Alpine Club Of Canada

Thunder Bay Section

2013 - 2014 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Here are some very old and outdated maps we have laying around.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
2006 - 2007
2007 - 2008
2008 - 2009
2009 - 2010
2010 - 2011
2011 - 2012
2012 - 2013
2013 - 2014
2014 - 2015

Ice Breakers (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:17-Mar-2014

 The trail has been beat in up to Ice Breakers area. The climbs are in decent shape but on their way out. The gear on Ice Breakers was ok but run out down low. The first decent screw was about 10m to 15m up depending on if you climbed on the left under the huge umbrella or on the right side with the taller more delicate column. Since the only rap station is above Ice Breakers Arete I got a good look at it on the way down. It is in good shape but thin gear as well. WAY too much snow to even bother trying Thermocules or walking over to any other climb. We were pooped after 2+ hours of trail breaking.

The Right Stuff/ Powerline Falls (OB/Kama)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:16/17-Feb-2014

 The Right Stuff has formed up this year. Big and Fat! So fat that it has covered up Manufactured Inspiration and started going around the arete to Betrayal Crack. Super fun steep climbing.

Not a lot of change at Powerline accept the main falls. It has cleaned up and welded together nicely. The steep wall is still steep and super fun but virtualy no change since the last photos.

If anyone has lost something at Powerline Falls recently, send me a message via the message centre, and describe what you lost and you can have it back. I'm always in the market for more good karma.

The owner has been located.


Glace Echlatante (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Kevin Shorthouse
Climbed on:February 8, 2014

Glace is in fine form. Great lines ranging from 3+ to 5. New ice forming on the right. It always amazes me how it can be -28 at the parking lot, but with full sun exposure and no wind, it felt like a balmy -8 on the climb :)

Superior Ice Climb (ISS)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:Feb 8

After expending almost all our energy and time on RoFD, we didn't actually climb SI.

Snapped a couple of pictures while enjoying the beautiful sunny day on our hike out.

Looks like heaps of snow on this climb as well!

Last pic is Pocomotion, which also looks buried in snow.

River of Frozen Dreams (ISS)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:Feb 8

Bloody cold (-28C) and too much snow (1+m in most places)!

Didn't look like anyone had been in there this year or it was a long time ago, if they were. We (mostly Frank) plowed a reasonable trail in there now but it's barely worth going up the River with all the snow on the climbs.  The ice below the snow is very 'crusty' and 'shelly'.  Lots of post-holing while walking up the river too. 

Still a fun adventure - if you like that kind of thing - but not a stellar year for RoFD.


Nightfall - Devil's Track River (Grand Marais, MN)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:Feb 1

Just another scouting hike today.  Snowshoed up the river today with my wife. About 40min to the base at a leasurely pace from the highway. Beautiful day! Snapped a few pics.

High Falls (Pigeon River)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:Jan 24

Just hiked in on the U.S. and Canadian sides to see how the trails were and how the ice has formed up. Looks good!  Likely go back there in the next day or two and climb....when the windchill is above -40C!

One pic is from the American side and one from the Canadian side.

Parallax (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:12-Jan-2014

 The approach was just like fun, only much much different. Especially after having already beat a trail to Comets Tail only to find it un-protectable with the amount of small gear we were carrying today. It should fill in.

Off to Parallax. It looked absolutely brilliant. Super steep with a few overhangs and a hard grunt to get established on the column. Gear was good for the most part.

Reflection Wall (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:4-Jan-2013

The anchor tree atop of Reticulation has now been removed. A little messy at the base. Looks a though a herd of angry woodchucks were chuckin wood.

The climb has grown since the last time and is climbing well. Lots of snow in OB now. Nearly 3 feet. Any approach involving anything but flat ground is going to be Type 3 fun for sure. Bring snow shoes and a shovel for parking.

Lost Falls (Lost Falls - Thunder Bay South)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:Dec 28

Didn't actually climb it. Hiked in to the base of the scree field today, hoping to avoid the wind, and the whole bottom of the climb was basically non-existent. Looked like there may have been a VERY thing column of ice on the left but didn't feel like finding out that bad. Turned around and hiked out. 

There was a fair amount of ice on the top half of the climb, but it looked real sketchy from that vantage point.

Didn't take any pictures. Too depressed.

Addendum Jan 2:

I hiked back in today to the top. I was hoping to rap down and get some pictures of the bottom but the windchill had to be at least -50C! It was insane! The ice was cracking a few times in the short while that I was there and sounded like metal. Here's a few pics of the top anyway.

Powerline Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:27-Dec-2013

 The trail beat in by a group of snow shoers the day before so we had a pleasant walk in on concrete. Lots of snow on the river and some open holes so we stuck to the trail. Lots of ice in the area with water still flowing. The gear was excellent for the most part. Climbing from WI3 to WI5+ as of right now.

The rest of Kama is shaping up nicely. Getting Oriented Area has lots of Ice. Vertically Oriented and PG-13 may form up again this year.

Ice Breakers area is pretty typical of a good year, all the major routes appear to be in and climbable. Whimpsickle may be a tad thin from what we saw from the road.

