Alpine Club Of Canada

Thunder Bay Section

2014 - 2015 Ice Conditions Archive

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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

Gomar Falls (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:fabio zorzes
Climbed on:March 21/15

 Myself, Doug Mason and Frank Denson climbed GoMar today after a really nice 35 minute hike on hard-packed ski-doo trails.  That part was the good part.  The climb is still huge, lots and lots of thick layered ice which is still bullet-proof.  We could hear water running on the far right but none is visible yet.   Considering this was the first day of spring, we nearly froze to death - the wind was howling on the upper sections and the temps. were probably around minus 16C or so - no wonder the ice is still like boilerplate!  The climbs to the left are still in good shape also and afford excellent climbing right now as they receive a fair dose of sun.  The upper section of White Plage looked superb, but due to time constraints, we could not get on it.  For anyone interested in doing this climb, now is the time to go especially if the weather co-operates in the next few days.  

Note:  Don't forget your snowshoes!  We lucked out and didn't need them, but all that could change overnight with warming temperatures. (Sorry - no photos)

Compulsion and Reflection Wall (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:8-Mar-2015

 Here is my pre icefest update for those wondering what to expect.

3 feet of snow in the bush and not the good kind either. All sugar meaning even your snow shoes are going to sink up to your knees. The approaches are absolutly hateful. When you start climbing up hill, thigh level snow quickly turns into waist level.

We had a good start to the season but it looks like after Christmas mother nature pressed pause on the OB ice conditions. Very little growth this season making it a less than average ice year. Most of the key climbs are in good condition but nothing spectacular. Some of the trails are beat in.

Ice Palace trail was beat in last weekend but new snow since. Tears of Joy looks as though it has a trail within the last week or so. As mentioned previously, Psycho was beat in last week. We beat a trail into Compulsion and Reflection Wall yesterday.

As for ice condtions, the sun is taking a toll on the ice now and it looks to be rapidly declining. Anything that gets little sun is still in good shape. Compulsion was in great shape as it gets very little sun and there was a tonne of water in December. It is larger than average this year. Reflection Wall was in super fun shape but the ice quality was poor. Very technical climbing with a little searching to find decent ice for pro.

As of my last visit to Kama, the road was not plowed so parking is at the highway make sure you bring a shovel to get your vehicle well off the traveled portion of the highway. A good rule of thumb is 2 feet on the other side of the white line.

Psycho Isycho (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Ted Gilverson
Climbed on:3/3/2015

Thick thick thick!  We hit Psycho today, and it was wicked.  The approach was exhausting, took almost 45 minutes to break the trail...but it's done now!  It was a really mild day, and there was tons of water flowing throughout the climb,  but it's still very much intact - for now.  There's a webbing anchor at the top on a solid tree, with 2 rappell rings.  

Ice fest (nipigon)
Submitted by:daniel howells
Climbed on:march 13-15

Hello ACCTbay

This is Daniel Howells from the soon to be opening LA LUNA Cafe in nipigon.

So what im emailing about is we have a large open basement that is curently not in use, and if anyone wanted a roof to sleep under during the ic fest we would let up too 10 people stay in there for free.

But all things that are free come with a catch, the basement is unfinished, there is two washrooms on the main floor (above basement) and no shower. You would also need your own bed and bedding. To put it frank we got a warm dry area, you could hang your gear and sleep at night. 

We also have board games and a small bouldering wall. we are right downtown, just across the tracks from the legion ( were all the ice fest activitys are hapening.), the grocery store and the library (free wifi at library). 

if you are interested feel free to call me at (807) 889-1537 or email me at

Getting Oriented & PG13 (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:January 24, 2015

Snapped a few pics on the way out from GM of Getting Oriented and PG13.

Parking on the highway is reasonable. The snow has been pushed further back at the logging road entrance.

Some large 4X4's could make it in there to the log rollers. An entrance has been shoveled out and we saw a couple 'sled-neck' trucks parked in there. The base of the road, under the snow, is very icy and I wouldn't recommend it unless you have really good tires.

Looking south on the road near the GM river entrance.

Grandy Mardy (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:January 24, 2015

The climb with the shortest approach in Kama became the climb with the longest approach.  The logging road hasn't been plowed this year which means parking at the highway.  -25C WC made for an ugly 2km approach.  Once we got to the river and into the trees it was quite reasonable.  A path on the south side of the river was already well established and marked and it's even better now.  I'll try to get a couple old ropes in there in the future for the steep sections.  The river falls all in good shape for climbing and still growing. The water was trickling away, even at the cold temps we had yesterday of -15C.

