Top 5 places to rock climb in Southern Ontario


January 7, 2019


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When we are talking best places to climb we have to ask what type of climbing you are doing. While Ontario is relatively flat we have a lot of climbing to offer, you just have to know where to look.  From bouldering to steep sport climbing with a smidge of multi-pitch trad climbing, whatever your flavour, you can find rock to your liking.

Best Bouldering – Niagara Glen
Bouldering is climbing short, but hard problems that don’t need a rope for protection, just a crash pad or two and a spot from your partners.  A short distance down from the Falls there is a wonderland of boulder problems in Niagara Glen. This area at the south end of the Escarpment is limestone making for varied climbing.  Being in the shade and on the river it tends to be cooler than the surrounding area .

Best Variety- Mt. Nemo
While Mt. Nemo isn’t actually a mountain, it is one of the biggest climbing areas with a couple hundred routes. With both bolted and trad routes, there is enough variety to please most intermediate to advanced climbers. Cracks, chimneys, overhangs, crimpy face climbing and jugs, almost all styles of climbing are represented here. In the summer, the north facing cliffs are in the shade and the caves around the base feel air conditioned.

Best for beginners – Rattlesnake Point Conservation area
What do beginners need for it to be a great climbing area?  Easy access, fixed anchors for setting up top ropes and lots of easy to moderate climbs. At Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area you have all three of these in abundance. There are three cliffs (Rattlesnake Point, Bottle Glass and Buffalo Crag) totalling a few hundred climbs. The furthest is only a 15 minute walk on easy trails and the top of all the cliffs have fixed bolts that are installed and maintained by the conservation authority.  With a bit of knowledge and a bit of gear you can have a safe top rope set-up in place within minutes. As well, Rattlesnake Point is the only place in Southern Ontario you can take outdoor climbing courses. Check out our partner, On The Rocks Guiding service for top rope, sport lead and trad lead classes.

Link for On The Rocks :

Best Sport Climbing – Lion’s Head
If you become obsessed with sport climbing, then Lion’s Head will be on your radar with a mix of the hardest climbing in the province and the beauty of a crag that rises out of Georgian Bay. There are even routes you have to rappel from the top of the cliff and start with hanging below just above the water. But don’t be too intimidated, there are climbs starting from 5.9 with relatively easy access. And in addition to the great climbing, Lion’s Head is a nice little town to spend the weekend.

Best Intro to Multi-Pitch Climbing – Bon Echo Provincial Park
Most climbing in Southern Ontario is less than a rope length but the cliff rising out of Mazinaw Lake is up to 300 feet high, so it is a perfect place to practice multi-pitch with over a hundred granite climbs from 5.0-5.11. Some climbs even start right out of the lake so you need to canoe in to start the route. Since this is a provincial park you need to pay an access fee and sign a waiver. There are more rules than you will find in other places but the climbing is worth the trouble.

Gear up for adventure by visiting the climbing section of our website.


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