Experimental Lakes Area (ELA)

The Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) is an exceptionally beautiful wilderness area located about 50 km southeast of Kenora: roughly the area bounded by Dryberry, Eagle, and Dogtooth lakes. Although ELA is no farther from Winnipeg than the Gooseneck Rocks at Minaki, climbing here is a much more complex endeavour: The primitive roads pose considerable risk to passenger vehicles, and travel by canoe is required to get to many cliffs. This makes day trips from Winnipeg impractical and distinguishes ELA from other climbing areas in the Kenora region.

ELA’s strange name is derived from the scientific research station that is located here. During the early 1960s, the rapidly deteriorating condition of the Great Lakes (especially Lake Erie) caused widespread societal concern. As part of a binational agreement with the U.S., the Canadian Government agreed to investigate the causes of this “eutrophication” by experimentally manipulating whole lakes. Of the many sites that were considered for this work, ELA was chosen because of its proximity to Winnipeg, and because it contains many small, deep, clean lakes. These lakes owe their existence to the excellent pink granite that is found in the ELA region.

The first ELA rock climbers were personnel stationed at the ELA camp, who top-roped a few easy routes at Lake 123 and Lake 262 in 1973-75. In 1979 Winnipeg climbers visited, establishing hard leads on Hillock and Teggau cliffs. This sparked a flurry of intense activity in the early 1980s. Interest waned in the mid and late ’80s but has recently picked up again. A tremendous number of lines are still untouched but leaders should remember that there is no organized rescue service in this remote wilderness area. In case of emergency, helicopter and fixed-wing floatplane service is available from Kenora (about 1/2 hour away by air); the ELA field camp (G.R. 474008) is staffed year-round has a radio telephone.

Access

Only 5% of the more than 1000 lakes at the ELA region have officially recognized names; the smaller lakes are identified by the numbers arbitrarily assigned to them by the research team that initially surveyed the area. The map at the front of this section identifies all lakes that are specifically mentioned in the text below. This map, however, does not contain sufficient information to find the cliffs: Unless you are accompanied by a knowledgeable local, you will also need the 1:50,000 scale topographic maps Dryberry Lake (52 F/12) and Feist Lake (52 F/13), available from the Canada Map Office, 602 Booth St., Ottawa.

ELA is 300 km east of Winnipeg, Manitoba (about a 3.5 hour drive). There are two roads in ELA: The Highwind Lake Road (also called the 314 Road) goes east from Ontario Highway 71, 20 km south of where 71 meets the Trans-Canada Highway. The Pine Road goes south from the Trans-Canada Highway about 60 km east of Kenora (it starts precisely 2.5 km east of the well-marked Gordon Lake Road turnoff) and has a large Experimental Lakes Area sign at its entrance; an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources travel permit, available only for official ELA business, is required to use this road. These roads are connected, but a locked gate on the road connecting them prevents through traffic. The 314 Road is badly deteriorated east of Ethelma Lake; only high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles should attempt to go farther (you are warned!) Final access to many cliffs is by canoe. Access times are given for the time taken for a party familiar with the route, from the car to the cliff.

Since there is little order to the landscape, cliffs are described in approximate order of climbing interest. The way one normally approaches a cliff determines the order in which routes are described (right to left vs. left to right; directions assume that you are facing the cliff). Directions for descent routes assume that you are facing away from the cliff.

List of ELA Climbing Areas:


Lake 123

This cliff is located on the southeast corner of a small lake (G.R. 377989). In spite of being only 30 m high and a few hundred meters in width, it is the best climbing site so far discovered in the ELA region. Every 10 m or so the steep face is broken by sharp-edged cracks that run for the whole height of the cliff. Many fine climbs follow these marvelous cracks and demand sustained jamming, chimneying, and laybacking (Jamming 101, Suzy, Under the Sword, Yosemite Prep, and Beaver Toe). Small and rounded face holds provide excitement on other equally interesting but more varied routes (Solid Geometry, Full Moon Coming, Chan-Balhum, My Go Now).

Access starts at a portage trail at G.R. 378998 that leads south to Lake 122; it meets the road at the bottom of a short, steep hill immediately opposite a small parking spot on the north side of the road. The water level in L.122 has dropped about 3 m recently, exposing a lot of previously submerged shoreline; this gives the lake a peculiar, somewhat desolate, feeling. Continue around the east shore of L.122, scramble up a hill, and follow the top of the ridge to the cliff. Alternatively–and more elegantly–canoe across L.122 to a short portage at G.R. 376993 into L.123 and canoe down to the far end of the lake to the cliff. Access time 20 minutes.

Large boulders at lake level below the huge overhang on the main face provide easy access to the climbs and are also a convenient place to enter the lake for a swim. A 3 m high flake of rock leaning against the face about 50 m right of these boulders is an important feature for locating several climbs which are not visible from the lake. There is an exit route near the left end of the cliff which can be hard to find from the top and tricky (5.1) even when you are on route. The right end of the cliff is even more awkward but it is fun to explore the chimneys and caves there. Generally it is most expedient to rappel from the large tree above Full Moon Coming. Climbs are described from left to right.

