Dorion Tower: The Pinnacle of Northwestern Ontario

Finally got out to this Amazing 22 metre tower in the canyon country of Dorion. It was a beautiful day and it felt so nice to be outside among these amazing pillars of basalt. There was nine of us and the climb we did was an easy 5.6 grade, route called Canineā€¦ A most enjoyable relaxed climb. We took turns climbing the tower and taking pictures. From the top of the tower you can see the entire length of Black Bay on Lake Superior along with the vast canyons created during glacial flood events about 9,500 years ago, pretty awesome perspective! See below for slideshow of all pics

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Taking full advantage of a beautiful day in Northwestern Ontario!

Yesterday I woke up around 8am and got an early start to the day as i watched the sunrise over the sleeping giant on Lake Superior out my apartment window. I sat down at my computer and started to get organized for the day as i continually glanced out at the rising sun. I thought ‘Damn it’s really going to be a nice day!’ I should do something outside. Shortly after I noticed a post on facebook from some of my friends who were going out climbing at Pass Lake, 40mins east of Thunder Bay. I decided that I simply had to go and got in touch with them ASAP and made it out. They were not leaving until 11am and it was 8am so this motivated me to hammer out a few solid hours of work in on the guidebook before enjoying the glorious +16 weather.

The beautiful south facing sandstone bluffs on the Sibley Penninsula are quite a popular climbing destination for people in the northwestern ontario region. The cliffs at Pass Lake are part of a formation of sedimentary rocks known as the Sibley Group that was deposited 1.5 to 1.3 billion years ago. This group extends from Lake Superior to Lake Nipigon and is is a red bed sequence preserved in a fault-bounded basin. The sandstone at this particular formation at Pass Lake is primarly composed of quartz sand grains with some feldspar and rock fragments. It is a unique rock to climb as most of northwestern ontario is composed of diabase cliffs of volcanic origin.

There is such a vast variety of climbing routes at Pass Lake, Lots of bolts for variety of sport leads, good places to top rope, and some challenging trad routes.

It was my first time climbing here and second time out this season. I found the rock quite challenging, some tough overhanging moves and tricky holds makes this place a favorite for experiences climbers. I attempted to lead an easier climb but chickened out since i still need to climb a few times to get myself in climbing shape and conditioned to confidently climb above the rope again. All in all it was a fantastic day and i can’t wait to get out more!

A New Perspective of the Nipigon Region: World Class Ice

So i decided to join a crew of experienced ice-climbers as they made their way to the Orient Bay area off Highway 11 north of the town of Nipigon in the heart of Northwestern Ontario. The area is a giant canyon that has been carved when water out of Glacial Lake Agassiz (present day Lake Winnipeg) started to flood eastward through Lake Nipigon and out the Nipigon River into Lake Superior about 9,500 years ago. The Nipigon River still has the Largest amount of water flow into Lake Superior over any other river.The valley i like to call the “Northwestern Ontario’s Yosemite Valley of Ice”, has the perfect environment for ice to form along its cliffs creating many ice layered waterfalls which are ideal for ice-climbing. We did a variety of climbs, i think all of which were at least two pitches (70m+) camping out for the night and driving in and out of Nipigon to have a nice meal at the Husky Restaurant while we watched an addicted gambling truck driver display an immense waste of paper from purchasing lotto tickets by the stack over and over again. We camped out for the night and had to continuously move our vehicle off the road to let logging trucks go by. The highway is so tight here you have to dig yourself a parking spot. Some of the approaches were so intense i felt like i was mountaineering (which i guess i was).

All in all the whole experience gave me a lot of confidence with ice-climbing and a new perspective of winter in Northwestern Ontario. Can’t wait to be able to get out again

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