Climbing where you’d least expect it – Sudbury, ON
If you search ‘Sudbury’ into google, it’s likely that you’ll find hits pertaining to mining, education, and perhaps the local hockey team, the Sudbury Wolves. What you’ll likely not come across or be looking for is the blossoming rock climbing scene that has slowly been growing within this Northern City, largely due to the well-run climbing gym that opened in 2015 – the ARC. What makes climbing in Sudbury so good is that you could walk-up to Echo at 10am on a Saturday in August and still find that you’re the only one there (good like doing finding that even in the quietest times at Rattlesnake).
While the climbing gym offers great walls for lead and top-rope and a small (but tough) bouldering section, what really stuns climbers from all over is the quality of outdoor granite available to the city. I mean, there is literally a crag that is on the 16th hole of a golf course, right near the heart of the city.
Every season local climbers are out developing new crags and putting up newer routes at some of the more established sites. For the best information including detailed route maps, descriptions, and “how to get here” info visit http://sudburyclimbing.com/wp/
Below will be a quick guide of the best locations and rough descriptions of what you can expect at each place.
#1 Echo Crag
Recommended Climb: Game of Thrones (5.10b/c) – 9 Draws
A simple 25-minute drive west along Hwy 17, and about 1km up Hwy 144 you’ll find the flagging tape marking the trail to Echo. Echo Crag easily offers the cleanest and hardest climbing in the area. It’s mostly granite face climbing involving small crimps and tricky feet, and there’s an awesome crack if you’ have the massive cams it would likely take. Grade wise you’re looking at 5.10s – 5.13s, and almost all the routes run true to the grade from bottom to top. It’s south facing so expect to get plenty of sun!
There are currently about 15 established sport routes on the crag with more seeming to pop up every time I visit. Also, bouldering can be found along the top of the wall.
In my opinion, if you’re looking for the most enjoyable experience I’d recommend bringing a tent and camping along the top of the crag. This flat granite section boasts a small fire-pit and nice views of the forest floor below, plus you need simply rappel down your fixed line to start an early morning session.
Recommended Climb: Parallel Pleasure (5.9) 8 Draws – AWESOME 1st lead
Likely the most accessible of crag options in the city, Timberwolf is located on the 17th hole of Timberwolf Golf Course. With a good dirt road for parking and a relatively simple hike in Timberwolf is a solid wall, especially is you’re living in Garson.
In the last year, Timberwolf has been re-bolted and now features about 12-15 routes with a more moderate grading of 5.8s – 5.10s, and a few projects thrown into the mix. With it’s easy access we would climb this crag in the morning before driving out to work.
This is the best spot in Sudbury for beginners and first-time outdoor climbing since there is a large variety and the beta is fairly easy to figure out. Bring some longer webbing, potentially 240cm as some of the top rope D-rings are bolted a few feet back form the face and can create fairly heavy rope drag.
#3 Bethel Lake
Recommended Climb: Starfish (5.11) 6 Draws?
Bethel Lake, which can be found near the Laurentian University Campus, is easily the most aesthetically pleasing climbing site in Sudbury. This piece of rock is located right on the water’s edge and even features a couple 5.11s that hover over top the water. The rock gets the afternoon sun and the breeze from the lake keeps the mosquitos and blackflies at bay. It’s worth bring a towel to take a few dives off the cliff face and cool off after a hot day of climbing.
Although pretty short in statue, Bethel makes up in interesting climbing. This small piece of rock that reaches at its peak 15m has some wicked climbs into the 5.9 – 5.11 range that feature a little more than just face climbing.
#4 Mt. Doom
Recommended Climb: Nah…
While I definitely dig the Lord of the Rings theme, this slabby rock has some pros and cons. If you’re into slab, then this is the place in Sudbury for you. Mt. Doom has about 7 top-rope routes with anchors placed at the top of the route, and one sport route that sits at a 5.11. This sport route would be incredibly difficult to attempt without first trying top rope. Secondly, it doesn’t really have a parking area, you literally leave you vehicle about 4 feet off the shoulder of a major highway, and the hike in is through a bit of a marsh.
This being said, Mt. Doom still provides some challenging slab, and like always with slab, trust in your footholds!
If you’re digging the first few photos at the top of the post visit http://lauraszanto.com or check out her instagram for more amazing outdoor adventure shots.