ice climbing toronto

You can climb a frozen gorge just one hour from Toronto

There's plenty of ways to satisfy winter cravings for adventure in and around Toronto, from skating through forests to dog sled rides, but few activities offer a better adrenaline rush than climbing up an ice-covered gorge. 

Ice climbing offers that rare combination of beautiful scenery and physical challenge that makes for some of the best adventure sports out there. Fortunately, there are some amazing spots to try it out near Toronto. 

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Southern Ontario waterfalls typically start to freeze in late December, but it's not until January that ice climbing season gets into full swing. The most popular destination near Toronto is the majestic Tiffany Falls, which is the only Hamilton-area waterfall approved for climbing.

Not just anyone can grab an axe an head up the gorge, though. The Hamilton Conservation Authority dictates that those climbing must be members of the Alpine Club of Canada or enrolled in a class with One Axe Pursuits

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For those of us who aren't expert climbers, it's the latter opportunity that offers the easiest and safest access. Classes are designed to cater to both beginners and those who have experience climbing at indoor gyms. 

Beyond Hamilton, One Axe also runs its ice climbing classes at the Elora Gorge, which is about an one and half hour drive from Toronto. The location here is also incredibly scenic with the David Street Bridge peeking across the frozen Grand River opposite the ice-covered cliff. 

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One Axe classes are $200 and include all the necessary equipment for climbing. All you need to do is bring proper clothing, food, and water. You can check their calendar for available spots this winter. 

Lead photo by

@lkheaney


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