Feel free to reach out if you have any questions:
Remember to check out the file names of the photos for more info.

- Access Note: Climbing is still closed at Skeleton Road 5. The OAC is working to address the concerns of the landowner, but the solutions that are being explored will take some time to review. To ensure the opportunity to climb at this convenient and fun location is not permanently lost, please choose to climb elsewhere. (Dec 2, 2016)

 

March 26, 2017 - Brule (Franklin)

There is still ice to climb.  Calabogie is big and should be good for 2 more weeks and maybe longer.  Brule was melted out, but may still last for a week or two.  We lead We Climbed  A Route which is the left most gulley that is protected from the sun and was still big and solid. The left side of Medicine Man could be lead but most of the rest is too thin and delaminated.  Lake ice is still very thick.

 

March 25, 2017 - Skeleton Lake Rd 2 - Sandy's Crag (Danylo)

Malty Vapours, 3+ Comet, J&B on Ice, Scottish Way, Shaken and Stirred are all in fat. Ice is in good shape - it doesn't get much sun.
2-3 cm of water on top of the lake ice on the walk in mid-afternoon; freezing up on the walk out at 6:30.

Only remnants of sun-bleached ice on the Talking Heads Wall.

March 18/19 - Hautes Gorge de la Riviere Malbaie (DM & S)

Taking advantage of the unexpected return of full winter conditions last week, we repeated the 10 hour drive and the 33 km snowshoe approach into the beautiful Hautes-Gorges-de-la-rivière-Malbaie: my eighth time to this magic place.
We did not come back empty handed. Ten years I've dreamed about climbing in the feature to the right of La Pomme D'Or: the dream route La Ruée vers l'or. Finally, my dream became a reality. One of the best routes ever! Probably the fourth recorded ascent. It might take another decade to form again…

As for ice forming conditions: At the end of February they had the two weeks of very warm with rain too followed by two weeks of very cold wintery conditions.
 
But I think the ice was already mostly there. Apparently two Quebec teams tried the route this winter earlier but they bailed on the second pitch on this weird sounding column with a small base.

March 18 - Kluke

Great sticky and dense ice at teh far left end of Kluke. Stayed in the shade the entire time we were there.

The Six "Icy Grr to WI3", 25m (AK and PH)

Welcome to the Six! Much nicer than the dangers that lie waiting for you in Chicago. Start same as Chiraq, but follow the rarely forming pure ice line all the way to the top. A serpentine-like narrow flow (ok, kinda thin) that leads to a wide slab at the top. Gorgeous.

City Wrangler "Rocky Grr to WI3", 20m (PH and AK)

Just uphill and to the left of Chiraq/Six lies a pedestal below a roof. Mantle upwards, extend into the crack in the roof, keeping your core tight so you don't fall backwards onto your belayer. Plug in as much gear as you want. Reach way up, following a seam on the left to a huge pod and a key flake. Stab the ice and scamper to the top. A great equalizer route: harder if you're short in some sections. Harder if you're tall in some sections. Beautiful!

March 13-18, 2017 Blinko / Raven Ravine (DD, Michael Lisenko)

Absolutely bomber snow crust. No postholing hell like last year.
Monday: hauled sleds into Blinko Lake. Started really late - 5:15 pm. Took 3 hours (took time to find creek crossing) to Blinko. Got there at 8:45 PM in the fading light. Camped at the trapper's cabin.
Tuesday: -20 at night, slept in, (until 10:00). Crack of 1:00 start. Hauled climbing gear in sleds. Took a detour to look at ice on cliffs at Blinko. Continued on. Got to that climb we saw last year (2 hours). It was in - but in full sun - small ice falling down it. Racked up, tied in. Bigger crap started falling. Untied. Stashed gear. Walked along cliff. Beautiful rock. 3 more ice routes (2 completely baked out). Got back to camp in an hour.
Wednesday: -15 at night. Woke up earlier. Slogged back into upper lake. Stared at the route. Fretted about sun - what if something should happen way out in the middle of nowhere (no cell phone reception). But no ice falling down the route. Tied in and climbed as fast as I could through lower chimney (where all the garbage funnels). Hero ice, screws were solid enough. One scary moment with rotted, hollow ice. Another with ice that fell to my left. Real beauty. Called it the Hunter, WI4-, 50 m. Full 60 m rap. Climbed another route at the far left end, led by Michael. Called it the Farmer, WI2, 30m. Peek down into Raven Ravine. Man, it's deep. Never went into it.
Thursday - went back to ice we saw on cliffs above Blinko Lake. Mixed start. Had my rock gear. Made an attempt. Got 3 m across a starting ramp - realized once again that mixed climbing ain't my thing. Retreated. Did another route up a gully. Called it the Electric Toothbrush, WI2, 35 m. Broke camp. Left at 6:00 pm. Got back to the car at 7:30 (1.5 hours).
Need to go back next year (if the snow is solid). It's absolutely beautiful back there.