Jamming 101 5.5, 15m *

A straightforward and recommended introduction to the rock on this cliff. Start at the left end of the cliff at the point where it meets the lake. Follow the crack.
Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1981 Oct 7

Suzy 5.9, 26m *

An attractive meat grinder 10 m right of the exit route near the left end of the cliff. Pitch 1. 17m. Wiggle up the left leaning offwidth crack to the upside-down triangle under a roof. Follow the crack through the roof (crux). Pitch 2. 9m. Continue up the narrow chimney to a tree belay.
Aid (5.9/A1): Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1981 Oct 7, Free: Casey Shaw, Everett Fee – 1984 Aug 26

Under the Sword 5.8, 24m **

Exceptionally classy. It starts 20 m right of the exit route on the left end of the cliff below a 6 m high detached granite finger. Pitch 1. 6m. Climb the left side of the granite finger and step onto a large terrace. Pitch 2. 18m. Layback the right side of the huge flake in the corner of the terrace directly under the cantilevered block (it is quite solid). An awkward crack above the block leads to the top.
Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1981 Sept 9

Yosemite Prep 5.9, 27m **

A strenuous and poorly protected gem that starts on the right side of the 6 meter high detached granite finger. Pitch 1. 6m. Climb the right side of the granite finger and step onto the big terrace. Pitch 2. 12m. (Crux) Climb the left side of the huge flake in the corner and hand traverse left to a tree belay. Pitch 3. 9m. Follow the corner to a tree.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee, Bob France – 1982 Sept 6

Raincheck 5.10, 24m

An intimidating line located in the inside corner to the left of the low overhangs behind the lakeside boulders. It is a good route that stays dry when the rest of the cliff is wet.
Aid (5.6/A1): Peter Aitchison, Everett Fee – 1982 May 29, Free: Casey Shaw, Everett Fee – 1984 Aug 26

Early Morning Madness 5.6, 15m

A curious, unsustained route that goes up the left inside corner of the big square alcove behind the lakeside boulders. Veer to the left at the top, taking care to not knock off the loose foothold. The direct finish up the overhanging jam crack is 5.8.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee – 1981 Sept 9

Autumn Glow 5.5, 15m

Memorable mainly for a weird body position at the crux. It starts below the huge overhangs on the main face and follows the corners and low angled slabs which trend to the left.
Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1981 Sept 8

Suspended Animation 5.10d/5.11a, 30m

Goes up prominent cracks immediately under the huge overhangs at the tallest part of the cliff. Pitch 1. 15m. Free climb the vertical cracks to a ledge. Mixed aid and free moves lead up and right past a thin flake and an unusual crack in the roof. Step above the overhang to a hanging belay. Pitch 2. 15m. Follow an irregular (pegmatite) crack and slabs to the top.
Aid (5.6/A2): Bob France, Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1982 Sept 5, TR: Bob Grabowski, Corey McFarlan 1998 Sept

Solid Geometry 5.8, 34m ***

An elegant line of great character that follows the obvious weakness through the overhangs on the main face. Start below the crack on the right side of a steep ramp at the tallest part of the cliff. Pitch 1. 18m. Climb to the top of a chest high flake 3 m beneath the overhang. Traverse under the overhang (crux) and belay (hanging) at a small stance just above. It was originally climbed in one pitch by using two ropes and abandoning the rope that was used below the overhang once above it. Pitch 2. 15m. Continue up the easy (5.4) crack or follow the irregular crack to slabs (the more interesting option).
Everett Fee – 1981 July 19

Beaver Toe 5.6, 32m *

A complex and satisfying line that follows the crack and chimney system to the right of the tallest part of the cliff. The chimney at the top is prominent when viewed from the lake but is not visible from the start. Pitch 1. 17m. Follow cracks, a narrow chimney and steep sharp edged flakes to a stance below the main chimney. Pitch 2. 15m. Climb the chimney and continue on through the boulders to the top. To avoid rope drag above the chimney, climb the slab on the left.
Everett Fee, Lucille Doucette – 1981 May 16

Everett’s Error 5.7, 30m

An offwidth problem that can be hard on the knees and forearms: wear appropriate clothing. Pitch 1. 17m. The first pitch is the same as Beaver Toe. Pitch 2. 14m. The parallel vertical cracks at the left of the belay are a challenging crux.
Everett Fee – 1981 May 16

The Bitter End 5.8, 27m

An innocent looking chimney which turns into a flared overhanging horror. It starts 10 m left of the 5 m high flake.
Everett Fee – 1981 Aug 1

My Go Now 5.10b, 21m **

The cleanest line on the cliff. Start behind the big flake and either jam up the crack in the corner or climb the flake and traverse across to the right trending crack under the roof. A tantalizing problem involving offhand jamming, awkward chimneying, and minimal footholds lies ahead.
Aid (5.7/A2): Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1981 Oct 7, Free: Casey Shaw, Everett Fee, Dirk Erkau – 1982 Sept 7

Wisdom Flake 5.10b, 20m ** TR

Follow a thin left-facing flake that starts 2 m left of Full Moon Coming for 7 m. The rest is thin face climbing.
Doug Orr – 1991 Sept 1

Full Moon Coming 5.7, 20m **

A fascinating, sustained route that starts 3 m right of the 5 m high flake and follows the thin left trending crack.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee – 1981 Sept 9

Complication 5.7, 17m

The easy-looking crack that goes straight up the face a few steps to the right of Full Moon Coming. The crux is at the top.
Peter Aitchison, Everett Fee, Richard Tilley – 1982 May 29

Kuku Africa 5.5, 20m

Goes us the chimney in the dark inside corner covered with lush moss at the bottom. The grade applies only if you have long legs.
Everett Fee – 1981 May 16

Chan-Bahlum 5.9, 24m ***

An exacting and sustained crack and slab climb on the right of a prominent outside corner; easily identified by the big nose 2/3 of the way up. Named for a big-nosed king who reigned between 683 and 701 A.D. in Palenque, a Mayan ceremonial center in the Mexican jungle.
Peter Aitchison, Everett Fee – 1982 May 29

Beginner’s Chimney 5.4, 27m

An extensive boulder field begins about 50 m right of the 5 m high flake. Just at this point is a cleft that goes up to a chimney which is hard to see from below. Pitch 1. 9m. Climb the cleft to a ledge and go up and left to an alcove. Pitch 2. 18m. Climb the chimney.
Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1981 Sept 8

Mind Riot 5.10c/d, 14m ***

Start in the corner under the big roof. Climb up the cracks to a rest under the roof. Move out the left crack through the roof. This wide overhanging offwidth tapers to nice hand jams at the top.
Rob Hester, Bob Grabowski, Corey McFarlan, Jesse ?? – 1998 Sept

J.A.M., 5.10b 14m **

Start in a dihedral 7 m left of Composure. Climb the corner crack through the roof on the right (crux).
Mike Baxter, Jake Klassen – 1990 Sept 3

Composure 5.6, 12m

A short but sustained route. It is the inside corner full of chockstones just to the right of an impressive overhang about 20 m from the right end of the cliff.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee – 1981 Sept 8


Hillock Lake

This large, unusually clear, anchor-shaped lake is located about 18 km along 314 Road. Because it is easily accessible, it is frequented by scuba divers and weekend campers. The great height of the Main Cliff (about 60 m above lake level) provides a view that is unequalled anywhere in the region.

Two cliffs close to Hillock Lake have seen climbing activity: The Main Cliff is on the southeast side of the lake (G.R. 368990) and is easily seen from the road at the point where it veers away from the lake. It is best approached by canoe but can also be hiked to. In either case, start from the campsite at G.R. 367999. Access time: 1/2 hour. The smaller Bush Cliff is located at G.R. 363015 (about half-way between the summer camp at the north end of the lake and the above-mentioned campsite). Easiest access is by canoe; many years ago there was a logging trail that led to the top of this cliff from the road, but it is probably badly overgrown by now. Routes on both cliffs are described from left to right.

Main Cliff

Mephisto 5.8, 24m *

A challenging route located about 1/3 of the way from the left end of the cliff below a prominent overhang (there is a birch tree 1/2 up the face). Climb the thin, slightly left-trending crack to beneath the overhang. Traverse left and then up a crack to a ledge. Follow the crack on the right to the top.
Doug Leonard, Bob France – 1982 Sept 11

Plum-Line 5.7, 26m *

This route ascends the obvious right-facing corner 7 m right of Mephisto. Pitch 1. 18m. Climb the crack to below the treed ledge. Pitch 2. 8m. Chimney up the V-shaped slot and step to the left onto another ledge. Move right above the slot and climb the short crack to the top.
Bob France, Doug Leonard – 1982 Sept 11

Climax 5.8, 24m **

An excellent route with sustained climbing. Goes up the left of the two obvious crack/chimneys in the middle section of the cliff.
Peter Aitchison, Peter Gough – 1979

Chicken Shit 5.7, 27m *

An enjoyable climb on the right end of the cliff just to the left of a gigantic flake. Move up the chimney, around the overhang to the left, and up to a ledge below the crux (the leader stood in a sling here).
Richard Tilley, Bob France – 1979

Moriah 5.7, 24m **

A sustained crack climb offering excellent positions. Ascend the large broken crack 5 m inside the south arm of the immense U-shaped grotto that cleaves the right end of the cliff.
Doug Leonard, Bob France – 1982 Sept 11

