Alpine Club Of Canada

Thunder Bay Section

Ice Conditions Reports



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Here are some very old and outdated maps we have laying around.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

Mishipeshu (Mt McRae)
Submitted by:Scott Backes
Climbed on:3/5/16
Report:

Dave Rone and I climbed Mishipeshu on March 5th. I led the first pitch which was spicy at the start (some trad gear) and my be a bit under-graded at M6+. Dave took the second pitch which was NOT in the same shape as when I led it the only other year it's come in. The first 10 meters was never more than a meter wide-mostly 1/2 to 3/4 meter wide and was never more than 7-8cm thick-mostly 2.5-5cm. The ice got better the last 15 meters and allowed some gear that might have held a fall. Tough climbing in the Dry section (crux O.W.) was about the same as when I led it in 2006. Great led for Dave-no surprise there though!!


Tempest (Orient Bay Corridor)
Submitted by:fabio zorzes
Climbed on:March 5/16
Report:

 We (Jim Bidnall, Jim Restall and myself) climbed Tempest last Saturday in perfect spring conditions.  The ice was very friendly as the sun had softened things up nicely by mid-afternoon, however the lower snowy section had turned to mush by the time we departed.  It's still a very enjoyable climb and should remain so for about another week given the mild forecast.  Water was just starting to flow a bit by late afternoon.  

A quick drive further ahead indicated that Psycho and Go Mar Falls are still in pristine condition.

 

 

 

 


Feaver Falls (Off of Fever Rd.)
Submitted by:fabio zorzes
Climbed on:March 7/16
Report:

 Four of us, myself, Joe Duncan, Jim Bidnall and Doug Mason climbed Feaver Falls this past Monday and the conditions were excellent.  The slog in was tolerable as the snow wasn't too deep and half way up, we intersected footsteps some one else had recently broken in.  The icefall is in full-on fat condition and was a blast to climb on. The ice softened up nicely as the day wore on making the climbing even more enjoyeable.  The big ice daggers on the lower pitch have to be treated with respect but seem a long way from collapse due to melting.  For anyone contemplating this route, now is the time to climb as the rapidly approaching spring weather can totally change the complexion of the ice in a matter of a few days.  Get after it!

     

 

 


Child Play & Chucky's (Mc Rae)
Submitted by:Patrick Martel
Climbed on:25-05-2016
Report:

 Not climbed just updated condition Picture from close


Nanibijou (Mc Rae)
Submitted by:Patrick Martel
Climbed on:25-02-2016
Report:
Had a fun day with Kyle B. We had planned to climb child play but there were three Americans in it already so we made our way to Nanibijou. It's formed but really thin the third of first pitch.(BD #3 and #.75 useful) After it's a nice ribbon of ice all the way up. 2nd pitch goes in chimney on right which is not visible from the road. Finishes in nice umbrellas....
Also In case anyone wondered; we do get avalanche in Tbay.....

Alpine outing (Squaw bay)
Submitted by:Kurt Schmidt
Climbed on:Feb13
Report:

 Went for a hike to check out some climbs on a rather fresh morning. Decided to snap this pic for anyone wondering how things were looking...


Compulsion and Obsession (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:9-Jan-2016
Report:

There is a lot of fast freeze ice on Compulsion today. There was also a lot of tension in the ice which I release in several spots. Some water still flowing on the climb. Obsession is in pretty cruiser shape. Still water flowing on this climb as well. The gear on both climbs was easy to find and bomber.

Now I want to address the pilfering grab bag who removed the anchor above Compulsion. WTF is wrong with you? I put that anchor there last year, as I have done throughout most of Orient Bay and Kama Bay. I have been doing this for years paid for out my pocket, to be used by the entire climbing community, not for you to take home and save a couple bucks.

Don't get caught doing that.

When karma catches up to you in the mountains, bad things happen...


Cascade and Hully Gully (OB)
Submitted by:Ryan Howard
Climbed on:Wed Jan 6, 2016
Report:

 Cascade and Hully Gully were excellent yesterday.
Hully Gully made for a fun mini adventure for 2016. 
Lots of solid ice in both locations, low snow amounts and -1 degree conditions made for an excellent day.

 


 


Feaver Falls (Feaver Rd, Thunder Bay)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:n/a
Report:

 From the end of Feaver Rd. Looks promising . . . 


Comets Tail, Less Than Zero Gully, Freeze Fraze (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:3-Jan-2016
Report:

Inspired by Eric photo and description of Comets Tail, we made the trek out to OB with intent on climbing the very rarely forming Comets Tail. This sucker comes into condition about every time Haley's comets swings by earth. The last time it formed enough to be climbed was in 2008.

Brian did Less than Zero Gully first. Great, long, moderate climb. The start was "burly" with crappy gear. The gear after the initial column was excellent. There is lots of water still on this climb so it should get bigger. We did a short rap over to the anchor on Comets Tail, replaced it, then rapped down. I quickly discovered that the route was WAY too dangerous to climb on lead. I did not find any protect able ice through the obvious crux. I confirmed that while we did a lap on TR. The climb consisted of very brittle, dry, icicles that broke if you looked at them wrong. The climb barely held body weight. There was no water on the route but lots up top so it should fill in eventually and should weld up nicely.

In 15 years of OB climbing I never climbed Freeze Fraze. It was a real treat. Funky climbing in places. excellent gear and steep enough to keep it interesting. New anchor up top on the huge spruce.


Andromeda Weeps (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Eric Landmann
Climbed on:1/1/16
Report:

 Burt Lindquist and I climbed Andromeda Weeps today. The route is in excellent WI 3 condition. Ice was about perfect on an overcast, –4°C day. Where are all the climbers!? This is shaping up to be a very fat season.


Comet's Tail / Freeze Fraze (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Eric Landmann
Climbed on:1/1/16
Report:

Hiked into Freeze Fraze and Comet's Tail. Routes are in but in pretty stout condition. There is a left variation of Freeze Fraze that would go at about 4+, if anybody is interested. In this photo, Wake of the Asteroid is the thin left-most line that goes halfway up the cliffline, Comet's Tail is the large route left of center, and Freeze Fraze far right, with the "new" variation of Freeze Fraze just to the left of that.


Plumbers Crack/Indifference/Left Behind (OB)
Submitted by:Bryce Brown
Climbed on:Dec 31, 2015
Report:

Great New Years Eve (day) in the old stomping grounds with a favorite partner!  Climbed three probable new routes in the OB corridor today with Nick Buda - check out New Routes for details and pics.


Aqua Blue (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Eric Landmann
Climbed on:12/30/15
Report:

Burt Lindquist and I climbed Aqua Blue today. It is in fat and excellent WI3+ condition. Surprisingly brittle in places, but generally the ice was great. There is about 8cm of snow in the bush so the approach was about as easy as it gets.


Ice Stud (The Bowl)
Submitted by:Aric Fishman
Climbed on:December 28, 2015
Report:

No pro going up the first step of Ice Stud, 2nd step is good to go with sections that are kinda slushy and sections that are real glassy (mainly rock/snow for the 1st pitch top out ledge). 2nd pitch is not fat by any means, but seemed good.


White Lightning, Curtain Call (The Bowl)
Submitted by:Aric Fishman
Climbed on:December 28, 2015
Report:

Went to stretch the legs out today with Duncan in The Bowl today. We trekked over to White Lightning and Curtain Call - they both looked promising from the hike but from up close we started debating the integrity of the thin ice..and it was showering quite a bit off the top haha. There's a cpl climbable lines on it for sure but best to give it a few more days to fatten up and bond a bit better. The top out for curtain call is all rock and we didn't bring any trad gear, so we opted to take a cruise up Ice Stud instead.


Starquake (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:27-Dec-2015
Report:

 After our recon mission to Kama Bay, only to find out our ambition to walk a long way, after several turkey dinner, was not quite up to par, we headed to OB. As Aric mention lots of climbable ice. Since Starquake seems to only form every other year we decided to grab it before it's too cold. It was in fine shape. The water was still flowing and I suspect it should fill in and the curtain will become a little more stable. The gear was good but not obvious. Andromeda is in good shape as well.

Kama Bay is shaping up nicely. Getting Orientted area is looking good with most climbs in good shape. Getting Orientted itself wasn't in the best of shape though. The water has shifted left and is forming down Vertically Orientted instead. That climb is almost touching down. Ice Breakers are is in great great from what I could see.

Probably only the second time since the FA that Kamasutra is forming. Not quite there yet but looks promising.

Powerline Falls area had ice but look a tad lean IMO. The steep right ice only had a thick pillar instead of the normal steep sheet.

Hopfully the temps stay low and the ice stays.


Orient Bay Corridor (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Aric Fishman
Climbed on:December 28, 2015
Report:

Went out to Orient Bay today with Paul and boy did it feel good to swing in to some good ice again!! There was also another pair climbing Cascade Falls in the glorious sunshine. Almost everything in the corridor looks good and climbable; just be aware that because of the rain/snow/temp mix lots of the climbs will have false layer (crust) covering a layer of sugar snow over-top of the good ice for pro. The rivers/streams leading up to some of the ice climbs are not fully frozen over yet either, so avoid getting those boots wet at the start of the day.The highway was really good/dry and the shoulder up the corridor is nicely plowed too. Still bring a shovel though to dig out parking spots off the road and to make a bigger spaces on the shoulder if you are parking on the highway. Things are looking awesome!!  I wonder how Kama is shapping up..

 

Kama Bay 121515 (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Eric Landmann
Climbed on:12/15/15
Report:

Went to Kama today to check out conditions. Getting Oriented was in and down, hard to see what the very top looked like but the bottom and center are in and very full.

Also hiked into Grandy Mardy Falls and did a little bouldering there. The Falls is in and leadable on the right site, not too wet there. There is a leadable, thin line on the far right that is in as well.

From the road Icebreakers looks to be fully in top to bottom, Icebreakers Arête looks to be in too although it is difficult to tell what the top is like.


Tears of Joy 121415 (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Eric Landmann
Climbed on:12/14/15
Report:

 From the road Tears of Joy looks to be formed although both the lower tier and upper tier look to be much more vertical than when the route is in full.


Cascade Falls 121415 (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Eric Landmann
Climbed on:12/14/15
Report:

 Yeah, not climbable. it is pouring water. Some vestitiges of ice are forming, it should build quickly as the winter proceeds. Any route in the valley with a volume of water is washed out and running freely now. But the smaller routes seem to be forming.


Tempest / Gremlins 121415 (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Eric Landmann
Climbed on:12/14/15
Report:

There is some ice on the right side of Tempest that probably could be climbed it would be much more "sporting" than usual! Gremlins is coming in well and looks to be climbable right now, although it would be more difficult than typical.


Mellow Yellow 121415 (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Eric Landmann
Climbed on:12/14/15
Report:

 Mellow Yellow looks to be in, top part is harder than usual because you would probably need to go right instead of the usual left exit.


Orient Bay Corridor (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Eric Landmann
Climbed on:12/14/15
Report:

Went into Aqua Blue today, it was a quick 30-minute hike with about 8 cm of snow on the ground. The route is in fat and full, a little thin in a few spots toward the bottom but no problems at all, plenty of ice. I didn't climb to the top, just did a little bouldering but it is obvious there would be no problems.


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