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Ontario Climbing Volume 2 - The Northern Escarpment

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This is the second volume of the long-awaited comprehensive guidebook to Southern Ontario’s famous climbing area, The Niagara Escarpment. Published in two volumes, this is the first complete guide to this region in almost 25 years.

 


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Volume 2 picks up the narrative with the Beaver Valley crags, home to four prominent crags: Metcalfe Rock, Old Baldy, Devil’s Glen, and The Swamp (the last three being predominantly sport climbing areas). The old guidebook provided inadequate information on Devil’s Glen, and, of course, The Swamp had yet to be developed. For the first time, this book allows climbers to plan a weekend trip with clear access information, route descriptions, and photos so that they can make the most of the precious time away from loved ones. I often overhear:  "I was thinking about Devil's Glen, but I’m not really sure where it is. The last time I was out at an Ontario crag, I spent half the time trying to find the first route I wanted to climb." Trees obscuring clear views, a Gordian knot of trails, and unmarked sideroads all contribute difficulties to Escarpment climbing.

With Vol. 2, this dread will end. Route descriptions are colorful, making for great ticklists or at least good bus-shelter reading. The guide gives you a sense of which trad routes you might consider, rather than just dismissing this form of climbing on the Northern Escarpment entirely. Newly-accessible areas come into their own. The level of photography (historic action photos of hardmen aside) is outstanding and makes you want to get in the car and head north, however much snow might be on the ground. Bugs, of course, are a different matter.