2019 OAC Climbers’ Survey Results

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Thanks to all 368 of you who responded to our survey (once again, a record). With some hard work from Brittany Schaefer and survey design from Laura Duncan and Patrick Lam, we’re pleased to release the full survey results. Here are two tidbits:

Q4: In 2019, which Ontario crag did you climb at most often? In 2020, which Ontario crag do you aspire to climb at the most?

Mount Nemo was the most popular crag in 2019; The Swamp and Lion's Head are aspirational crags for 2020.

Q12: When you climbed outside in 2019, how many other people did you typically go with?

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:

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.

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!

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:

2019 OAC Climber Survey Open Now

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It’s that time of year again — the 2019 OAC Climber Survey is now open! This year we’re surveying climber attitudes to help inform our advocacy initiatives. Information we gather will remain confidential and anonymous, and the survey takes only 15 minutes to complete.

We have two $50 MEC gift certificates and some OAC swag to raffle off, so fill out your response today! The last day for entry submission is Sunday, July 19th. Raffle winners will be announced on August 1st.

Complete the survey here:

Our Official Statement in Support of Black and Indigenous Lives

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Until now, we had not issued a statement in support of Black lives following the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others at the hands of racially motivated violence. Historically, we have limited our public statements to land management access issues.  However, our members need to know that as an organization, we support equality.  Black Lives Matter.  Indigenous Lives Matter. There is no room for debate here.

Systemic racism is not unique to the United States; discrimination against Black and Indigenous peoples is prevalent in Canada’s past and present as well. We acknowledge that climbing is not immune to systemic racism, which affects members of our community in both subtle and overt ways. We also recognize that access to the outdoors and the resources to climb are luxuries that are not available to everyone equally.

We would like to thank our community members who reached out to us about our stance on recent events. We hear you.  We apologize for not speaking up sooner.  We are learning, and we are changing. 

We changed our name to the Ontario Alliance of Climbers because we want to unite the Ontario climbing community. Being representatives of our community, we cannot ignore important social issues that impact our members.

We have a lot to learn about how systemic racism affects our ability to ensure access for our members, and how we can work to dismantle it. Areas of influence we’ve identified include: 

The groups we work with
We will pay attention to the companies and organizations we accept support from, and those that we support. We will refuse to work with anyone who fosters racist or discriminatory behaviours. We will also help elevate outdoor initiatives which support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and equality in climbing when we are able to. If you are interested in contributing something in this realm, please reach out to us at info@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca. We’d be happy to work together to find a way to assist you.

The events we host
We have a zero-tolerance policy for racist and discriminatory behaviours at our events.  All OAC functions are safe spaces for our community. We will work to promote diversity and inclusion at our events, and we will investigate ways to lower barriers for entry.

The composition of our board of directors
We acknowledge the lack of diversity on our board of directors. This is something we cannot change without your help. We are a small, volunteer run organization filled with people who are passionate about climbing and climbing access. We want you to know that we are not just welcoming of all volunteers, we encourage your participation.  Help us by getting involved. Take a seat at our table. We want to hear what you have to say, so that we can understand how to represent the community best. Please join us.  Send an email to info@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca if you would like to get involved.

Our community involvement
We have decided to create a Nominations Committee to actively reach out to community members to get involved with us.  As a volunteer organization, we are always eager to have more voices join us.  Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of the opportunities to get involved.  We’ll take a more active role in soliciting the public when we think someone may offer a different perspective or skill set, and we’ll work to increase our diversity.  Please feel free to nominate community members you think would be an asset in our continued fight for open access!

Our continued growth and education
We know that the movement doesn’t end when the protests do. This is a lifelong learning opportunity. We will make race and inequality subjects of ongoing discourse. We have always kept an eye on international crag access issues to stay informed and to learn from activities elsewhere. It is our responsibility to add issues of inequality which impact the outdoors to our discussions, whether they have occurred locally or far from home. We will continue to help each other learn by sharing resources and having tough conversations. 

