Rock Climbing The Niagara Escarpment

Do you remember the days of free climbing as a child? More specifically climbing without a rope; when you just scrambled up here and there? I still remember the moment when I had climbed too high to jump down and then realized I had to keep going up except that I wasn’t on a rope. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. When I learned how to set up top rope anchors, I opened myself to a whole new world of being to test my climbing ability with the safety of a rope.

Companies like ours, One Axe Pursuits, are dedicated to teaching novices how to safely set-up top rope climbs. Although many times climbing set-up technique is offered for free from a friend or a friend of a friend, errors get passed down the line and there’s always the problem with miscommunication and lack of updated information. And well, this is your life we’re talking about. Courses allow you to be focused on the set-up, have an instructor check and monitor you as well as keep you safe. Once you have the courses behind you, you can join clubs or make your own and climb essentially for free minus the permit fees and equipment you need to buy. It will open up a whole new playground for you.

Christa-Niravong-Belaying
At Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area, you have over a hundred routes to climb and most of them are side by side so beginners and hardcore (more experienced) climbers can be next to each other. Rattlesnake Point has easily accessible parking, a staircase to the bottom of the cliff and a view that leaves you in amazement.

rattlesnakepoint-map
If you want to stay away from the large courses and groups at Rattlesnake Point, recreational climbers can head to Kelso Conservation AreaMt. Nemo and Buffalo Crag at Rattlesnake Point. Routes in these climbing locations range from easy 5.0 to extremely hard climbs of 5.12 and range on average from 50ft to 90ft. Remember, most people find outdoor ratings are quite different from indoor ratings and a 30ft indoor wall requires less endurance than the 80ft outdoor wall. It is also important to know that at certain locations like Rattlesnake Point and Buffalo Craig, you should use the installed Top Rope anchor bolts or that at Mt. Nemo and Kelso, you can only lead climb (traditional or sport).Metcal

If you want to avoid paying any permit fees and are willing to drive a couple hours north of Toronto, you can head to Metcalfe Rock near Collingwood. This is Crown Land which means you don’t have to pay anything to climb there. Metcalfe also has a variety of climbs with very short climbs 20ft to very high climbs 100ft with routes ranging from 5.0 to 5.12. Metcalfe Rock will also have climbing schools teaching on the easier climbs it so you will have to share the space. Metcalfe Rock shares a parking lot with the Kolapore trail access points. Don’t miss the freshwater spring as you hike in to the cliff. I love visiting in autumn when the forest floor is decorated with a blanket of yellow leaves and the air is cooler.

Remember to be courteous when sharing the cliff. The climbing schools often pay permit fees and have large groups that they need to accommodate. As a recreational climber, I would head to the places where I could have more of the rock to myself and climb on days that the schools often are not out like weekdays or Sundays. Or come in the afternoon after 3:30pm and most schools are finishing up with clients and you can still get a good afternoon of solid climbing and watch the sunset.

Read the original blog post here.