Ice climbing is a winter sport which is becoming more popular with outdoor enthusiasts.
While many might think it is relatively new to the Sault Ste. Marie area, people have been climbing this area since the mid 80’s.
In the last few years, this region has become an ice climbing destination for people from all over the world to come and experience the wilderness and excellent climbing opportunities we have to offer here in our back yard. We boast over 400 ice climbs north of Sault Ste. Marie and offer some of the best climbing in Central North America. Climbing here competes with climbing in the mountains, without the worry of avalanches or accessibility. Chris Jensen from South Africa who was here Feb 2014, used words such as “magical” and “amazing” to describe his experiences climbing in our outdoors.
Interest in Ice climbing continues to grow each year. Mid-December through mid-April, many Ice climbers visit the most developed and most unique ice climbing areas. Climbing groups from 2 to 10 can be seen each weekend scaling the ice cliffs between Havilland Bay and Montreal River Harbour. Beginner climbs range between 10 & 30 meters in height and vary in degree of difficulty.
Beginner climbers are guaranteed plenty of climbing, as the group sizes are limited to a maximum of 6 with 3 top rope set ups. Participants are either belaying (holding the climbing rope) or actually ice climbing on the wall. Shaun or his assistants are on the wall next to the beginners showing them techniques for ascending.
Each participant is outfitted with all ice climbing gear including boots, gloves, helmet, harness, ice tools and crampons for their boots.
Beginners also get the chance to rappel down the ice wall on their first time out.
Later in the season, many beginner ice climbers return to learn more advanced techniques in the intermediate and advanced courses, that are offered at one of these 3 areas.
• Mile 38 Road - the 85+ climbs were first discovered in late March 2001. One of the climbs “Ahman Ta” at Km.16 hosts a series of steep pillars that flow over an overhanging wall. By Mid February an ice cave forms behind the pillars into which both hikers on snowshoes and climbers can enter.
• Mamainse Mountain, named “Cerro De Hielo” (Spanish for “Mountain of Ice”), is one of the highest hills in the Batchawana area at 594 meters (1,972 feet) and hosts 25+ ice climbs. Once above the trees climbers get a great view of Batchawana and Havilland Bays. To the east they see the rolling hills that occur near the Spider and Cedar lakes.
• Agawa Canyon is located between Miles 111 and 116 on the Algoma Central Railway and hosts over 140 ice climbs. Ice climbing in the canyon began in December 1986. Access to the canyon is via the ACR passenger train
Shaun Parent, Owner/Operator of Superior Exploration, Adventure & Climbing Co. Ltd., is considered the Pioneer of Rock and Ice Climbing development in the Lake Superior Region of Ontario. He has been ice climbing since 1979 and instructing since 1983.
He developed the climbing areas and has written guidebooks in order to promote the sport.
He is located in Batchawana Bay & offers beginner through Advanced Ice Climbing lessons. His ice climbing school has been endorsed by Outdoor Explorer Magazine, National Geographic’s “Ultimate Adventure” and Chill Magazine.
For more information, contact (705) 946-6054 or check out the website:
FB Superior Exploration Adventure and Climbing Company Ltd.
FB North of Superior Climbing Company
FB Agawa Canyon Ice Climbing
YouTube: Batchawana Bay Ice Climbing, Agawa Canyon Ice Climbing, NOSCC