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.
We have been in recent discussions with local homeowners concerning climber behaviour at Devil’s Glen. While the local homeowners are supportive of climbers, there has been an increase in issues related to parking, trespassing & garbage.
Parking – Do not park near homeowner driveways. This can create a frustrating and dangerous situation for homeowners getting in and out of their driveways. Park on Concession Road 10 whenever possible.
Trespassing – Do not trespass through homeowner land to access the park. The police will be called if anyone is found trespassing.
Dogs – If you MUST bring your dog, it must remain leashed and you must carry out dog waste. Even left behind in a biodegradable bag, your dog waste remains an eye sore for over a year and is disruptive for other park users who frequent the trails near the water, along the cliff base and above. The OAC recommends against bringing your dog to parks where climbing access is only listed as “Tolerated”. Devil’s Glen is a crag at which climbing is only “Tolerated”.
Human Waste & Toilet Paper – If you are caught in an emergency and need to poop and/or use toilet paper at the crag, the OAC recommends packing out all your waste. If you are unable to pack it out, you must bury your waste at least 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet away from the nearby river and trails. Toilet paper can take up to 3 years to decompose, and poop can take up to a year.
Drones – Recreational drones are not permitted in Provincial parks. Under no circumstance should you bring a drone to Devil’s Glen or any other Ontario Park. Not only are they illegal but they are extremely disruptive to fellow climbers.
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! 🤞
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)
The OAC is excited to announce our next Virtual Town Hall to be held Monday, January 18th, at 7pm.
In this Town Hall, the volunteers of the OAC will discuss current access concerns that affect your favourite crags across Ontario. We’ll share the actions we’re taking to address key access issues and our priorities for the Spring 2021 climbing season.
If you’ve been feeling a bit out of the loop, this is a great opportunity to learn about the work our volunteers do on behalf of our community. We’ll open the floor to questions, and we encourage you to email us with specific topics you’d like to see addressed ahead of time. Please send any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?
Q12: When you climbed outside in 2019, how many other people did you typically go with?
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 ❤
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!).
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!
The Crags Calendar helps us raise awareness and funds in support of Ontario access. Please consider donating a photo! Send your best shots to email@example.com 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 😉
Thank you to everyone who tuned in for our AGM last Monday! We had great turnout, with at least 71 members tuning in. Congratulations to Randy Kielbasiewicz, Patrick Lam, and Mike Makischuk, who have all been re-elected to the Board for another two-year term. Randy and Mike Penney will also continue to serve as Co-Chairs of the Board.
Our meeting minutes and a summary of our Access Sends for the 2019-2020 year can be found below:
We’d like to present Tony Berlier with the 2020 Ontario Alliance of Climbers Service Award. As you enjoy expanded access to Ontario crags, be sure to thank Tony for his essential contributions!
Tony has been the man holding together the OAC from before its inception, serving as co-chair from 2009 through 2019. He took on a ton of unglamourous behind-the-scenes administrative work to make sure the OAC continues to exist and to advocate for access for Ontario climbers. For a long time, he welcomed us to Board meetings in his backyard and organized the meetings (which is a ton of work). Tony chaired AGMs, maintained the membership database, and emailed all members with AGM notices. He did the day-to-day financial transactions to keep the OAC running — all of the boring, but necessary, tasks.
The final test of one’s success at a task is being able to hand it off to one’s successors, and Tony has managed to pass on essentially all of his tasks to the next generation of OAC volunteers, while giving us occasional advice. Thanks for everything Tony!
We decided to spruce up the Metcalfe parking lot with the addition of two porta potties for the rest of the season!
The surge in visitors to our green spaces has unfortunately meant that our parks are becoming littered and filled with waste. In an effort to help keep our crags clean, we’ve fronted the $1000 bill for toilet service which will help climbers and hikers alike.
Please consider making a donation to support this initiative! We’d like to recoup the costs so that we can continue to finance crag improvements on an ongoing basis.
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.