Alpine Club Of Canada

Thunder Bay Section

2009 - 2010 Ice Conditions Archive



Read This First!

CAUTION! Scrambling, technical rock, ice and mixed climbing and mountaineering activities are, by their very nature, potentially hazardous activities. You could be severely injured or killed while participating in them. The information presented in these conditions and trip reports is intended to supplement, NOT replace, sound judgement and experience. The accuracy or truth of any information presented here cannot be guaranteed and may change with time. Conditions in a given area or on a particular climb may (and likely will) vary from day to day or even hour to hour. Ice and mixed climbs in particular may vary considerably in safety, stability and overall condition over a short period of time. The onus is on the individual to verify the applicability of the information presented here to a given time and environment before using it as the basis of any kind of decision. This must not be your only source of information on any given subject. Seek additional information from guidebooks, reputable climbing schools, mountain guides, local climbers, Park Wardens and Rangers. Common sense and a strong will to survive must pervade your thoughts and actions. By using the information contained here, you are releasing the authors, contributors and The Alpine Club of Canada from any liability for any injury, including death, that may occur. You have been warned.

These conditions reports are limited to climbs in the Thunder Bay region, and to areas west of and including Thunder Bay, Orient Bay, Kama Hills and Ice Station Superior. All folks posting conditions are required to log in with a valid email address and password. As well, keep your postings clean and limited to conditions reports - this is not intended as a forum for discussion. Any postings containing foul language, erroneous information, false reports, slander, spam or other malicious content will be edited or removed at the discretion of the webmaster. As a rule the ACC Thunder Bay Section does not promote climbing without protective gear such as helmets or ropes. Any posts that suggest soloing or have photos of climbers without protective gear will be edited or removed. Censorship is definitely NOT cool, unfortunately these are our rules.

That said, get out there and start climbing!

If you want a location on any of the routes listed you may find them in the Community Maps

Here are some very old and outdated maps we have laying around.

Orient Bay Marathon


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Ice Conditions Report Archives
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Hully Gully (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:13-Mar-2010
Report:Brian and I went to OB for a quick swim up Hully Gully before packing it in for the season. That's it, we're done. I'm going fishing.
Orient Bay is finished. Everything is pouring water or deteriorated to the point of being unsafe. This blows! March 13th and ice climbing is done. We were robbed. The season started a month late and ends a month early. Who's in charge around here?

General Conditions (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:March 10, 2010
Report:Had to drive through the OB corridor on the way to work today, and what I saw was not good at all. I've had quite a few emails of the "we're thinking of coming up this weekend, how are conditions" type, so here's the details of what I saw:

Any climb that faces the sun at all is either done for the year or very, very close to it. Any steeper climbs have either collapsed or were doing so during the day today. Conditions overall are very bad and in some cases quite dangerous for those looking to get that last climb or two in. From south to north along the highway:

Parallax/Parsec is done, what is left is falling off, and all neighbouring climbs have all but disappeared. Mellow Yellow is hanging in there, barely, but much of looks delaminated. Hully Gully looks good but was flowing loudly. Gomar itself looks good but the middle looked to have a lot of water flowing over the ice surface, and the climbs in the left bowl above it are gone or about to be. Fast Stitty's Judgement was still in. April Ice, Glace Eclatante, Snowflakes Westwind, etc. are all done for the year. Bits of ice remain on all of them but climbing there would be stupid now. I didn't go into the Ice Palace, but could see that some ice remained on all of the classics, most notably High Fidelity, but I also heard some loud crashing of ice collapsing all the way from the highway. Reflection Wall has collapsed. The Right Stuff is still there but looks rotten and delaminated, and Amy R looks like a giant snow cone. Cascade is still there but looks rotten and had lots of water flowing this afternoon at 1pm, no holes yet but it looks cruddy. Ditto for Obsession. Gremlins/Slot Machine, Tempest and Ice Invaders are all still in, but Tempest in particular was melting away fast on the edges. Compulsion still looked okay. Psycho Icycho and Tears of Joy were also big, blue and looking good, but you could here the water running down them from the highway. What was left of Starquake was falling off (it's done) and Andromeda was hanging in there but melting fast with lots of rocks showing through in spots.

Provided things aren't too wet, the only options for those looking to get those last pitches in would likely be TofJ, Psycho, Compulsion, Ice Invaders and Hully Gully, and MAYBE Andromeda, Cascade and Mellow Yellow, and perhaps a climb in the Ice Palace (though it's likely dangerous in there). I could see one good rainfall demolishing all these for the season too.

Given the chance of rain in the forecast for the rest of the week, and the continued warm temps forecast as well, it's looking like things are close to done for the year unless something changes. If folks are lucky, they might sneak something in this weekend but I'm not holding my breath unless the weather changes.

In any case, if you choose to go ice climbing in the next few days, please use common sense and be prepared to change or cancel your plans at the last minute if things look unsafe. The climbs won't care how far you've driven to get those last pitches in or how little you got out before this day. I'd recommend an early start and strong consideration of overhead hazards, lots of rocks and such are coming down climbs now. It's possible some of the deep chimney climbs in Kama might be okay for this weekend, if a little wet, but that's about all I can think of unless the weather changes suddenly.

Seeing as the weather has been unseasonably warm (and strangely it's been about 5 degrees warmer in OB than in town lately), rain is in the forecast, and the morning lows are not forecast to even get near the freezing mark for the weekend, ice climbing may not even be a good idea. Go rock climbing instead, I hear Pass Lake and Silver Harbour have been stellar the past few weeks! I imagine Mt. Helen would be a good back up plan for the weekend - toss in the rock shoes just in case.

Nightfall (Devil's Track River)
Submitted by:fabio zorzes
Climbed on:Mar. 6/10
Report:Doug Mason and I took a drive to the Grand Marais area to check out the perennial favourite Nightfall.  It's a beautiful approach along the river to a terrific icefall in a spectacular setting.  The ice is currently in great shape climbing at about a 3+ rating with a bit of water starting to drip on the bottom third of the 65 metre chute.  However - TAKE NOTE!!  There is an extreme danger of falling rock from the scabby sides of the canyon.  A rock of about 15 in. diameter hurtled down without warning narrowly missing Doug and I and smashing into the thick river ice.  We quickly gathered our gear and departed poste-haste.  Unless there is a unexpected cold snap to consolidate the choss, this area should be avoided.

Artesian Wells (Whitefish Lake)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:7-Mar-2010
Report:With these crazy warm temps and the crowds in OB/Kama Nick and I decided to go to check out how Artesian has held up in these temps. The apron has not reformed but the top has steepened up quite a bit. There is still a WI3+/WI4- line on the far right. Lots of overhead danger on this climb. More so than normal. Go early and leave early. We were able to get in 2 laps on the right and left. By the time we rapped the second time the climb was starting to drip.
No need for a photo as it looks pretty much the same as my last photo.

General conditions in Kama are still OK but the sun is really doing damage. A couple more weeks and that will be pretty much it I am afraid. Be safe out there and keep your eyes peeled for overhead danger.

A bunch of routes (Ice Palace, OB)
Submitted by:Bryce Brown
Climbed on:March 4
Report:Checked out a few routes in Ice Palace yesterday with Duncan. Overall, conditions are VERY springlike. Routes still do-able, but probably not much longer in this heat. Better go soon! High Fidelity- Super interesting, fun, funky, awkward climbing. Lotsa rests make it somewhat easier than stated grade. From the ground looks like a cruise, but it is surprisingly awkward when you get on it. The one left of High Fidelity (sorry don’t know name) - Currently formed as a free hanging dagger. Climb behind dagger, place a pin, clip Nick’s old fixed spectre (tried to get it for you Nick, sorry), then a few moves up thin verglas on right wall, sink a screw high and swing over. Only about 20 feet of business, but what a 20 feet!! Evail Descence (sp?) - In classic, plastic, hooked out shape. Definitely in the best/funnest condition I’ve climbed it. Bottom bit is starting to get pretty rotted and probably won’t last too much longer. 10% Real - In very thin condition. The cave 1/3 way up (crux) is now protected with a solid baby angle. Work up inside the cave, clip pin, then step over right around a thin 1 foot column. A few gentle moves, then onto good ice again. The middle is thin/awkward, but solid. The top out from the fixed station up is not bad as there is nice rock steps in the corner and a column of ice on the left wall. Another few days and this top column may be detached - would suggest rapping route first to inspect to pillar’s potential to fall on your head before climbing route. I think I uploaded pics of Evail and 10%

Rainy Day Woman, Wet Ones (Squaw Bay)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:March 4
Report:Under sunny skies mid -afternoon in Thunder Bay, the water was running in the streets, but these two climbs were in great condition and perfect for a little exercise. They should both be around for a while longer. There were patches of snow on the routes but the really fat, dry, spring ice was a pleasant surprise. If anyone is starting to lead, Wet Ones is perfect for some practice. Someone left a rap ring on the left side of the steep(er) section of Wet Ones that could be used to stimulate some interesting discussion.  Sorry - no pics.

Pine River Falls (Pine River)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:28-Feb-2010
Report:I decided to go check out Warren Pringle’s new route on the Pine River today before the house hunting and hockey game. I have heard some good things. Very cool spot. Rap in, climb out kind of place. The hike in was fine, about 2 kms on pretty flat terrain. I would say the climbing is a little tougher than its given grade at the moment. The two tiers are mostly vertical with good gear throughout.
A really fun place and a fantastic find. Great addition to the local ice.

Getting Oriented Area (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:February 27, 2010
Report:

We climbed Getting Oriented and PG13 today and they were just as Jamie mentioned, fantastic.  PG13 was a bit awkward in the usual spots but good gear made everything warm and fuzzy.  Getting Oriented was sweeeeet and ate up the gear.  Thanks Jamie, everytime I went to swing there was already a tool placement just where I needed it so drafting was easy.  See Jamie's pictures for conditions but I've attached 2 shots - 1 looking down from Getting Oriented and the other of Vertically Oriented (what has formed this year anyway).


Ice Breakers Area (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:26-Feb-2010
Report:Brian and I went to Kama to Climb Ice Breakers are yesterday. It was still pretty cold when we arrived so I jumped on the Arete first. Good solid WI4 climbing with a bit of a spicy start. The ice down low is not so good and pro was dubious at best. Not to mention, small. Looking at 5 to 8 meters before your first real good piece. After that the climbing is secure and fun.

We dropped a TR down Ice Breakers proper so I could have a closer look. The ice down low was terrible. You even look at it wrong and it threatens to fall over. YUK. I tried a few screws but found junk for the first 15 metres. The climbing was awesome though. So I lowered to the ground and told Brian to come down because we were giving it a go. Lots of junk to hook that actually felt secure and inspiring. I climbed past my second screw a ways and found a very good screw. I would say about 12 to 15 metres or so. After this the climb was a steal. If you can wrap your head around the mind job down low you will find the last 2/3s fantastic. WI5+ R down low then it is straight forward steep climbing with great pro.

Next was Thermocules. The first ice dagger does not touch down so some crafty climbing using the rock wall to lean on will get you where you need to go. I wasn’t quite expecting, but pleasantly surprised at,  what I found on the last ice dagger. An umbrella guards the summit making for an interesting pull over to finish. Not sure what was more fun, this or IB.

Thanks to everyone, who was up there this year, for not taking my Coffee Crisp. I was hoping it would still be there after stashing it this fall.

The Siege, PG-13, Grand Mardy Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Jamie Knight
Climbed on:Feb 16
Report:John and I hoped to climb PG-13 today but it was terribly cold so we decided to walk over and climb the siege.  We were hoping we would get some more shelter from the wind over here, but unfortunately that was not the case.  The climb was lots of fun, the lower middle section is thin with some overhang.  Save this one for a warmer day!!!  After the siege we climbed grand mardy falls.  Which was in great shape.

Getting Oriented (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Jamie Knight
Climbed on:Feb 15
Report:John and I climbed getting oriented late in the afternoon.  The climb was in great condition, with good pro all the way up.  We exited to the right which had some more continuous ice.  The left exit is also possible.

General Conditoins/New Route (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:15-Feb-2010
Report:Given the current state Orient Bay is in right now I am really having a tough time becoming inspired. Up until two weeks ago when The Right Stuff formed, that is. That was fun sure, but the smear 1/3 the way down the arête was more inspiring. If we can’t find inspiration, we must manufacture it. Check the New Routes section for info.

I apologize for my previous version of this post. There was too much of “What I think” instead of “What is”. Better call the Whaaambulance because Wes is throwing another fit!

Here is how it is. There is still plenty of ice to be climbed. You may have to chop a little more to get secure pro but you will find it. All the moderates are fat and no gortex needed as most climbs look dry. Every climb should have a boot pack in as the area has not received a significant dump of fresh snow in quite a while. There are still many fun days in OB still ahead of us.

Grandy Mardy Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:Feb 14, 2010
Report:Here's pictures of the main climb at Grandy Mardy Falls (left to right).

Grandy Mardy Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:Feb 14, 2010
Report:

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  Since I was "Wesless" today Frank was nice enough to join me for a day of climbing.  First off I was treated to an awesome Valentine's Day breakfast cooked by Frank.  You rock man....Wes never cooks for me!  He doesn't even pack his own lunch.  We headed out to Kama Bay to see what Grandy Mardy Falls looked like.  We hiked up the river which has 3 mini climbs on it, the third being the steepest.  Up to the main climb and you have your choice of grade 3 to 4+ lines.  The far left is short and easy, the centre is steep and virtually featureless while the right lines are thin but would go on a much warmer day.  Thanks Frank, great day.

I'll post pictures for the river climbs and the main falls area.


New Mixed route? (Between RanxeroxTangent (sp?) and RemembertheDay)
Submitted by:Burton Lindquist
Climbed on:01-30-09
Report:Kudos to Dean Einerson for this ground up ascent of new mixed route in Ice Palace area between "Ranxerox Tangent" (sp?) and "Remember the Day".  He was racing to beat the setting sun.  I don't know how he kept his fingers warm enough as it was darn cold (Adam?- belayer- your a trooper).. Hope this photo does the effort justice as my little digital camera doesn't do so well in fading light conditions.

Whimpsicle (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Dave Rone
Climbed on:1/31
Report:

We saw the temps were supposed to be -20's C, so not wanting to miss out, Eric, Erol, Burt,  and I headed North.  But the cold and wind in the Kama Hills on Sunday was even more than we bargained for!  Can't say the first couple routes were much fun but we all felt better when the sun finally came around.  The day before, Dean suggested we give Whimpsickle a look, so here's what we found.  Excellent, sustained climbing throughout, with screws going from short to long the higher you get.  Except at the very top where the ice runs out.  (hard to look graceful through this bit) 

This is one of my favorite climbs in the region, because it is so different from year to year, and can change dramatically as the season progresses. 


Alpine Outing (Sqaw Bay)
Submitted by:Andrew Dubinsky
Climbed on:Jan 30, 10
Report:Went to climb Alpine Outing on Saturday!  The bottom is fat and so is the top but the middle is thin and very brittle as Keith found out while trying to lead it.  We end up climbing the WI3 climb, that was not in much better shape, just a few hundred feet left of it topped out to rappel down to the Alpine Outing Route to get a better look.  The middle section does not look like it was attached and only a few inches thick.   I hope to get some pics up soon I did not have my camera but Keith did!

Right Stuff/Compulsion (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:January 30, 2010
Report:

It was really difficult to get out of the car this morning but Wes and I dragged ourselves up to Compulsion.  It was rock, paper, scissors for first lead and I won...but really, did I win?  As in Jamie's report from last weekend, Compulsion is in awesome shape.  Unfortunately there was about 25C difference between last weekend and this...thus it was smooth, bullet proof ice right to the top.  The gear was fantastic though.

Off to the Right Stuff which formed up in a week and still has water dripping from it.  Wes styled this climb which despite being in the afternoon sun for a few hours was still a bit on the 'breaky' side.  Easy climbing though.  A group was on Amy R doing laps which is also fat.

A big thumbs up to the huge group from Minnesota climbing at Cascade today!  Everyone was parked well off the highway and they even shovelled a big parking spot for their huge van.  No one needs to end up like that OPP a few weeks back who got rear-ended by a tractor trailer truck.  Way to preserve the resource guys! 


Compulsion, Hully Gully (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Jamie Knight
Climbed on:January 24
Report:Rick, Paul and I climbed compulsion early sunday morning, the climb seemed to be very fat and climbing easier than normal.  Due to the weather the entire climb was plastic with great gear.  After compulsion we climbed hully gully which was lots of fun with out the middle loaded with snow.

Evil Des Sens, High Fidelity (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Jamie Knight
Climbed on:January 23
Report: Climbed Evil des sens and high fidelity with Rick and Paul on Saturday.  Evil des sens was in good condition, good gear and great climbing.  Next we decided to give high fidelity a try, the climbing was very awkward, and after the low angle ramp at the begining there was some steep curtains to climb.  Lots of fun, glad we climbed it.

Ice Stud (The Bowl)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:January 27
Report:Jack put together an ice climbing package for auction at a United Way fund-raiser. We took Rick, the "lucky" winner, up Ice Stud with temp about -15C but fortunately no wind on the route. There was a lot of drift on the approach to the climb and quite a few alders (actual species yet to be determined) bent down low over the trail. A bit of a snag fest getting through it. If you have a 'lil saw and some motivation to help your fellow climbers, I'm sure your efforts will be duly noted by climbing's karmic accountants. The ice on the first pitch hasn't changed much and was typically brittle for -15C, but the second pitch has really filled in. There's dry, brittle ice all the way to the top if you go right or fat, soft, and wet ice if you go left. Hmmm. . . "fat," "soft" . . . that's why we went left! LQTM (laughing quietly to myself)

pine river (pine river)
Submitted by:kyle brooks
Climbed on:jan 24 2010
Report:

There is a well consolidated line on this route 3+ ....you can find a 4 line also .   Pro is great...  but was very wet..  

 

 


High Fidelity (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:24-Jan-2010
Report:Nick and I went to the Ice Palace today. Since my tank was a little low I was hoping for a short approached. High Fidelity was on the list first. It is not really forming as per usual yet. The ramp down low is really low angle then leads to some really cool/steep curtains. After that the climbing continues at a slightly lower angle but equally as awkward. The gear was very good but since the recent traffic the ice was a little fractured. A couple of hard pulls but for the most part the climbing felt like awkward 4+. A definite must do.
It was on to, what seems to be the most popular route in the Ice Palace, Eveil Des Sens. Not much changed since last weekend accept 50 more screw holes. Climbing is still really cool.
It started to rain after finishing this so we went home.
FYI be very cautious about attempting Reflection Wall, if it even survives. The route appears to have separated from the wall a good 8 inches or so + water has not dripped on this in over a month. I would wait until the water starts flowing on it again. fingers crossed.

Getting Oriented, PG13 (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Bryce Brown
Climbed on:24th Jan
Report:Spring ice in Jan - love it! Getting Oriented and PG 13 are in fantastic shape - if you have not done them, go now! Thanks to the trail maintenance crew, the approach was (slightly) less treacherous and faster - could use one more old rope up some of the steep bits if someone has the motivation next outing. The starting curtain on Getting Oriented is steep but was sweet plastic 4+. PG13 is FAT and goes easy as a pure ice route again 4+. If you don't sleep in The Seige is also in and would make a nice day of 4-4+.

Nothing (Paradice)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:23-Jan-2010
Report:A group of us thought it would be fun to finally check out Paradice. Why is it called Paradice? Anyway you slice it, that approach is hell. So after the trail finding Klusterfuk was finished, we were on the right trail and heading in. Again, why is this place called Paradice? 2 1/2 hours or level 10 bushwacking, while following the pink tape brought us to the area where The Blythely Way, Mocha, Purgatory and others are supposed to be. Not today they weren't. There were little smatterings of ice here and there, but nothing of any significance. We wanted to get to Xanadu but no way did we want to bushwack another 1.5 kms to get there. So we tucked our tails and headed for home.