Victoria’s Secret 5.5, 18m

Located at the back of the immense grotto at the point where it turns sharply to the west. Follow the left-trending crack.
Doug Leonard, Caroline Marion, Lucille Doucette, Everett Fee – 1991 May 18

Bush Cliff

Fear of Flying 5.7, 21m *

Delicate and sustained. One of the first obvious lines past the large boulders near the left end of the cliff. Ascend the vertical crack through a small treed ledge, and follow its continuation to the left. Traverse left, underneath the overhand near the top, to a large tree. Exit through broken ledges to the right.
Bob France, Anil Shukla, Peter Aitchison – 1983 June 9

Bunderoon Kaa Bageecha 5.7, 24m *

A good route located right of the cliff centre near large overhangs near the top. Pitch 1. 8m. Climb the awkward offwidth crack in a right-facing corner to gain the large ledge. Pitch 2. 17m. Move to the right and ascend a vertical crack that later begins to angle to the left. Traverse under the overhang near the top to a large unsteady block that is essential for upward movement.
Anil Shukla, Peter Aitchison, Bob France – 1983 June 9


Lake 239

This small cliff is off the northeast shore of L.239 (G.R. 483014). Because it is very close to the ELA field camp and offers a variety of routes on good solid rock, it is an excellent place to introduce beginners to rock climbing. The surrounding area, however, is closed to the public and only ELA personnel may climb here.

Access starts at the Roddy portage on the northeast corner of L.239. Follow a path that runs south (parallel to the shore) past a small stream (weir) and you will see the cliff through the bush on the left in a few minutes. Access time: 5 minutes. Descent from most routes is by rappel but there is an exit route near the left end of the cliff. Routes are described from right to left.

Royal Layback 5.5, 12m

About 30 m from the right end of the cliff is an inside corner whose left wall is bright orange. Climb the 3-inch crack using lay-away holds.
Everett Fee, Cam Grose – 1992 May 11

Falling Sun 5.8, 12m

Just around the outside corner to the left of Royal Layback is a wall crossed diagonally by a prominent dike of bright orange rock. Follow the crack that starts at the bottom of this face and ends under a small grey roof. Finish by traversing right (crux).
Everett Fee, Cam Grose – 1992 May 20

Ice Out 5.6, 12m **

An excellent route that follows the inside corner a few meters left of Falling Sun. Move left to escape the small grey roof near the top.
Everett Fee, Cam Grose – 1992 May 11

Hot Wind 5.7, 12m *

Follow the inside corner just left of Ice Out to a broad ledge. Go right, then straight up a crack on the face. Finish on the outside of the buttress.
Everett Fee, Cam Grose – 1992 May 20

Billygoat’s Gruff 5.8, 12m TR

Climb the wall immediately right of Fifteen Minutes… to a ridge and over a nose.
Mark Loewen, Cam Grose – 1992 June 14

Fifteen Minutes after Cheescake 5.10, 12m ** TR

Begins about 30 m left of Hot Wind and 5 m past a low overhang with the prominent detached outward-leaning slab. Follow a deep dihedral to a roof (crux).
Mark Loewen, Cam Grose – 1992 June 14

Beginner’s Buttress 5.3, 14m *

About 30 m left of Billygoat’s Gruff is a prominent inside corner with a small roof about 3 m up. Climb the right side of the buttress 3 m right of the corner (the left side of the buttress is 5.5; the direct line up the buttress is 5.6; the corner itself is 5.6). Traverse left into the corner just above above the overhang and follow the corner to the top.
Everett Fee – 1993 May 21


Lake 262

The fine cliffs on the west side of this lake make it well worth the time required to get there. Three distinct formations are recognizable: The North Cliff is up to 40 m high; it runs alongside the lake shore for a long distance, but only a relatively small part of it (at G.R. 498068) has extensive climbing possibilities. It offers several fine moderate routes (Prelude, Super Crack, Aurora Borealis, and The Chief) as well as one sensational harder line (Thunderbird). The Temple of the Sun is a huge square theater referred to in several route descriptions; it is located near the top left end of this cliff; protected from wind and rain, it commands an impressive view over the lake toward the rising sun. To the left of the North Cliff is a long blank stretch of rock. The Interior Cliff starts at the point where the lakeshore deviates sharply away from this cliff (G.R. 497067); it continues into the bush and features a beautiful waterfall. Continuing left along the lake shore, the South Cliff rises abruptly from the lake at G.R. 495064. It is extensively fractured, with many lines up to 25 m long; much remains to be done here. There are also some interesting indian rock paintings (mostly hand prints) on a steep lichen-free granite face near the right end of this cliff.

Descent from all routes on the North Cliff is by rappel. From most anchors, a single rope will not reach the bottom when doubled. If you only have one rope, don’t head south and rappel by the waterfall unless you are prepared to swim back to the base of the climbs. A rappel suitable for a single rope starts at a prominent lone jack pine at the north end of the cliff, just above Wounded Tree. For the Interior Cliff, rappel by the waterfall. On the South Cliff, there is an exit route whose top is marked with two cairns; the top is quite far right of the bottom, which starts about 15 m right of Blade Runner and goes up a series of ramps and inside corners.

Access is from the Trans-Canada Highway. Put in on the West Arm of Eagle Lake at G.R. 626170 and paddle down to a short portage into Winnange Lake at G.R. 528098. Another portage at G.R. 503073 leads to L.262. Access time 4 hours. The ELA Pine Road gives quicker access to Winnange Lake. Take the secondary road 20.9 km from the Trans-Canada Highway and in about 0.8 km it crosses a creek at G.R. 455058; continue on to the end of this road, taking the left fork just before it ends. A short (200 m) trail leads to Winnange. There are good campsites on L.262 at the end of the portage and on the peninsula at G.R. 503071.

The routes are described from right to left.

North Cliff

Wounded Tree 5.3, 24m

Goes up the right side of a heavily fractured gully on the southwest side of the lakeside terrace with the large pine trees on the northwest side of the lake. A prominent lone jack pine halfway up the cliff marks the top of the route. Named for the damage done to the belay anchor by a massive boulder dislodged on the first ascent.
Everett Fee, Richard Tilley, Lucille Doucette – 1990 Sept 3

Lay-back Chimney 5.5, 21m

Start a few meters to the left of Wounded Tree and climb the narrow chimney with a clump of birch growing out of its base. Move left above the chimney and then straight up to the junipers left of the big jack pine.
Richard Tilley, Everett Fee – 1990 Sept 3

Prelude 5.5, 34m *

A good introduction to this cliff. It starts above a boulder field about 20 m left of Wounded Tree. Pitch 1. 21m. Follow a short dihedral to right-trending cracks. Move under a roof (crux) and up a crack to a stance. Pitch 2. 12m. Go up a short steep section and then trend left to finish. The direct finish is dirty and difficult.
Everett Fee, Doug Leonard, Peter Whiteford – 1978 Sept 17

Juniper Jungle 5.6, 27m

A terrific looking inside corner in the center of the lakeside wall, just to the left of the blank face with the huge overhang. It has a good short crux but too much prickly vegetation to make it worth the trouble.
Everett Fee, Lucille Doucette – 1982 July 11

Thunderbird 5.8, 34m ***

The stuff that dreams are made of. It begins at a left trending ramp a few steps left of Juniper Jungle. Climb 10 m on a moderate but unprotected face to a very welcome ledge. Take varied cracks to a prominent horizontal crack and traverse left to the crux–a long, right-leaning jam crack.
Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1982 July 28

Super Crack 5.6, 34m *

A route for stoics, with a long, exciting crux. Start on the outside corner of the buttress to the right of The Temple of the Sun. Move up easily to a horn and go to the right around an herbaceous corner to gain the crack. At this point it is wide enough for hands; over the next 20 m it narrows to finger width.
Everett Fee, Lucille Doucette – 1982 July 11

Aurora Borealis 5.6, 27m *

Unusually varied and memorable. Follow the inside corner on the right side of the alcove beneath The Temple to a comfortable ledge above a clump of birch trees. The overhang in the corner is the last serious obstacle.
Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1982 July 28

Camino al Templo 5.6, 18m

Delicate and interesting. Start below an outside corner on the right side of the square alcove beneath The Temple. Thin cracks lead to a sloping ledge halfway up. Jam, undercling and stem along the left sides of downsloping flakes to The Temple.
Everett Fee, Lucille Doucette – 1982 July 2

Loon 5.6, 27m

A worthwhile route on the left side of the alcove beneath The Temple. Follow the inside corner to The Temple. Traverse left on the sheer wall and go over an impressive but easy overhang to the top.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee – 1982 July 28

The Chief 5.5, 37m **

A big route with excellent positions and sustained interest. Climb a short chimney on the left side of the buttress to the left of The Temple to an easy overhang and then follow cracks to a prominent guano-covered spike. (It is a grade easier to avoid the overhang on the left.) Traverse right above the spike and move into a big slot behind the huge flake. Move up the slot to exit. The steep face split by a thin crack to the left of the chimney offers an interesting 5.7 variation.
Everett Fee, Lucille Doucette – 1982 July 10

Interior Cliff

Lost Girls 5.10a, 11m TR

Start on some large blocks at the point where the lake shore veers sharply away from the cliff. Move up cracks about 3 m to a good ledge. Climb the overhanging left-trending finger crack and squirm over the rounded top.
Randy Abbott – 1992 May 18

Solid Fun 5.9, 23m **

Start 600 m right of Tropical Punch and just right of a birch tree. Climb a big left-facing inside corner to a ledge at 2/3 height. Go straight up the face on a thin seam to a shallow ledge and traverse left (arms only) up to a big ledge. Move left and up to finish.
Rob Hester, Kenton Frith, Jake Klassen – 1992 May 18

English Country Garden 5.7, 30m **

Follow an obvious left-trending (and dirty) hand and fist-sized crack until it starts moving right. Move over a bulge to a large ledge, then up to another ledge.
Mike Baxter, Susan Baker-Baxter, Peter Aitchison – 1991 May 19

South Cliff

Blade Runner 5.9/A1, 24m ***

Goes up the obvious right-trending break at the right end of the cliff. Climb cracks to the overhang at the top, which was overcome with one aid move.
Jeff Aitchison, Peter Aitchison, Sebastian May, Adrian – 1990 May


Lake 259

In spite of its modest size, routes on this cliff are of remarkably high quality (all but one are starred). It is also one of the most accessible sites because the ELA Pine Road touches the shore of L.259 23.7 km from the Trans-Canada Highway. The cliff is about 100 yards from the northwest shore of the lake (G.R. 433052). To get there, canoe up the length of the lake and scramble up a boulder field. Access time: 20 minutes.

New Beginning 5.2, 15m

A fine introduction to rock climbing. It starts at the left end of the cliff and follows a staircase up to a big flake on the right. Continue straight up the thin crack above the flake to the top.
Everett Fee, Doug Leonard – 1982 Sept 13

Second Coming 5.9, 18m **

A spectacular and sustained route up a vertical crack through an imposing overhang located about 30 m from the left end of the cliff, directly behind a huge detached flake.
Doug Leonard, Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1982 Sept 13

Mystery Tour 5.9, 21m *

A well appointed and exacting climb located just left of the bald face at the tallest part of the cliff. It starts to the left of an alcove under a prominent low roof and follows an obscure inside corner system. Pitch 1. 12m. Finger traverse off a narrow ledge to a short right trending dihedral. Move onto the face above the dihedral and follow cracks to a large block. Go past the block on the left to a broad ledge. Pitch 2. 9m. Move right up a short bench to a notch and finish up the narrow crack.
Doug Leonard, Dan Price – 1982 Sept 26

Cave Corner 5.4, 21m ***

This grand classic (the first route climbed in the region) follows the inside corner which leads to caves at the top of the tallest part of the cliff; the caves are clearly visible from the lake. Climb the corner and enter the chimney on the left. At top of the chimney, step across to holds on the right.
Everett Fee, Peter Whiteford – 1977

Low Overhead 5.6, 21m *

An interesting varied route. It follows the vertical cleft which starts 3 m right of Cave Corner. Jam and chimney to a ledge halfway up the cliff. Go up and left under the first overhang to an alcove. Finish to the right under the second and third overhangs.
Everett Fee – 1981 July 18

Frog Legs 5.8, 20m **

A fine climb 12 m right of Cave Corner, where the cliff turns to the west. Layback the thin overhanging edge at the right side of a steep slab; then face climb up to a good ledge. Confusing cracks (crux) lead to another good ledge and a steep face for the finish. Everett Everett Fee – 1981 May 17


Lake 310

This remote site is located off the southeast corner of Teggau Lake. There are a few worthy routes here (Wildest Dreams, Dukes of Hazard, and Farewell to Arms) but the left side of the cliff has loose rock and it is not as consistently interesting as previously described cliffs. It is located on the southeast shore of a big bay (G.R. 541010) and is only a small part of a massive granite promontory. The other side of this formation is an even higher and steeper cliff than the one described here, but it has little apparent climbing potential.

Two access routes are available: The first starts at the Trans-Canada Highway at G.R. 626170. Canoe down the west Arm of Eagle Lake. Paddle up the stream that enters Eagle Lake at G.R. 537089; the portage into Teggau starts at G.R. 538087. Short portages at G.R. 532012 and G.R. 534013 lead to Lake 310. This route has easier portaging and route finding than the other but it is longer and it crosses the length of Teggau Lake, which can be difficult in high winds. Access time 1 day. The second access route starts from the ELA Pine Road at the west end of Roddy Lake (incorrectly marked Teggau Creek on 52F/12) (G.R. 442037, 23.7 km from the Trans-Canada Highway). The portage into Teggau Lake starts on a rock shelf at G.R. 504024 and ends at G.R. 515024. Cross the south end of Teggau to short portages at G.R. 532012 and G.R. 534013. Access time 1/2 day. This route is shorter and avoids the open waters of Teggau Lake, but the portage into Teggau from Roddy is the longest in the region (1 km). The best nearby campsite is the island at G.R. 531026 on Teggau Lake.

Routes are described from left to right. There is a good exit route on the right (south) end of the cliff.