March 13, 2017 - Diamond Lake

A lot of ice where there was none two weeks ago. What a treat climbing in such conditions - great ice, with very little snow on the ground, or on ledges. The ice, and the bare rock... The soul elements of ice climbing with no fluff!

Every Day is Training, Every Day is Real - the two new bolts are well positioned. Fun, fun, fun! Convenient alleyway through the trees to extended anchors.

Guardian Angel is back!

Where Egos Dare is climbable, but with a thin start. Loads of water coming down the first 15 feet, so as long as the temps stay low, it'll build quickly. (Amazing actually that water was running at all on the -10-ish day).

Between Egos and Wimps is in good nick. Not as fat as earlier in the year, but looks like good fun.

Where Wimps Dare is in shape - very rare!!! And climbs well - fun!

Dirtyer Harryer - new mega classic. 25ish m long. (AK and Brent Elliott) M6, just like the rest. A bit of this, a bit of that. All great. A few bolts need to be moved/added down low, but if you're up for an adventure (and don't mind bringing along a few finger sized pieces, the regular "tricams may be useful..." warning applies, it shouldn't be missed in its current state. Yes, it's a modern (fully bolted) version of Dirty Harry! (which is in fat btw)

 

March 13, 2017 - Baptiste Lake (DD)
 
Don’t Buy the Ranch, Dude appears in, but can't be certain as I;ve never climbed there before.
 
The ice at Dog Bay has really exploded compared to 2 weeks ago. There was ice in places we hadn’t seen it before. We bagged 4 new routes. The crag faces north and the ice was in good shape (not baked out), although hard and brittle.
 
Missy, Fetch the Draws, WI2, 8-10 m (FA David Wardlaw, Danylo Darewych, Janet Trost, David Britnell, Chris Talbot, Catharine Macdonald, Matt, Francis). Located 150-200 m right (west) of the Puppy Slabs around the first point in a little cove. This is a wide, low wall of ice rising straight off the lake with many (4-5) possible lines. It faces west and so there was some much needed sun in the little cove (although not on the ice wall itself) on a very cold day. It was spotted first by David Wardlaw who named it after his dog Missy and the fact that he was halfway up a climb before realizing he had forgotten his draws.
 
Puppy Slabs, WI2, 16-18 m – in, 2-3 separate lines are possible.
 
Junkyard Dog, WI3-, 21 m (FA Danylo Darewych, Matt, Francis, Janet Trost, Catharine Macdonald, Chris Talbot, Dave Wardlaw). Located about 150-200 m left (east) of the Puppy Slabs around a small point on the tallest section of cliff. This route is at the right side of the cliff. Climb some easy-angled ice for 7-8 metres, then continue up over a couple of short, steeper ice steps to the top.
 
Central Pipe WI3, 26 m (Danylo Darewych, Chris Talbot, Janet Trost, Catherine Macdonald). Located about 15 m left of Junkyard Dog. The climb starts with two short steep pillars about 5 m apart. Climb either of these to a ledge, then continue up above the left side pillar. Expect the climb to feel harder for the grade, because of hard, brittle ice.
 
Horne Dog, WI3, 18 m – fat
 
Dog Day Afternoon, WI4, 18m  - in
 
Stray Dog, WI2, 19 m -in
 
Runt, WI3, 8 m (Danylo Darewych, Francis, Matt, Catharine Macdonald). Located about 7 m left of Stray Dog at the left end of the cliff. Either climb the central approach ice gully to the ledge and traverse to its far left end past Dog Day Afternoon and Stray Dog or scramble up to the same point from directly below (or climb thin WI2- for 8-9 m, if it’s there). Climb up a steep slab/pillar combination that spills over a small  overhang and tops out just left of an annoying cedar tree.

March 12, 2017 - Kluke & Black Cat (Danylo)

Walked past Kluke on our way to Blackcat. Long distance observations of Kluke:
- Chiraq (Sam's mixed route) - looked to be in
- Ursus - in
- FYS (Mike and Ty's new route from last year) - might be in (a little hard to tell)
- Reversus Operandi and Lepus Americanus - missing ice in the middle sections
- Quercus and Hystrix - lots of ice, looking slightly sun-baked
- Lontra - in

Blackcat:
- Tomcat - in
- Pussycat - no
- Jungle Cat, Thunder Cat - didn't check
- Fat Cat - in very good shape
- Alley Cat - good

It was absolutely frigid at Blackcat. Don't go to north facing crags when the car thermometer says it's -16 at 11:00, and there is a wind howling out of the north to boot. Incredibly enough there was water dripping down some parts of both Fat Cat and Alley Cat. Those climbs are still getting fatter.

Feb 26, 2017 - Papineau Beach Road (Steve Andrew)

New ice: from hwy 62, head north aong Papineau Lake Rd S. At the first intersection make a right, and keep your eyes peeled for highly featured ice off into the woods on the right about 200m feet. Found at approx. 45.320302, -77.786643, before you actually drive around the SE bay of Papineau Lake.

Nubchuk's Drip, 20 feet, WI3-. (Steve Andrew and Alisha Nachman)

Feb 25/26, 2017 - SOIceFest2!!!!!

Rather atypical conditions for February - rain on Saturday. Minus cold on Sunday. Guardian Angel took a hit, clinics moved to Aqua Velvet wall. Smrt. Was super convenient to have all the psyched ACMG guides in one spot. Amazed at the positivity and energy witnessed throughout the day. Props to the volunteers. Great community gathering Saturday night. Lucky folks walked away with some legit prizes. Sunday, the climbing conditions were a bit more frozen. The lake was very frozen - skates would ahve been the preferred method for approaching the cimbs. Full round up available on: http://www.peter-hoang.com/soicefest2.

Feb 18, 2017 - Diamond Lake

The mild weather made for great pick penetration on all the climbs. The various aspects at Diamond Lake will ensure that ice will continue into next weekend and beyond. Because of favourable ice building conditions many rarely seen before smears and variations offer intriguing opportunities for new adventures. Kermits Thumb (just left of Kermit's Finger) is one such smear - may have been climbed before, maybe not, but doesn't matter. See you next weekend at the 'Fest!

www.SOIceFest.com

Feb 11, 2017 - Diamond Lake

Little Snowblower M6+, 18m (AK, Josh Smith and Steve Snopkowski)

Between Peach Sparrow and WED. Starts just to the right of the prow and follows bolts to lower-offs. The saying "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight" applies to mini-electric-snowblowers and wet snow storms. Good technique on this route will keep the pump in check.

Feb 5, 2017 - Blood Wall (DD)

Grey Wall - Very thin. Blood Wall : 17 Stitches - thin. Jim's route to the right - abysmally thin.

Feb 5, 2017 - Diamond Lake

Very fat! Things are looking excellent for SOIceFest2!

Guardian Angel has a legitimate left, central and right variant (new lower-offs). Every Day is Training is great! WED is fat, except for a wet start. BEW has never before seen such a huge pillar leading up to the mixed exit. Malachite et al = big. Tammy Baker's Face - huge!

Feb 4, 2017

Here are some aerial photos of the ice routes at Granary Lake, Lake Lauzon and Duborne Lake from a friendly "eye in the sky" taken yesterday.

Feb 4, 2017 - Bancroft (DD)

Nice runing into you at the Arlington Saturday night! You know next wekeend will be mad busy? Ro is suggesting folks reserve in advance! Anyways:

Rollercoaster - good shape
Curtain - good shape (Jetstream still thin at base; right variation is formed up better and steeper)
North Face of Eiger, Blue Angel - not in
Dirty Harry - good shape; ice almost all the way down; bottom ice hacked off
Hidden Gully - good shape; ice all the way to the top except for two thin patches
Pascal's Anger Management - fair amount of ice up top; the trick is dry-tooling up to it. (AK: He'd say it's a fat ice route now!)
Ice Castle - crappy, crusty ice in many places.


January 28, 2017 - Lake Willoughby (Peter and AK)

Made the mission to the great lake!!!

Called On Account of Rains - thinner than what we'd bargained for. The powder made it too real for either of us. Solstice - out. China Shop - fat upper. But still an ice roof. Who's Who's - fat upper picth. Last Gentleman - direct start is good. If it's being climbed, you can still traverse underneath to gain the left hand variation. (#KindaThin) Promenade - the crux pillar isn't touching down, but the roof can be skirted by going right (a spectre is key) and making a few long lock-offs to get established on the curtain. Great moves. Reign of Terror looks fun, but lihe the other routes - thin start that looks like a lot of work.

