2021 Calendar Sales are Live!

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Jacob Bell on ‘Shot Across the Bow’ at Old Baldy. Photo by Connor Drummond.

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.

You can also find copies for sale at the following Ontario locations:
Alt.Rock
Boulderz – both Etobicoke and Junction locations
The Core
Grand River Rocks – both Waterloo and Kitchener locations
Junction Climbing
Ontario Resoles
Toprock Climbing

The Current Status of Outdoor Climbing in Ontario

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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!

Guidelines for Climbing in a Pandemic Poster

On Being Thoughtful During Times of Need

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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.

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:

OAC 2021 AGM Announcement

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Save the Date: The OAC Annual General Meeting will be held Tuesday, September 14, at 7PM!  We will once again be holding our AGM virtually.

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 recent developments, 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 August 29.  Details for the virtual meeting will be announced August 31 via official email to all OAC members.  Hope to see you all there!

Devil’s Glen Access Update

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Yesterday, climbers at Devil’s Glen were approached by Ontario Parks wardens and advised that climbing is no longer tolerated on the cliffside areas located on Ontario Parks property. (This applies to all routes east of, or to the climber’s right of, the Nutcracker area. Routes farther west are located on Crown Land, which Ontario Parks has no authority over.)

The OAC has contacted Ontario Parks to obtain an official statement on these new enforcement measures. Until we receive a formal statement, we will not acknowledge a change in access status to this public land. Climbing at Devil’s Glen is considered Tolerated and climbers have long been great ambassadors for this beautiful area.

Climbers are encouraged to continue climbing at Devil’s Glen in the meantime. If you encounter park staff and are asked to move, please obtain the contact information of the staff member and provide them with the OAC’s email address (info@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca). If you are threatened with a ticket, please ask them to clarify what the exact offence is and the amount of the fine. If you encounter park staff or local homeowners, please be respectful and provide details of your encounter to the OAC as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support as we work towards resolution.

Attention: Devil’s Glen Climbers

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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.

Park along Concession Road 10.  Do not park on Highway 124 between the trailhead at the pedestrian side and Concession Road 10.
  • 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.

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)

Virtual Town Hall Announcement: Jan 18th @7pm

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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 info@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca.

Register for the Town Hall in advance! We hope to see you there.

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: