Has the arrival of warmer weather given you the itch to just get outside already? After a long, dreary winter, it’s only natural to want to trade a trip to the gym for some fresh air fun. Luckily for rock climbers, Hamilton Halton Brant’s easy access to the Niagara Escarpment makes it easy to do just that.
Milton’s Rattlesnake Point is a popular climbing destination that’s just a short drive from Toronto. Even if you’ve never climbed in an indoor gym, beginner courses offered by outfitters like One Axe Pursuits and Zen Climb are a great way to give the sport a try without having to invest in any equipment.
If you’ve got some indoor climbing experience and are looking to take your skills to the next level, learning how to set up top rope anchors and climb outdoors on your own is a natural next step.
Zen Climb’s one-day Gym to Crag course at Rattlesnake Point will teach you the necessary skills to manage challenges at the top and bottom of the cliff and all points in between. Be prepared for some homework before the course, including learning 10 different knots and hitches.
One Axe Pursuits’ Top Rope Anchors Course, also at Rattlesnake Point, will teach you to properly and safely set up anchors, belay with a variety of devices and tie essential climbing knots.
Ready to set out on your own
Once you’ve got the right experience and equipment, it’s easy to set out on your own for a day of climbing on the Niagara Escarpment. In addition to the 235 routes at Rattlesnake Point, Conservation Halton permits climbing at Mount Nemo on over 200 routes.
No car? No problem
Getting to Rattlesnake Point if you don’t have a vehicle is a breeze thanks to PARKBUS. Their Intro to Rock Climbing package includes your bus ride to and from Toronto (pick up and drop off is at either College and Yonge or Dufferin and Bloor), all equipment, and a guided lesson for just $202.89.
Tips for taking it outside
As you transition from indoor to outdoor climbing, keep these things in mind to ensure a great trip:
- When you’re scaling the Niagara Escarpment don’t forget that you’re experiencing a Canadian landmark that’s 450 million years old, complete with ferns, mosses and ancient cedars that cling to edges and walls of the cliffs. Use designated tie downs and installed anchors and never wrap ropes around trees.
- It doesn’t take long for skin to burn, so be sure to use sunscreen and bring sunglasses.
- Regularly refuel with lots of water and healthy snacks.
If you think you might make more than one trip, save big with a Conservation Halton Parks Membership. For just $50 you can enjoy admission to all seven of Conservation Halton’s parks for a full year as well as other great perks, including:
- 15% off campsite bookings, equipment rentals and purchases at park gift shops
- A complimentary 2-for-1 lift ticket to Glen Eden
- A complimentary Friends and Neighbours day pass to share
Supersize your rock climbing trip into an overnight camping trip. Rattlesnake Point has 17 group campsites for tent camping with picnic tables and fire pits.
Don’t keep the spectacular views all to yourself. Tag photos of your next rock climbing adventure in Hamilton Halton Brant with #NatureUnexpected.
Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect from One Axe Pursuits’ Beginner Course.