Ice Palace (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:January 17, 2010
Report:

A beautiful day out in OB today...wish we could have more days like this.  Wes and I had the Ice Palace to ourselves so we jumped on Evil, Ranxerox, and Remember the Day.  Evil climbed at 4+ and good gear throughout.  Wes lead a full on pump line at Ranxerox, a good 5+ mind warp.  He had to search for the gear but found enough to get him where he needed to go...up and over a some overhanging yuk!  Glad the ropes were pointing upward for me.  We finished the day on Remember which is 3+ climbing.  As usual the bottom is the funky stuff.  No water on any of these climbs. 

With the warm temps and sunny days many climbs are starting to look burnt already.  Those such as Glace and Reflection.  Hully Gully looks even bigger and little snow on it.  Obsession looked really good as well.  Psycho is well on its way also.  FYI you'll need a heavy shovel to break through the snow banks to get further off the road where necessary.  Climb safe.


Artesian Wells (Whitefish Lake)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:16-Jan-2010
Report:After seeing Bryce’s photos of Artesian Wells Brian and I were curious if those pillars would go. They went alright, all the way to the ground. Looks like a big difference in only 1 week. I whacked at the only remaining pillar (left line) and it sounded OK. It was flexing nicely with no obvious fractures, so I figure I would have a go at it. Very delicate climbing for the first 20 or 25 feet then the ice changes from DONG! to THUNK! Good place for a screw as it changes back to DONG shortly after. The rest of the line goes fairly steep but manageable and the gear was good.
The center finish had tons of water pouring down. Watch out for falling objects. Lots of junk falling down the right most line today.
Next Brian jumped on the other climb. I can’t remember the name of this one, Not Late Show, but between it and Artesian. The one that starts from a seep halfway up the cliff. It also started as free pillar but this one had a crack. It was considerably shorter so that little bit of excitement was over quickly. The rest of the climb was fun. Great gear and plenty of good ice to make another v-thread to get down. Sideshow is a no show so far.
We opted to drive from the public launch to the island. 4x4 should have no problem. Stay well away from the island as we encountered a lot of slush. Nothing a very heavy foot could not solve.

Alpine Outing (Squaw Bay)
Submitted by:Bryce Brown
Climbed on:Jan 9
Report:Still can drive to base of scree. Climb is still in OK shape with a thin first pitch. The left wall of the top pitch looks like it is formed up - but it does not quite top out. For Christmas, Santa left some shiny new chains on the top of the crux pitch - they are lower than originals, on a righthand ledge just above the steep bit where the belayer can hide to dodge the leaders carnage from pitch 2.

Artesian Wells (Whitefish Lake)
Submitted by:Bryce Brown
Climbed on:Jan 10
Report:Had an outing with Kyle, Duncan Sunny and Sanu Parked at Pauls (Artesian Wells Resort) - best to call ahead to find out conditions, and say hi if you are planning to park at his place. No-one home when we went - looks like he may be closed up this winter. The walk across was easy with about 6 inches of crust at the most (snowshoes are faster then feet - the men found out the hard way), you could probably drive across if you know where the thin parts are - be warned, artesian wells create some thin ice in some areas! The climb is in very interesting shape right now. The bottom has broken off already and is only partially formed up again as 4 pillars - the two outside ones are OK, middle two shared a nice wide crack all the way thru the curtain. Sunny and I did the right side in two pitches - steep thin start eases in the middle, top umbrellas are interesting as usual. The boys played on the far left pillar - straight run of pigeon toed 5 all the way up. Definitely worth the walk. Don't forget that a Stanley burger is a mandatory part of the outing.

Various (Orient Bay/Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Dave Rone
Climbed on:1/9, 1/10
Report:

Dan and I were up this past weekend in search of that famous 'Orient Bay Plastic'  that can only be found when the temp is -27C.  We were delighted with what we found!  Andromeda was decent, Starquake was spicy!.  Bottomed out most of the screws we placed so there's some sharpening to do.

At Kama we found more plastic, and even though the routes were great, the true highlight of the day was the stroll up and down the improved approach trail.  We echo Scott's kudos to Wes and Brian for their work, thanks guys.  Hope to see ya all soon.  Sorry no photos, I forgot my camera.


White Lightning (Bowl)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:January 9, 2010
Report:

Recent pictures from WL and CC. 


Gomar Falls (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Andrew Lang
Climbed on:Dec 31st and Jan 1st
Report:Trail is in, get there before it snows again, 9 of us went winter camping and climbing to bring in the new year, the left climb is pretty thin and brttle the falls propper is in fantastic shape! super sticky, and wet but too much fun. solid 3+/4 on the left side, and a 3 on the main falls

Wailling Wes Side, Dirty Laundry, Anger Management (South Gillies)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:31-Dec-2009
Report:Brian, Nick and myself went to South Gillies (Wailling Wall Area) to play for the day. The routes are in but very thin. It is pretty rare to find multiple screws longer than 13 cm. That being said the routes we were on were climb at around WI3+ - WI4- so the climbing wasn't too difficult just hard to protect. The spin drift, however, left a lot to be desired. See site cover photo. Hurricane force winds and loads of snow on route makes for a good time. Brian says no big deal as he is used to climbing via the brail method, but for us 20 / 20 vision equiped, things were a little more spicy.

Remember to ask permission of the land owner as you need to cross private land to get to this climbing area.

High Fidelity (Ice Palace)
Submitted by:Dave Rone
Climbed on:12/30
Report:Dan Wilkinson and I were in the area the past few days, thought I'd throw up a photo of High Fidelity since one hasn't been posted yet.  It's in nice early season shape, good pro except for the last bit.  I finished up the right on a steep, thinly iced slab.  Not hard but delicate, and a long way out from the last screw.  Some small stoppers/cams would have helped but of course I didn't have any.  For more ice on the finish, check out the left side. 

Tempest (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Jamie Knight
Climbed on:Dec 29th
Report:Climbed tempest on the 29th with my wife and her sister, the climb was in good condition.  In the parking area we ran into the home owner while he was plowing his driveway.  He asked us to park as close as possible to the snow bank.  He mentioned that he did not mind us parking there as long as we were out of the way so he could plow and the propane truck was able to get down the drive way.  He also mentioned that if people continued to park too far from the snow bank he might have them towed, and he also prefered us to park on the left side as you pulled in.  Just thought I would pass this on becuase it is a great area for us to park and it gets plowed regularly

General Conditions (Nipigon)
Submitted by:Bryce Brown
Climbed on:Christmas
Report:Some out towners were axin' what conditions are like: Overall, things are in in OB, but a few weeks behind - thinner climbing than is usual around the holidays. Local TB ice is sparce other than the bowl and Squaw Bay - nothing really on McRae yet. Hopefully the rain over Christmas and now the colder weather will make things GROW! Here are a few additional highway photos which might help stimulate a drive. Paralax - OB Mellow Yellow - OB Getting Oriented - KB

Glace Eclatante (OB)
Submitted by:Bryce Brown
Climbed on:22Dec
Report:Glace is in good shape now, nice place to hang out on a cold sunny day - just don't forget your sunglasses! Normal line was slushy as usual when we were there last week, far right has a fun thin line.

White Lightning (The Bowl)
Submitted by:Andrew Lang
Climbed on:Dec 27th
Report:Just a little heads up... with the recent snow, place your gear in the hard ice on w/l not the plastic gully... was placing a v-thread for a t/r anchor and found that there is a hanging curtain about 4 in thick off of the good ice... just make sure that when you are placing gear it's good. it's an early season wakeup call for me... but i thought i'd pass it on... Andrew (the climb was fun, and the top out bolts had to be freed from the ice... keep an eye out and you'll find them) And if you pulled a 22 cm screw off a belay on monday can i have it back please, there's a pint in it for you!

Powerline Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:December 28, 2009
Report:Where do you go when the temps drop and the wind blows...Powerline Falls of course.  Yikes, what a difference a day makes. Wes and I found it really difficult to leave that warm car this morning.  But, since we were there we sprinted for the warmth of the treeline. The river up to Powerline is covered with ice and only a couple inches of snow.  Actually,  there is no where near the amount of snow in Kama as compared to TBay.  We skipped the river on the way in as there was no point in delaying the frostbite we were sure to get.  We did 2 + 1 laps today...soon to be explained.  Two laps on the main left flow, which is thick and dry, climbing around grade 3 ice.  The other lap was Wes on one of the centre pillars.  Unfortunately he only went half way up then had to back off due to a huge crack that formed right in front of his face.  So, if you count going half way up + down climbing that half...that should equal another lap. The far right line touches down as well.  Angry ice today! 

Icebreakers Area (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:December 27, 2009
Report:Headed up to Kama yesterday with Pat, conditions are similar to what Scott found below but I thought I'd post a few photos to go with his description.  Ice on Icebreakers was still bulletproof despite the warm temps...dreams of plastic hero ice were not to come true.  Fortunately there was nice "red line" to follow up the route - ouch! 

Also had a go at the end of the day on Hell's Chimney, but had a case of the fumblies and it was not meant to be.  It's lean this year with plenty of loose rocks and icicles (but that's what the cheek bone is for right?).  There is now a "red line" to follow on that route as well.

Ice Palace Routes (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:December 26, 2009
Report:Tagged along on a group of four outing to the ice palace today, where all the standard routes are in but definitely on the lean side compared to most years.  Very nice soft ice for the most part, but we found some bulletproof stuff here and there just to keep us on our toes.  I found 10% Real to be a bit more serious than usual, the lower crux is a bit delicate and the top out very thin (though a smaller tcu keeps one happy there).  Remember the Day was said to be a bit on the technical side and Ranxerox more so.  Evil Des Sens, while skinnier than usual, was it's usual fun plastic cruise.  Off the Couch looks more like late March condition.  Hi Fidelity looks to be in though I didn't look close, as do the routes to the left. The good news is there seemed to ample dripping and water on the routes, so they should fatten up a bit more yet. 