Plug and Chug and Mindbedner has thin tubes on the upper pitches. Was fun getting in a month's worth fo veggies on the LH start of Mindbender. Exiting onto the free hanger was exciting - nice job Pete!

January 26, 2017 - Okanagan Ice (Doug "I only get up for WI6" and Josh "wish-we-had-swim-trunks" Smith)

Really, really white ice. Screws into styrofoam isn't fun. Just above freezing on route, 6 degrees back at the car.

January 21, 2017 - Coq

Was fortunate to be given a tour of Coq today by Pascal and Jean-Mi. With all the moisture and good freeze-thaw the smears were in great shape, albeit running with water underneath. The new line was much easier (classic!) than on their first attempts. Full topo to the face is coming.

January 22, 2017 - Algoma (Danylo)

Things were really wet and warm - not  ideal. Some climbs had thinned out, some have gotten fatter (surprisingly).

On Saturday we climbed up Highway 129 at the Hungry Man area. Hungry Man, Classy Gully and 4Arm are in good shape. 4Arm is a steep climb.
Also tromped around a cirque just north of Pullout Rock along Highway 129 - found no ice.

On Sunday we drove up the Little White River Road/Highway 546. The Little White River isn't frozen.
Couldn't see the ice lines across Constance Lake - too much mist/fog/cloud.
Not much in at Trapper's Cliff with the exception perhaps of Mixolydian Gully.
The ice on the Secret Lasagna at Endikai was quite wide, but also looked thin. No ice at all on the overhangs above it.
Pastry Crag - most routes not quite in or delaminating.

Found some new ice just off Highway 546 past near Mount Lake (north of Elliot Lake). It was a wide, fat, blue flow. Called it Icing on the Cake - a it has different lines on it from WI2 to 4- with lengths from 10 to 25 m.

Things should rebound really nicely once we get some cold, with all the moisture in the system.

January 15, 2017 - Kushog (Franklin)

The owner of the Firehall pub said the restaurant is closed and climbers are not allowed to park or access the climbs via her property.  No trespassing signs are posted. 

I spoke with Rick and Brenda, owners of the Ox Narrows Lodge and Restaurant, 200m north on HWY 35.  They are OK with people parking on their property providing they pay a $10 parking fee per vehicle.  They will apply $5 to your bill if you stay and eat at the restaurant.  This policy is for climbers and not for companies running courses.

Let's all honour both companies' requests.   Access to the ice climbs is across the lake and a bit north.  Lake ice was about 5" thick, 4ft of snow in the woods.

Photo: Peter Goldman satisfying his sweet tooth on Caramel Coating

January 15, 2017 - Mill Lake (DD)

Lots of ice all over the place. Beautiful, sunny day, but the sun was taking out may thin ephemeral ice smears throughout the day and delaminating some of the thinner ice sheets.
 
We climbed:
a) a nice 25m line at the left end of the cliff straight off the lake. 3.5 body lengths of candled ice to start had me yoyo-ing up and down in trepidation on lead, but it proved solid enough in the end – the rest was fat beautiful ice.
b) a somewhat snowy, scruffy 23 m high line 20 m further right, that started out on some good ice then finished on a rocky/mossy top-out. The screws were melting out of this one in a hurry.
c) a 15 m high line spilling down the wide gully/slope 35 m left of Ice-olation with an easier bulgy line on the left and steeper ice on the right
d) Ice-olation – a bit scratchy up the back of the gully proper, but enough ice for screws. Lots of ice flowing down the wall to the right of Ice-olation.
- Waterwings – not in
- the Fang (Ice-ometrix) – a solid pillar touching down. Dripping a fair bit. The flow at the back of the Fang alcove is not in, but forming. Lots of water flowing down it.

January 14, 2017 - Bow Lake (Matt and Mathew)

We followed tracks on the lake to the crag. No need for the overland approach. The ice on the climbs was pretty hollow and delammed from the rock. The lip was a good 6 inches away from the rock in some places. But in general, both lines had nice solid ulges that took good screws here and there.

The steep curtain high and right (Red Rains) is forming pretty well, but it's hard to tell about the topout...

January 14, 2017 - Rosseau (DD)

Here’s some info on Rosseau, although the cliff is officially closed to climbing.
 
North cliff – In general, lots of daggers, icicles all over the place
Ziggy’s Route – good ice and pro, even in the corner
Pillar – currently two separate pillars; quite wet.
Psych Yuppie Mutual Funds – good ice the whole way
 
South Cliff – didn’t climb there, but Paul’s Folly looked to be in and Reg’s Route close to being in.