I've only been into GM a couple times over the years, but it was as fat as any time I've ever seen it in the past, perhaps even better.  Good fun climb. Selection of visible and usable anchors at the top of the main falls.  P1 top left has a blue cordelette with 2 malions in a big cedar, or continue the extra 25m to the top of a fat and rambly P2 and you'll find another blue anchor with twin rings in the center on a large cedar.  

Pic 1 - Main Falls Right

Pic 2 - Main Fall Left

Pic 3 - P2 ("second pitch")

The far left side beyond the main falls is also in good shape with a 15m wall of fat ice and hanging daggers.

Glace Echlatante (OB)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:Jan 18

Ran our first Intermediate Ice Cimbing Event at Glace E on Sunday. 9 of us had a great time and managed to stay out of the ugly north-wind.

Lots of fresh powder in the area (~1.5ft), but we had a variety of people with snow shoes and stamina to help pack down the trail from the Palisades access road. It wasn't recently plowed but we did pack down a parking spot with a couple trucks upto 50ft off the road and there was room to pull 4 vehicles safely off the highway.

Waist-to-Chest deep powder on the appraoch and at the base of the climb didn't stop us from having an amazing day!  The left line is in good shape and still growing. Water was raining down enough to give you a shower if you didn't choose your line carefully and get a 'booter' at the top too.

Frank also led a couple small groups up the left climb, Snow Flakes West Wind, to the top.  Quite wet in a few places there as well! 

Just a reminder that there are a new set of chains at the top left of this climb on the 'back rock wall'.  Looks like climbers are still using the trees for belay and rappel stations. A pair of 60m ropes will put you perfectly back to the base. I'd recommend 70's for this climb though, if you have them.


Aqua Blue (OB)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:Saturday Jan 3

I'm relaying this info at the request of Eric Howells who climbed A-B on Saturday and asked my to post this info:

"We broke trail into Aqua Blue yesterday. Tracks are plowed all the way there and beyond. They can be accessed by the road just south west of Palisades parking lot. You could drive right onto tracks or park where the large propane tanks are in the parking lot near hwy. I replaced the rap anchors with new webbing and duel rings. Trail off tracks is right across from rail tie pile and is marked with blue flagging tape...It climbed at about a 3+ but had 4 grade options."
Now that it's more or less broke-in, the hike is about 20 min if you park at the propane tanks. Less if you drive down and park at the pile of rail ties. 35 min if you park at Palisades PL.


Moraine Creek Falls (Dorion)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:3-Jan-2015

 First off you'll need a vehicle with high clearance to get in there after the recent snow. We were in on Saturday after and during the snow and it was pretty dicey getting there with my Tacoma.

Secondly, you need to feel very comfortable soloing because the gear was absolute crap. My doubts are there if it would have even held body weight. Your best bet is to just start at the top and setup a TR and rap in and do laps.

Ice Breakers & Arete (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:26-Dec-2014

 Today was up to Ice Breakers area.
First we climbed ice Breakers. Very spicy for much longer than normal, then it eases back to about 85 degrees for the last half. The gear was good throughout but you need to sniff around for optimal placements. Rap down the arete, as mentioned in a previous report a year or two ago, the rap tree at the top split under the weight of one of us and the massive amount of ice that formed on it. I have not wrapped off that tree since.
The arete was super cool today. Very thin and fragile down low. Not much thicker through the middle. then a very large umbrella finish on the right or a hollow sounding brittle curtain on the left. The gear was decent for the most part, bomb proof under the umbrella for the right hand finish. A good bit of fun of both of these routes today. Unfortunately I dropped a small fridge size chuck of ice on myself so we called it a day.

Getting Orient Area (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:20-Dec-2014

Sorry, This post is a week late but still relevant. Nick and I were up at Getting oriented Area on the 20th and found conditions were very good. PG-13 formed this year and climbed very nice. Gear was pretty good. No rap anchor at the top so you'll have to go down Getting Oriented.
Getting Orient climbed very fun as well but the gear was tough to find on the initial column. A good bit of steep fun there.
Next was the Siege. It was in very nice shape. Spicy down low but the gear was good all the way. New anchor up top way back on the largest "Alive" tree.
Deception chimney was not in at all, so over to Tan Lines. No ice over the first two ledges then the ice from there to the top was think and very awkward fun climbing.