6 inches of new snow in the area today, as of the time we left, for a grand total of about 24 inches or so. It is supposed to snow all night so bring snow shoes if you plan on climbing in Kama Bay or Orient Bay this year.

Cascade Falls (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:Dec 21

After the long stretch of cold weather we've been having, the ice was bullet-proof today! Still a good amount of water flowing beneath the upper left side. Thin ice below this section where the water is flowing very strong.

Nice lines formed up from about 2+ on the far left to ~5 on the right of center.

No evidence of anyone being at this climb yet this year. We blazed a fresh trail through a good amount of powder and shoveled out a good parking spot on the opposite side of the highway.

Weather -17C and no wind. Great day climbing! 

Glace Echlatante (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Kevin Shorthouse
Climbed on:Dec 15

More awesome photos of a chilly day on Glace Echletante.

Glace Echlatante (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:15-Dec-2013

 A wee bit chilly out in OB today, if you weren't in the sun. :) Glorious up at Glace Echlante today. We actually had plastic ice on the left side. We managed to get some laps in on the left, middle and right sides. The right-middle column was fun, the gear was about as good as it gets on a column at -20. ;) 13s and 15s for the most part. Right side was good. Same size gear there as well. The gear on the left rampy section was bomber. Still lots of water pouring on this so it should fill in a bunch more.

Amy R (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:Dec 1

Lots of water flowing!  Had to 'retire' the gloves after two climbs - soaked.  The line up the left is a nice 2+ right now and reasonably dry.  The center of the climb is raining water and growing nicely.  The ice is very thin in a few spots still but lots of good placements for pro.

FYI to All - The height descriptor on this climb on the ++Ice Climbs of OB++ map should be modified. On the map, it only shows it as 20m but it's more like a solid 30-35m depending on the rap rings you use at the top. We had a 70m rope today and that just comfortably got us to the bottom by rappeling from the closer rings at the top right - suggesting the climb is much closer to 30m.  From the anchor rings on the tree at the top left, a single 70m would likely just reach. Climber beware if you're only using a single 60m rope.


Ice Palace (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:December 1, 2013

 The photos say it all.  Well worth the trip and unbelievably nobody there.  Going to be an epic season in OB this year.  Lots of rare stuff in, lots of snow, and lots of running water.  Seems like things are 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule.  Nice to enjoy a warmish day before the freeze!

Reflection Wall, Obsession (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:30-Nov-2013

We made it to OB today. Everything is looking fantastic. Parallax getting bigger. Wall of Doom has ice on all of the existing routes. The Ice Palace looks like it is mid winter conditions from what we saw from the road. The Reflection Wall area is super fat for Nov. Most of the low angle classics have ice and are climbable. There are a few rare climbs forming this year, most notable is Comets Tail, which hasn't formed since 2008. Tears of Joy is slow this years but will catch up in short time I suspect.

Starquake and Andromeda look good.

We hoped on Reflection Wall first. Pro was excellent. 19s and 15s with on 1 13 at the top. Climbing was straight forward, just steep. It was so much fun we did it twice. Then it was over to Obsession for a quick lap. The column was a little airy but good gear was easily found. typical shape right now.

Snow depth is about 12" or more so you'll need to bring a shovel with you to ensure you are well over the travelled portion of the highway.

Note: The anchor tree atop of Reticulation has broken and now hanging from the top of the cliff above the normal staging area. This route is now un-climbable until someone cuts the tree down. A simple hand saw will do the trick. If someone goes up there before me please remove it.

Getting Oriented (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Patrick Martel
Climbed on:nov 23, 2013

Kevin & I were planning to meet the others in OB but highway 11 was blocked by the jackknife truck so we opted for Kama bay. It was COLD and windy.... but well worth it!  From the road Icebreaker, Icebreaker arrete, and whimpsickle  seem to be forming well and reaching the ground. We opted to climb oriented which is also forming well and so is orient express & vertically oriented. Getting oriented is still thin with colliflowers but protectable with shorter screws. Would suggest a few cams for the exit... probably a  BD #.5 or  #.75, and #2

Froze ourselves but had a great time!


Mellow Yellow (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:23-Nov-2013

Rather wintery out in OB today. A transport hit a patch of ice and was stuck on a hill between Mellow Yellow and the compressor station so we were stuck in a line of cars for about 1/2 hour before we abandonned our plan to climb Starquake and went and cranked laps on Mellow Yellow instead. Decent ice protects well with 13's and 15's. We climbed a couple of variations on the main flow as well and the left wall and arete.

I waited all spring/summer/fall for today. Not the climbing but to beat Brian and Rock Papaer Scissors for first lead. Good ole rock!

Parallax is in and touching down. Probably thick enough for a bold ascent if temps warm up.

Great first day out.

White Lightning, Ice Stud, Curtain Call (The Bowl area)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:November 21

 Please respect the signs posted for the access road to The Bowl area (Ice Stud, White Lightning, Curtrain Call). Watch for more information as it's available.  Info: Frank,  807 577-7950


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