Climbing is dangerous! To better inform climbers about the hazards associated with climbing at our Ontario crags, the Ontario Alliance of Climbers has collected beta about our crags: the approach, the character of the routes, and rescue logistics. Climbers are responsible for making their own safety decisions, and we recommend that climbers in remote areas have at least an up-to-date Wilderness First Aid certification. We also recommend that climbers acquire and use a climbing guidebook. Use this information at your own risk.

We use a downhill skiing-inspired rating system: the green circle 🟢 denotes “easy”, the blue square 🟦 denotes “intermediate”, and the black diamond denotes “advanced”.

Approach. We rate the difficulty of getting from the parking lot to the main climbs for the area.

Difficulty/seriousness of routes. While many areas have a range of difficulties, at some cliffs the easiest route is still at least intermediate or advanced. Also, trad climbing on Escarpment limestone is more serious than sport climbing. Here 🟢 includes sport routes up to 5.7, 🟦 to 5.10, and for 5.11 and up. 

Rescue logistics. This includes cell signal as well as difficulty of evacuation due to terrain. We recommend that climbers be aware of where cell signal is available in case of emergency. See the detailed descriptions for more information.

The following table is a summary of information below. We recommend reading the full description for each area that you plan to visit.

ApproachDifficultyRescue
Niagara Region
Niagara Glen🟢  🟢-🟢-
Milton
Rattlesnake & Bottleglass🟢🟢-🟦🟢
Buffalo Crag🟢🟢-🟦🟢
Mount Nemo🟦🟢-
Kelso🟢🟦-🟦
Fraggle Rock🟦🟦
ApproachDifficultyRescue
Beaver Valley
Devil’s Glen🟢🟢-🟦
The Swamp🟢🟢-
Al Qaeda🟢🟢-🟦
Metcalfe🟢🟢-🟦
Old Baldy🟢🟢-🟦
Bruce Peninsula
Cape Croker🟢🟦-
TV Tower🟢🟦-
Lion’s Head⧫⧫
White Bluff🟦
Halfway Log Dump🟦-🟢-🟦

Detailed Information

Niagara Region

Niagara Glen

Approach: Easy access down stairs. 10-30min
Route difficulty: Boulder problems of all difficulties. No roped climbing.
Rescue: Contact 911. Cell signal may be nonexistent in some areas of the Glen. Network of trails may prove challenging for EMS. Evacuation along river boulders will be challenging. Meeting EMS at base of stairs to direct them to injured party recommended.

Milton

Rattlesnake/Bottleglass

Approach: Easy access down stairs. 5-15min.
Route difficulty: Easy to moderate sport and trad routes. All routes can be toproped from bolt anchors on cliff top.
Rescue: Contact 911 and inform gatehouse of injury.

Buffalo Crag

Approach: Access to base down easy 3rd class gully. 20min.
Route difficulty: Easy to intermediate trad climbs. All routes can be toproped from bolt anchors on cliff top.
Rescue: Contact 911 and inform gate house of injury and specific location. Meet EMS at top of gully.

Mount Nemo

Approach: Access to base varies from steep trail to potentially treacherous down climbs. 30-40min.
Route difficulty: Easy to difficult sport and trad routes. 
Rescue: Contact 911. No easy approach to base. Provide exact location as per red numerical plates fixed to cliff face.

Kelso

Approach: Access via steep walking trail. 15min.
Route difficulty: Easy to intermediate sport and trad routes. 
Rescue: Contact 911 and inform gatehouse of injury.

Fraggle Rock

Approach: Access to base varies from steep gullies, rappelling, to potentially treacherous down climbs. 20min.
Route difficulty: Easy to intermediate sport and trad routes.  Most routes are traditional with questionable protection.
Rescue: WARNING! EVACUATION FROM THIS AREA WILL BE CHALLENGING!! Contact 911. Inform Kelso gatehouse. Meet EMS at parking area and direct them to injured party. 

Beaver Valley

Devil’s Glen

Approach: Access via steep gully or potentially slippery path. 20-45min
Route difficulty: Easy to difficult sport and trad routes.
Rescue: Contact 911.  Meet EMS at trailhead and direct them to injured party. 

The Swamp

Approach: Complicated trail network with potential for EMS to get lost.  Potential slippery descent. 30-60min
Route difficulty: Easy to difficult sport and trad routes.
Rescue: WARNING! EVACUATION FROM THE SWAMP IS CHALLENGING!! CELL SIGNAL MAY NOT EXIST!!! Contact 911. Meet EMS at Kolapore Uplands parking area. Expect numerous challenges and potential significant costs.

Al Qaeda

Approach: Access from short trails to near base. Some potential for EMS to get lost. 20min
Route difficulty: Easy to difficult sport and trad routes.
Rescue: WARNING! CELL SIGNAL MAY NOT EXIST!!! Contact 911. Meet EMS at parking area and direct them to injured party. 

Metcalfe

Approach: Access from short trails to base. 5-15min
Route difficulty: Easy to difficult sport and trad routes. Top roping possible.
Rescue: Contact 911. Meet EMS at parking area and direct them to injured party. 

Old Baldy

Approach: Access on climbers’ trails including steep descent trail. 15min
Route difficulty: Easy to difficult sport and trad routes.
Rescue: Contact 911. Meet EMS at parking area and direct them to injured party. 

Bruce Peninsula

Cape Croker

Approach: Access via steep walking trail. 10-60min
Route difficulty: Easy to difficult sport and trad routes.
Rescue: WARNING! EVACUATION FROM THIS AREA WILL BE CHALLENGING!! Contact 911. Meet EMS at parking area and direct them to injured party. 

TV Tower

Approach: Access via sometimes poison-ivy-infested trails. 10min
Route difficulty: Intermediate to difficult sport and trad routes.
Rescue: WARNING! EVACUATION FROM THIS AREA WILL BE CHALLENGING!! CELL SIGNAL MAY NOT EXIST!!! Contact 911. Meet EMS at parking area and direct them to injured party. 

Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head is not an area for new climbers, despite the moderate grades on Latvian Ledge (which are currently without hangers, i.e. not protectable).

Approach: Access to base varies from steep gullies, rappelling and potentially treacherous down climbs. 45-60min
Route difficulty: Intermediate to difficult sport and trad routes. 
Rescue: WARNING! EVACUATION FROM THIS AREA WILL BE CHALLENGING!! Cell signal unreliable but stronger at cliff than in town. Contact 911. Meet EMS at parking area and direct them to injured party. Evacuation options severely limited due to cliff top access.

White Bluff

Approach: Access via road, rock beach, and talus base. 30-45min
Route difficulty: Limited moderate to difficult trad, intermediate to difficult sport routes.
Rescue: WARNING! EVACUATION FROM THIS AREA WILL BE CHALLENGING!! CELL SIGNAL MAY NOT EXIST!!! Contact 911. Meet EMS at end of Whippoorwill Road and direct them to injured party. 

Halfway Log Dump

Approach: Access via trail, rock beach and talus base. Depends on water levels and requires scrambling to get around. 20 min
Route difficulty: Boulder problems of all difficulties.
Rescue: WARNING! EVACUATION FROM THIS AREA WILL BE CHALLENGING DUE TO TERRAIN!! CELL SIGNAL MAY NOT EXIST!!! Contact 911. Meet EMS at parking area and direct them to injured party.