top of page
  • Writer's pictureChrista Niravong

Can you try ice climbing near Toronto, Ontario?

Did you know you can climb ice just over an hour from Toronto, Ontario?

There are some great places to ice climb in northern Ontario but usually the long drive makes it less desirable as a day trip. Most people have no idea that they can ice climb less than one hour from Toronto! One of the main locations, Tiffany Falls in Hamilton, has a spectacular horseshoe shaped waterfall where the ice is thick and peaks at 80-ft high. This is a great destination for large groups and the Alpine Club climbs there on Sundays while ONE AXE Pursuits has exclusive rights from Monday to Saturday. At this time, the general public is not allowed to climb without a ONE AXE guide or ACC. Unfortunately, for the last few years, Tiffany Falls hasn’t formed well due to the warm temperatures.

Enter new favourite location: Ice climbing in Elora, Ontario just 90 minutes from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The natural ice climbs in Elora usually form later in the season and for those who have climbed Scary Pillar, you know that the natural forming climbs are not really beginner routes and can easily pump you out because they are so steep. After a year of Tiffany Falls having insufficient ice and a lot of disappointed clients, ONE AXE Pursuits decided to take matters into their own hands. With permission from the township, they procured the equipment to pump the river water up to the top of a section of cliff. This allows ONE AXE to create easier grade ice climbs and offer courses earlier in the season and routes that are designed specifically for the beginner climber.

Elora is a popular destination for ice climbing for several reasons. Location, location location! Elora is situated only 90 minutes from Toronto in a picturesque village with European flair. This is the closest ice climbing location to Toronto with reliable ice. One of the reasons it is so reliable is because ONE AXE Pursuits builds the ice and makes sure to create easier climbs for beginners. Natural forming ice can be very difficult to climb especially for those trying it out for the first time.

It is also a benefit to have the safety talk and gearing up in the office which is renovated limestone church which was one of the most significant renovations in Centre Wellington and received an award. Not only do you get to stay warm in the building and get top notch instruction, you have the opportunity to peek at a stunning renovation project (the church was built in 1877). Starting in the building also means freshly baked croissants or muffins for breakfast and a soup snack for lunch to keep you warm. Being close to town means a 5-min walk to a nearby cafe or restaurant after your climb and accommodations are equally close (lots of discounts in the winter with all the accommodators). What about washrooms? ONE AXE even sets up a little portable washroom tent for those who are a bit shy. Outdoors heaters also add to the comfort of climbing with ONE AXE.

Ice farming has made us appreciate all the farmers who are slaves to the weather. During ice climbing season, ONE AXE checks the weather five times per day on average. ONE AXE scours weather apps for predictions for nights with ideal ice building conditions. ONE AXE stays up all night and watch the ice drip, redirecting the water constantly to create the best ice. This is serious business. After about 40 hours of building ice in ideal temperatures, there are four ice climbs ready for beginners to try and experience climbers enjoy the challenge as well. Ice climbing in Elora, Ontario is just one of the awesome programs offered at ONE AXE Pursuits. After the beginner course, consider the private lessons and learn to set up your own anchors with the ice anchor program as well as our mountaineering program right here in Elora, Ontario! 

If you would like to book ice climbing, click BOOK


bottom of page