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. 

A post shared by Liz Maffett (@liz.maffett) on

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

A post shared by Jh. (@philjh_) on

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. 

A post shared by Jeremy Lui (@jeremy.lui123) on

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


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Sports & Play

The top 5 parks in Toronto to get away from it all

10 things to do in Toronto before the summer is over

These powerful rapids are just two hours from Toronto

Win a Monster Dash prize pack

The top 10 things to do at the 2018 CNE in Toronto

Canada's Wonderland is launching a new winter festival

New ride at Canada's Wonderland will be the most epic dive coaster ever

These sprawling sand dunes near Toronto are a natural wonder