The OB Corridor (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Aric Fishman
Climbed on:Dec 23

With the warm temps and mixed precipitation, a number of the climbs are deteriorating significantly. There's still good ice to climb though if you're thinking of heading out there in the next couple of days...Just be very cautious and aware, and pick the right lines... or a wicked alternative - just go mixed climbing and put those tools on rock! The temps are forecasted to be better in the next week, so hopefully that will bring with it some good ice re-forming! 

Parallax pillar is broken, Mellow Yellow is getting pretty thin and has lost some of its left side, Gomar looks still full - but given the flow of that climb be wary of the risk, Glace Eclatante looks like it's still filled in nicely- but again be wary of thin/deteriorating ice, Reflection is still standing (thank goodness!) but is getting cooked and starting to rott, The Right Stuff is currently non-existent, Cascade isn't too bad - some holes on the bottom left and thin at the top left side but still a few protectable lines up it (might not be the case if tomorrow is warm). 

All in all though, even given the conditions, it was still a fantastic day :) 


Orient Bay general report (OB)
Submitted by:jon jugenheimer
Climbed on:11/28-11/29

On a American Thanksgivving road trip we enjoyed another fine weekend up north in the cold. Below is a general condition report of the climbs Liz and I got on last weekend.

Andromeda Weeps-in and slightly wet in the middle

Tears of Joy-In

Obsession-Pillar was wet and had to remove a few inches of ice for good gear

Cascade Falls-Both sides in and dry


Off the Couch-Very little ice in the chimney, added a pin with a biner to the fixed gear on the route where I bailed from.  1/2 way up on the right wall.  Might be too far out to actually clip from a stance though. 


Remember the day-In


Powerline Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Terry Prodanyk
Climbed on:Nov 29

Frank, Bill & I hiked up the river today. Our point-man, Frank, got a couple 'booters' in some thin spots. All the river falls are climbable and in good shape - considering the time of year it is.  In the main falls area - the left side is good so far and the right is very wet and 'raining' right now.  I was hoping to set up a line on the right falls too but there was just too much water coming down. Hopefully still a lot of growing to do for both the walls.  The minor side climbs at the path head, to the far right of the main twin falls, are forming up nicely as well.

Ice Palace (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:November 23, 2014

Drove the whole corridor today before settling on the Ice Palace for the day.  Was hard to see many routes through the fog.  Overall, looks like it will be an average season in OB.  Parallax is about 3/4 of the way to reasonable, a ways to go before it connects.  Hully Gully, Mellow Yellow good to go, Amy R okay looking and the mixed rigs to the right are trying to form.  Gomar has a small hole but will likely be filled in by the weekend, and Glace looks good to go (would likely be super wet).  Cascade and Obsession look good and were climbed yesterday.  Reflection Wall is in but I would imagine is a shower, probably best to leave it for another week.  Tears of Joy mostly there but likely a shower too for now.  Andromeda in, Starquake only about half way there.  All the main stuff in the Ice Palace is climbable but very, very wet.  We spent our day on RTD and Ranxerox.  RTD is as easy as it gets, no overhang on the lower bit but a shower.  We opted to continue mostly straight up skipping the midledge, steeper but on an excellent ice column in between where the showers were.  Ranxerox is barely there on the left but the righthand version is fun featured climbing, not nearly as hard as it looks, but also extremely wet.  Good gear can be had throughout.  Beefed up the anchor on the right top.  That tree is getting rough though and may rot in a year or two.  The ice palace "trail" is in rough shape with lots of blowdown.

There is about a foot of sloppy snow overall, and you WILL need a shovel to park safely and legally - that is, well off the white line/pavement, and NOT on a bend or blind corner.  Friendly reminder to park in smarter spots and walk the extra 5 minutes (cautiously) along the hwy.  Parking right in front of Reflection Wall or Amy R is not a good idea even if you're off the white line - better to dig in at the Ice Palace or Cascade instead (be quick and careful parking in either spot as both are close to blind corners).  And remember to park intelligently if you dig in - leave room for others.  We dug out enough for two cars today.  The same would apply at Glace.

If temps drop as forecast, and we get any amount of snow this week (and OB will), snowshoes will be highly recommended.  The climbs should only get fatter with the amount of water flowing there.  You can hear the water running from the road +5C when we left today.  Also heard some ice and snow features collapsing nearby.


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