Tipicanoe 5.5, 27m

Located in a prominent gully on the fractured left side of the cliff. This unsatisfying route starts by stepping from the canoe onto steep rock. Go up and right along a ledge. The subsequent move into the gully is the only real problem.
Casey Shaw, Dorland Brown – 1982 Sept 27

Wildest Dreams 5.4, 27m **

An estimable lead on unusual rock. It follows a crack and chimney system located between the place where the cliff leaves the lake shore and a huge overhang to the right. Pitch 1. 15m. Start behind the lone spruce tree growing next to the face and move up a steep section. Follow irregular cracks to the left and belay behind the bizarre flake. Pitch 2. 12m. Move left into the corner, then go up over a flake and squeeze through the narrow slot at the top of the overhang.
Tibor Bodi, Everett Fee – 1982 Sept 27

Throwaway 5.5, 24m

A scrappy line with one hard move. Start a few steps left of the dark inside corner to the left of the bulgy wall at the tallest part of the cliff. Climb a short steep face to an alcove. Continue up and left easily to a birch tree. Go back right and up, finishing with a strenuous mantleshelf.
Tibor Bodi, Everett Fee – 1982 Sept 27

Stormy Sky 5.6, 27m

A good route hidden on the left side of the bulgy wall at the tallest part of the cliff. Pitch 1. 14m. Move up the dark inside corner to a small overhang. Go left and up over an awkward flake (crux) and traverse back to the right to belay. Pitch 2. 14m. Follow cracks in the right inside corner to a small overhang at the top. Finish up and to the right.
Casey Shaw, Dorland Brown – 1982 Sept 27

Friends and Rocks 5.6, 12m

A short but sustained inside corner. It ends abruptly under a prominent overhang on the right side of the bulgy wall at the tallest part of the cliff.
Everett Fee, Tibor Bodi, Casey Shaw – 1982 Sept 27

Dukes of Hazard 5.8, 24m **

An obviously hard (but well-protected) left-leaning jam crack that cleaves the middle of the steep compact face to the right of the tallest part of the cliff.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee – 1982 Sept 26

Farewell to Arms 5.7, 27m ***

Varied and unexpectedly challenging. Traverse across a ledge that cuts across the bottom of the steep compact face to the right of the tallest part of the cliff. Follow cracks up and right to the left leaning roof and corners.
Everett Fee, Tibor Bodi, Dorland Brown, Casey Shaw – 1982 Sept 26

Double Indemnity 5.5, 21m

A gorgeous inside corner hidden from view near the right end of the cliff. The crux overhang at the top is easier than it seems at first.
Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1982 Sept 13


Lake 691

This small cliff is accessible by canoe from the Trans-Canada Highway without portaging. The rock contains lots of biotite (black mica; a mineral that bonds only in two dimensions) and is consequently occasionally loose. Nevertheless, it offers many interesting routes; three lines of sustained moderate difficulty on very sound rock ( Granite Byway, Vulture’s Shadow, and Casey’s Way) are particularly recommended.

The cliff is located 3 km north of Teggau Lake. Access starts from the Trans-Canada Highway on the West Arm of Eagle Lake (G.R. 626170). Canoe down to the bay at the southwest extremity of this lake and enter the narrow stream coming from L.691 (G.R. 551098), which meanders through a beautiful marsh which can usually be negotiated without portaging. Access time 3 hours.

To get to the cliff from the lake, start at the smooth granite slab at G.R. 565106 and bushwhack up to a broad terrace. Follow the boulder field up and to the right. Both sides of the cliff have exit routes; the one on the right is the easiest to negotiate. There is a fine campsite on the small island opposite the cliff. Routes are described from right to left.

Accord 5.2, 18m

A lackluster route that starts about 60 m from the exit route on the right side of the cliff. Climb the prominent right leaning inside corner to the small terrace with a pine tree halfway up the cliff. Continue up to the left.
Everett Fee, Lucille Doucette – 1982 May 23

Wish You Were Here 5.8, 24m

A bizarre route that starts below a thin right-trending face crack about 15 m right of the overhanging corner in the center of the cliff. Pitch 1. 3m. Climb the crack to an obvious ledge. Pitch 2. 21m. Move up and right onto a shelf, then around into the inside corner (possibly part of another route) and up the corner to the top.
Terry Makos, Casey Shaw – 1982 July 2

Granite Byway 5.3, 18m *

A surprisingly good route up a series of cracks and flakes. Start on the right side of a prominent outside corner about 30 m to the left of the overhanging corner at the center of the cliff and about 15 m right of a granite bulge that makes the traverse along the base of the cliff dicey.
Everett Fee, Lucille Doucette – 1982 May 24

Vulture’s Shadow 5.5, 18m *

An exciting climb following an obvious crack and chimney system about 3 m left of the prominent outside corner to the left of Granite Byway.
Everett Fee, Lucille Doucette – 1982 May 23

Casey’s Way 5.5, 20m *

A sustained line that starts in an inside corner about 30 m right of a wide chimney that runs parallel to the main face on the far left side of the cliff. Move up the juggy inside corner to the side of a huge terrace. Jam and bridge up the narrow chimney to the top.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee, Peter Aitchison – 1982 July 1


Teggau Lake

Canoeing on this magnificent lake is one of the highlights that ELA offers wilderness travellers. There are some unusually intricate Indian rock paintings on an overhanging granite wall at the northwest side of the lake just past the point where a narrow arm of the lake extends towards Eagle Lake.