The highways were much better than anticipated.  Lots of snow in OB, but doesn't seem like nearly as much from the storm as we got in town.

Icebreakers, Icebreakers Arete, (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Scott Backes
Climbed on:12/19/09
Report:Matt Giambroni, Dean Einerson, and I climbed three routes in the Icebreakers area on Saturday. Matt lead Icebreakers which was hollow, steep and small for the first 10-15 meters. The last 35 meters had unexpectedly good feet, and he ran up that section in 10-15 minutes. Over-all I'd say solid grade 5 with an R rating for the start. Dean led the Arete in 4+ technical shape, however the ice was so dense it took 5-10 swings to get solid placements for over half the route. I lead the narrow line between the Arete, and Icebreakers proper. Good "heady' climbing the whole way...thin start, to some better ice, then 15 meters of vertical candlestick (no real gear-maybe a cam or a pin-which I didn't have) to an umbrella finish. Maybe as hard as Child's Play was last year when Loveridge and I climbed it. Absolute kudo's to Wes and crew for the trail in there. It was amazing to be at the base in thirty minutes!

Alpine Outing (Squaw Bay)
Submitted by:Bryce Brown
Climbed on:21 Dec
Report:Checked out Alpine Outing today with Pat. Got to drive all the way up to the boulders! It is in. The crux pillar was about a foot wide and about 6 inches thick through the narrowest bit. The nice sunny plastic ice made it much less (or more?) scary. Decent gear, a .75 camalot for the base of the pillar helps. The anchor at the top of patch one is lookin bad - plan for a V-thread. The top is nice - the left pillar looks in from below but doesn't top out.

Whitle Lightning, Curtain Call, RDW (Bowl, Squaw Bay)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:Dec 20
Report:White Lightning has seen quite a bit of traffic this year but there hasn't been a pic posted yet, so here it is. (Find Waldo, aka Bryce.) CC looks a little thin but Rainy Day Woman looks from the road to be nicely iced up from bottom to top. At the base of White Lightning, there's a diabasically interesting, "Yowzers! That wasn't there before!" Be careful kids.

Obsession, Reflection Wall, Cascade Falls (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:December 19, 2009
Report:

Climbed Obsession this morning and despite the bitter cold it was in fantastic shape. Grade 4 ice with good gear and a near dead vertical pillar.  Once you are over that its all plastic ice to the top.  Save some longer screws for the pillar, they give you that warm and fuzzy feeling.

Next we headed over to Reflection Wall as Wes wanted to see if building the club website was good training for the hard stuff.  Two screws up he said we should have gone to Tempest, 2 more screws...should have stayed home, 3 more  screws... Momma!!!!  Oh wait, that was me not Wes...sorry about that.  The climb is in 5 condition, steep, sustained and full on from start to finish.  It took gear very well and there was even lots of little things to step on.  We started around 1pm in full sun which made things much more enjoyable.

We finished the day on Cascade Falls.  Lots of water still running on this one.  I took the far right line, up over the junk to the veritcal plastic ice.  Great gear.

FYI there is at least 8 inches of snow in the corridor so be sure to bring a shovel with you so that you can clear a spot to get well off the travel portion of the highway.  We cleared a spot next to Obsession and that only took 5 minutes.  The rest of the corridor is in good shape. Mellow Yellow has dried up, Hully Gully is huge with ice from top to bottom, Aqua Blue and Tears of Joy look very big, Tempest and neighbours have lots of ice.  Have fun.


Glace Echlatante (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:12-Dec-2009
Report:So even though it was minus 437 this morning Nick and I headed to OB to go play. After driving through the corridor and getting very excited at all the new ice we headed into Glace Echlatante for some fun in the sun. No belay parkas needed today.
We each did a lap on the right hand steeper lines (sustained WI4+) and then turned our attention to the very wet left side, which is normally much more tame. Not yet! It is much steeper than anticipated (stiff 3+/4-). The sun also made it a little bit too soft and mushy. The gear on both sides was adequate. Probably could have used 22 in many places on the left side. We only had 13 and 15’s with us but they were bomber for the most part.

And now for my annual rant. For those of you new to the area, we are experiencing parking issues in Orient Bay and it would help out our cause a lot if you make sure to park well off the road. This means no tires touching the white line. Please bring a shovel and dig in. The shoulders are plenty wide enough to get your vehicle safely off the road. The snow is plowed high enough in Orient Bay now that a shovel is needed. As well parking on corners is very dangerous for other drivers, not too mention very DUMB! The big trucks, if they have an ounce of consideration, will move to the middle of the road to avoid hitting or kicking up rocks on your car. This puts on coming vehicle in danger. Most truck, however, don't give a rats ass and will knock your mirrors off, if given the chance.

BTW law enforcement will ticket you and get on the bull horn and ask you to come back to the highway to move your vehicle.

update: new ice isn't NEW ice, it's just new ice. Sorry for the false alarm.

Hully Gully (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:December 6, 2009
Report:

After yesterdays warm-up session, Wes and I were looking to take it up a notch today so we set our sights on Hully Gully.  Yup, Hully Gully.  Great to get on this one before it fills up with snow.  The ice was great on both pitches and all rap stations were in good condition.  Still feeling the need to keep things on the edge we moved over to Mellow Yellow for a couple more laps.  It improved quite a bit from yesterday as the upper section easily took 16's and probably could have taken bigger gear for those liking that warm and fuzzy feeling.  I bet you were wondering who got the first lead aren't you.  Well for those of you at home keeping score Wes won again with scissors.  Yup, I'm 0-2 this season so from now its "good old rock" for me!!!!


Passage At Sundown (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:December 6, 2009
Report:Patrick and I visited OB today, had intentions of something else but decided Passage At Sundown looked good (i.e. there was some ice in the gully and I seem to recall it being fun as a mixed route, plus the second pitch rarely ever gets better than after the first couple weeks of the season).  In it's present shape, the route is a blast but take a full mixed rack and maybe 3 stubbies, and expect some good, but very run out (25m in the middle of the first pitch) climbing in a few spots.  I ended up using a crack system left of the ramp on the first pitch because the (already) sunrotted, half-inch ice wouldn't support my weight.  The "fatter" ice higher up was spooky detached in many spots and too thin for screws until near the top.  I exited far to the right through a super fun (and well-protected) chockstone chimney, probably M5+.  Some intermediate scrambling after the last roof moves to the belay (as far up as you can get).  P2 is unusually thin (usually cruiser WI3), Pat led the left line and found reasonable WI3 climbing with a few harder mixed moves (M4?) to the top ice.  The right hand line would be physically easier but harder to protect and much thinner.  P1 is a rope-stretcher with 60m ropes.  Solid M6 leaders will find the route fun (the runouts are on easy but sketchy terrain, the crux at the top of the first pitch protects well).  There's a couple of fixed pins on the left side of the P1 ramp.  Rap the route and beware all the potential rope-snaggers!  The other routes in the area are looking nice, should be great in another week (Parsec is climbable with the Parallax pillar about half way down, and Early Retirement is close but not quite ready yet. 

Happy climbing everyone, 'bout time this season got going! 

Mellow Yellow (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:5-Dec-2009
Report:Brian, Nick, and myself went to OB today to get on some LATE early season ice. Since Nick lead some ice yesterday we eliminated him from the contest for first lead. Not sure if my logic had any merit at all, but he bought it and all I had to do was beat Brian at Rock, Paper,Scissors to win first lead. Pretty tall order given my history and his knack for cheating.
1.
ROCK,PAPER,SCISSORS->PAPER/PAPER = Tie

~Brian "He is going to go rock, he always goes for rock. What a tool!"
~Wes "Good ole Rock! Never fails. Oh wait, maybe he is expecting Rock."

2.
ROCK,PAPER,SCISSORS ->PAPER/SCISSORS = Wes WINS.

OK the report.
Ice was good. go climb it. I hit rocks with one screw and knarled a few picks. A fun day for all. We each lead a lap on various lines. Good 3+ to 4+ climbing. Some water flowing as well. The rest of the corridor is shaping up. Everything should be good to go by next weekend.

Ice Stud (The Bowl area, Thunder Bay)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:December 4
Report:Nick and I did our season opener on Ice Stud this late afternoon under the watchful eye of Kuma. There was no sign of previous traffic on the trail or the route.The climb is coming in nicely and easily took 13 cm screws but could have taken longer ones in places. We took the right exit on the second pitch which was rock for about the last 3 metres, so a small cam was useful in a horizontal crack. If you're new to the area, a single 60m rope will get you up and down with rope stretcher raps on each pitch, but double 60s will  get you right to the ground (just) with one rap. White Lightning and Curtain Call looked like they were just starting to form.

General (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:Nov 28, 2009
Report:Just a quick update, was nearby to OB today pursuing another activity and decided to whip up to the corridor afterwards for a quick look.  The temps were significantly warmer than forecast.  Stuff is slowly starting to form, but it will likely be at least another week yet.  The ice looked to be barely consolidated to slushy, less than an inch think, and detached.  Lots of water running around and behind most climbs, and plenty of sheets falling off the routes.

The good news is, there was ice forming all over the place.  Should be a good season, if it ever gets going.  Things generally look to be about 3-4 weeks late this season.

Just in Case (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:Nov 19, 2009
Report:Just thought I'd post something, in case it's not blindingly obvious with the weather.  I drove through Orient Bay yesterday on my way to work, and there is not even the slightest hint of any ice there, not even any verglas.  There is no snow, it looks like October first there right now.  Amazingly, some of the ponds had a skiff of ice on them, but the ground and moss is not even frozen there yet.  Will be a while yet - just thought I'd save some of the keeners some gas money - I'd heard some folks were planning to go looking this weekend...

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