January 5/6, 2017 - Mission Impossible: Franconia Notch, Black Dike et al (Pascal and Marc-Olivier. Photo of "mixte climber out of his element, but dealing with it like a big boy" by Dylan)

Left Montreal at 2:30 am on the 5th to go climb Black Dike but got seconds only by a few minutes. So bagged the adjacent Fafnir instead. Great conditions, wicked weather -6, no wind.

Look at Omega on the pic below! You interested?

Next day (yesterday) went to climb the lesser known Snake Attack on Howl's Head (Olivarian Notch). Really cool cliff. The route was very nice despite that it was much easier than expected and that the route was alarmingly deteriorating as we went up in the sun. Another sick weather day, cool situation and a much welcomed loneliness after the typical crowded Franconia Notch.

We were back in Montreal by 7pm.

Dec 29-31, 2016 - Orient Bay (DD)

Climbed in Orient Bay (Nipigon) with Marv and Laurie from Michigan from Dec. 29-31.
Lots of climbs are in fat already.
We climbed:
Cascade Falls - in very good shape (watch the eggshell thin top-out on the left - big hole and lots of water below)
Tempest - somewhat unappealing mix of snow, crusty ice and slush
Obsession - in very good  shape. The crux was dripping wet (despite the -15 temperatures in the previous two days). Bring Goretex or move quickly through the crux. I did neither and turned into a human popsicle.

Other observations from roadside - Mellow Yellow, Gomar Falls, Glass Eclatante, April Ice, Amy R, Reflection Wall, Gremlins, Psycho Isycho, Tears of Joy, Andromeda Weeps all appear to be in well.

December 28/29 - Hwy 129 (DD)

Some conditions from the Highway 129 corridor north of Iron Bridge/Thessalon from Dec. 28-29.

Intersection Rock - No Trespassing signs have gone up along the road on the left side of the cliff and at least one at the cliff itself side, at the base of the new mixed line that Stefan put up last year. Best to stay away from the left end of the cliff. There aren't any signs on the right side of the cliff (or at the road on the right side) where the bigger ice flows are located. There are 3-4 climbable lines currently.

Stoney Creek: Hungry Man - not quite in; 4-Arm looked to be in

MBO (across the snowmobile bridge) - Redemption, Thievery, Algomatosis - not in; Little Dink and Rockpile Ice are in (we climbed the two climbs at the top of the Rockpile - WI3, 15 and 22 m 

Bog Wall - Smash and Grab looked in

December 26, 2016 - Eagle's Nest (DD)

Rollercoaster - less scratchy, more ice. Curtain is fattening u: Hollow Victory was very candled, but climbable on tr. Men Without Hats: just smears. Jetstream: got wider, but still not touching down; looks heavy. Dirty Harry: just smaterings of ice in the upper end of the notch.

December 23 - Coq (Pascal)

Hope you are having a dandy time during the holidays. You got to come and keep me off these routes here: they're great and all, but... Will tell you about yet another insecure, bold and unprotected 25m pitch. Sigh: I realy pushed my luck. Jean-Mi and I put up another 4 pitch mixte test piece: La passe a sapin M5 X. But the X is really for the last pitch tp the tress and perhaps in other times there will actually be ice on it. The rest pf the route is a freaking classic mixte line, just like its neighbour De Bon'heaure Su'l piton (3 pitch M6+ R) that we put up last year.

And btw: my anti-theft technique works better than the Club ever will!

December 17/18, 2016 - Madawaska

Eagle's Nest - Dirty Harry: bone dry. Jetstream: nearly touching down. Curtain: Left side is thin. Roller Coaster: very scrappy.

Papineau Roadside - Consolation Prize: climbable.

Watt - Holy Hanna: not even close. Giddy Girls: ice is almost reachable from the top of the dry tooling section, but thin. Almost Sorcery: clean, no ice in the cracks.

New route: Almost Awsome M5+ 10m (FA: AK, PH, Lily Diaz)

Start 5m to the right of Almost Sorcery at a left-facing feature that quickly turns into a face crack. Climb up to horizontals, and another left-facing feature. Reach horizontals and continue climbing up and left to reach the lower-offs.

November 27, 2016 - Bancroft et al (DD)

Dry, dry, dry. No water running down the Curtain wall at Eagle's Nest. Looks like the water table might be lower than normal. We may have to wait for a dump of snow and fluctuating temperatures for the ice to form. Here we go again.

 

Thank YOU - a recap of SOIceFest01 (2016) and a plug for SOIceFest02 - www.SOIceFest.com!

From TROUT (Comunity Care North Highlands)