The messages we share on social media
We do our best to ensure that our messaging is always thoughtful, considerate, and respectful. We have made efforts to showcase the diversity of the Ontario climbing community in our posts, and will continue to do so. If you have images you would like to share with us, please tag @ontarioallianceofclimbers or send them to submissions@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca. We love having the opportunity to meet our members and celebrate the outdoors with them. Moving forward, we will no longer be silent on issues of equality. There is no room for racism and discrimination in our sport.  Please help us when we make a mistake. We are learning, just as many of you are.

There are many resources others have already created to help us learn to be better allies for BIPOC in the outdoor community. If you are looking to understand how you can help, please consider these materials that we have found to be insightful:




We look forward to continued progress in the fight for equity. We will do our best to keep the needle moving in the right direction. The outdoors is a place for all, and we look forward to seeing you out there.


The Ontario Alliance of Climbers

Randy Kielbasiewicz, Co-Chair
Mike Penney, Co-Chair
Patrick Lam, Director
Mike Makischuk, Director
Kacy Wilson, Director
Tony Berlier
Jessica Best
Tyler Coffin
Jeremy Fortier
Dustin Johnston-Jewell
Jenna Rines
John Vellone

The Niagara Glen opens to bouldering

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The OAC is excited to announce that we just received official word from the Niagara Parks Commission – The Niagara Glen is officially open to bouldering!

All trails are open, excluding the Whirlpool trail, which is flooded at the moment. Niagara Parks buildings are still closed, therefore, bouldering permits can’t currently be purchased in person. However, you can purchase a permit online at: https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit-niagara-parks/nature-activities/bouldering/

The park has asked that climbers print their confirmation and keep it with them as their permit. You can also print off a second confirmation and put it on your dashboard to use as your parking pass.

In addition to following all regular park rules, we suggest climbers yield to hikers at all times. If padding a climb blocks a path or makes social distancing difficult, please avoid climbing that boulder. The park has mentioned the possibility of closing some boulders to better facilitate social distancing, so it’s up to us to be respectful and share the space to avoid having boulders closed.

Please remember to follow all Leave No Trace principles, and consider our guidelines for climbing responsibly during the ongoing pandemic.

Please enjoy responsibly! 

Guidelines for Climbing in a Pandemic Poster
A simplified version of our guidelines for climbing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ontario Climbing Access Update

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Grey County has notified the OAC in response to our inquiries that they are now welcoming visitors to their outdoor areas! Grey Sauble has also confirmed that rock climbing is no longer prohibited by Provincial Order. With this news, we are happy to announce that climbing access is now open at Metcalfe, The Swamp, and Old Baldy, without any travel advisories.

Please check our crag status document for updates.

The North Bruce Peninsula, where Lions Head is located, has also officially announced it is welcoming visitors! If you choose to climb there please be mindful that Lions Head is an advanced crag and access there is extremely sensitive. The OAC has been informed of the temporary removal of all moderate Latvian Ledge routes for the purposes of rehabilitation. These routes represent the bulk of moderate routes at Lions Head. Please ensure your plans do not require these routes to be available, and remember that top roping at Lions Head is not permitted. It may be difficult to secure overnight accommodations at this time as many campgrounds are not yet open, so plan ahead before you go. Car camping is not allowed and people caught doing so will be ticketed.

It is important to remember that although the province is beginning to open up again, COVID-19 still poses a serious threat to smaller communities. If you choose to climb, it is important to plan your outings responsibly. Take all necessary precautions, follow our guidelines on how to climb during this pandemic, and enjoy some good weather!

Guidelines for Climbing in a Pandemic Poster

Ontario Releases Framework for Stage 1

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Today, the Ontario government released a framework for Stage 1 of reopening the province.  While this is exciting news, it is not yet clear how our crags are affected by this latest announcement.  We are reviewing the information and reaching out to land managers.  We aim to make a statement by Saturday. 

Until then, please exercise good judgment, do your research, and if in doubt, err on the side of caution to avoid negatively impacting access.