Ontario Climbing Uniting Canada's Largest Climbing Community

After Almost 25 Years, Southern Ontario is Getting A New Climbing Guidebook.

In 2016, the long-awaited comprehensive guidebook to Southern Ontario’s famous climbing area, The Niagara Escarpment, will be released. Published in two volumes, this will be the first complete guide to this region in almost 25 years.
UPDATE: Pre-order your guide now at the Ontario Climbing Guidebook Store.
Ontario Climbing: Volume 1 The Southern Escarpment

Ontario Climbing: Volume 1 The Southern Escarpment

The guide itself is a love letter to the area, and its vibrant community, by two very dedicated authors, Gus Alexandropoulos and Justin Dwyer. Both authors view guidebooks as books of history as much as directions to a particular route. As such, extensive research, interviews and actual climbing going back a decade has been done to ensure the book is as complete, thorough and correct as possible. Not only that, but the authors are personal friends with the previous guidebook authors, the area’s prominent first ascensionists (of which they are), and are deeply involved in the community. Together they have climbed over fifty percent of the routes in the guide and have spoken to people who have climbed the remainder.
Ontario Climbing: Volume 1 The Southern Escarpment Kelso Crag

Ontario Climbing: Volume 1 The Southern Escarpment
Kelso Crag

So, what can you expect out of the guide? First, the crags of the 900km long Niagara Escarpment are being geographically divided into two books. The Southern Escarpment will be released first, and will cover areas close to Toronto including the exceptionally popular Milton crags. The Northern Escarpment will cover everything north of Shelburne including the amazing cragging in the Beaver Valley area and the picturesque crags of the Bruce Peninsula that overlook the beautiful waters of Georgian Bay. Each book has accurate details on over 1000 rock climbing routes.
Ontario Climbing: Volume 1 The Southern Escarpment Kelso Crag

Ontario Climbing: Volume 1 The Southern Escarpment
Kelso Crag

Volume 1 - The Southern Escarpment makes extensive use of colour photographs of the cliff to show routes from the climber’s perspective. This feature is particularly helpful due to the dense nature of routes on these almost climb-anywhere walls. Release date - before Spring 2016

UPDATE: Pre-order your guide now at the Ontario Climbing Guidebook Store.

Volume 2 - The Northern Escarpment focuses more on detailed overhead topo maps with some route photos mixed in to help with “you are here”-ing yourself. Release date - Spring 2016

Of course, the Volume 1 / Volume 2 numbering convention leaves the possibility for more books in the Ontario climbing guidebook series.

About the Authors

Gus Alexandropolous is a freelance writer based out of Hamilton. He has been a prominent member of the Southern Ontario climbing community for 30 years. While he established numerous first ascents over the decades, his real claim to fame came in the early 2000s when he discovered and almost single-handedly developed The Swamp and its almost 150 moderate sport routes. Gus has been a career climber for most of his life including stints as the editor at Gripped, Canada’s national climbing magazine as well as holding senior positions at a number of Canadian and international climbing companies.

Justin Dwyer is an ACMG certified climbing gym instructor and apprentice rock guide. He has been climbing and documenting routes on the Niagara Escarpment for 15 years. He takes an obsessively detailed-orientated approach to guidebook reading and collecting. Over the years, he was given the prestigious title of Captain Nemo by prolific Ontario guidebook author David Smart due to the fact Justin has climbed over 65% of the 300+ routes at that cliff. But really, his level of completionism extends far beyond to almost every crag. He is the undisputed master of the Escarpment’s weird, esoteric and obscure.
For more details about the upcoming guidebook as well as a list of retailers, keep checking back for updates at http://ontarioclimbing.com/
Stacks Image p72019_n133191
is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 25 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid 80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.