The submission deadline is December 21st, after which we’ll announce winners on our social media.

Click here to fill yours out now!

Submit your Ontario climbing photos for the 2022 Calendar NOW!

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It’s that time of year again!  Our call for photo submissions for the 2022 OAC Ontario Crags Calendar is now OPEN!!

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.  Let’s 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!).  In order to meet print standards, full size images must be clear and at least 8.5″x11″ at 300 dpi.
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!

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 SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16TH 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 here:

2021 Service Award Recipient & AGM Recording

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We’d like to present Dustin Johnston-Jewell with the 2021 Ontario Alliance of Climbers Service Award. As you enjoy expanded access to Ontario crags, be sure to thank Dustin for his essential contributions!

Dustin has been heavily involved with the OAC for quite some time, and though he will humbly downplay his role, has been integral to our operations for many years. Dustin led the push to create a social media presence for the OAC, expanding our reach and helping greatly with communication and education initiatives. He has also assisted with volunteer coordination and recruitment efforts, and is one of our superstar tabling representatives at events!

More recently, Dustin has been putting a ton of time and effort into securing climbing access at Campden. He has successfully built up a working relationship with the land managers of Cave Springs Recreation Area, and helped arrange rope access for their biologist to perform the necessary ecological assessment of the cliff. Due to his efforts, Cave Springs will be submitting a land management plan for review by the end of this year, which will include consideration for climbing! We still have a ways to go before access is officially secured, but we are making huge gains thanks to Dustin’s work!

Even if you’re not aware of his work behind the scenes, if you’ve seen Dustin at the crag you will know him as an excellent ambassador for the community. His passion for climbing, endless psych, and love of helping others are second to none. Thank you for everything Dustin!

Our initial announcement of this year’s service award recipient was made during our 2021 AGM this past Tuesday. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend! We had over 50 members present. For those who wish to watch the recording, it is now available here:

Virtual Town Hall Recap – January 18, 2021

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Thank you to everyone who tuned into our latest Virtual Town Hall! We had over 160 attendees tune in throughout the night, with great discussion about access issues at some key Ontario crags.

Campden, Rockwood, and the Turtle (all of which are currently closed to climbing) were discussed in depth, as well as lockdown restrictions and some much needed talk about our mandate as an organization.

A complete recording of the meeting is available below. We look forward to seeing you out and about soon! 🤞

QUICK LINKS:

0:03:55 – Who we are
0:05:38 – What we do
0:11:46 – Covid update
0:24:25 – Rockwood
0:35:10 – Turtle
0:37:53 – Campden
0:51:17 – Ice climbing updates
0:56:05 – Other updates (education initiatives, access negotiations, Conservation Halton & the Turtle)
1:00:01 – Community Questions via email (Beaver Valley hunting season, Devil’s Glen and Metcalfe parking, Lion’s Head, drones, bouldering development enquiries)
1:18:44 – Live Community Questions (Crag X, winter Kolapore access is ski only, OAC fundraising model)