There are several cliffs on or near the lake shore; the only one that has been developed is located in a gully off the northeast corner of the lake (G.R. 558075). To get to it, start from the left side of the small stream at G.R. 552072 and bushwack in a northeasterly direction for about 10 minutes. This cliff is very extensive, and dozens of routes remain undone but the rock is not the typically solid granite found at other cliffs in the ELA region–be careful when climbing here. Access can be from either Eagle Lake (see directions to L.262) or Roddy Lake (see directions to L.310).

Routes are described from left to right.

Exit Route 5.1, 18m

The large chimney/fissure located behind the immense flake at the left end of the cliff.

Spooky Ledge 5.7, 27m *

Follow the leftmost of 3 sloping cracks above a birch clump near the center of first major face of the cliff to a ledge infested with junipers. Traverse a few meters right to a vertical crack, then up to another ledge with junipers; finish in a dark chimney.
Tibor Bodi, Richard Tilley – 1991 June 30

Split Crack 5.6, 27m

Located in the centre of the first major face of the cliff, 30 m right of the exit route. It can be recognized by the sloping ledge and crack which angles up 10 m and then splits into two branches.
Right branch: Richard Tilley, Peter Aitchison – 1979 Aug, Left branch: Peter Gough, Bob France, Janet Gough – 1979 Aug

Quasimodo 5.8, 24m *

A face and crack climb demanding both finesse and finger strength. It is located near the right end of the first major face of the cliff, before the long overhanging wall. Start at the base of a shallow dihedral and climb to an obvious notch. Trend left up to and over (crux) a ledge with two trees.
Doug Leonard – 1982 Sept 12

Black Corner 5.6, 21m

A slightly overhanging but juggy inside corner covered with dark lichens 3 m right of Quasimodo.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee – 1982 Sept 12

Stygian Fissure 5.6, 24m *

An excellent route located at the front of the prominent nose halfway along the cliff. Move up a dark crack that is perpetually shaded by close growing trees until it widens into a chimney. Stay at outside edge of chimney, then move out onto the face of the flake (tricky) and climb the face to finish.
Peter Gough, Bob France – 1979 Aug

Gough’s Glory 5.9, 30m *

A challenging and sustained route found on right of the cliff just around the corner from Stygian Fissure. Climb bottom section and sloping ledge to the first overhang. Move right and then up to the crux just below the top of route.
Peter Gough, Bob France – 1979 Aug

On a Wire 5.9, 18m ***

The left-hand of a pair of obvious left-facing corners at the top-middle of the second large boulder field. The climbing is sustained and enjoyable. Go straight up the crack-corner.
Mark Giesbrecht, Rafael Munoz – 1992 May 13

Eye Sore 5.7, 21m **

The right-hand of a pair of obvious left facing corners at the top-middle of the second large boulder field. Climb up the corner and move right to finish the route.
Ralph Wright, Peter Aitchison – 1992 May 13

Boulder in my Butt 5.8, 37m ***

The most impressive route on the cliff. It follows a huge crack-chimney system located at the far right side of the cliff. A prominent large boulder is jammed about 20 m up the climb. The very hard-looking direct finish (top pitch) up a series of overhangs has yet to be attempted. Pitch 1. 20m. Climb up the cracks and over the big jammed boulder. Pitch 2. 20m. Climb left and up the jagged crack on the left wall.
Mark Giesbrecht, Ralph Wright, Rafael Munoz, Peter Aitchison – 1992 May 13

Ass of Steel 5.6, 34m **

A right-trending crack-corner-chimney system starting about 15 m right of Boulder in my Butt.
Rafael Munoz, Peter Aitchison – 1992 May 13


Manomin Lake

There are two cliffs on this lake: The East Cliff is close to the lake shore at G.R. 469128 and behind the massive square boulder; there is an obscure exit route on the left end of this cliff near two large boulders. The Northwest Cliff is farther from the lake shore (G.R. 452143); it takes about 30 minutes of bush crashing to get to it (don’t forget your compass); this cliff is fairly uniform in structure with few obvious routes. Climbs on both cliffs are described from left to right.

Access starts from the ELA Pine road, 10.8 km from the Trans-Canada Highway. A portage leads to the SW corner of Geejay Lake (G.R. 423132). Canoe to the east end of Geejay and follow the portage that starts at a cabin (G.R. 447138). Access time 1.5 hours.

East Cliff

The Tenant 5.10, 12m *

A short but surprisingly sustained test piece that starts behind the rightmost of two large boulders at the left end of the cliff. Face climb 4 m to a ledge and follow the obvious hand/finger crack to the top.
Casey Shaw – 1984 July 2

Mr. Clean 5.9, 27m ***

A direct line that follows the rightmost of two big inside corners 15 m right of the two large boulders. A few “boulder moves” lead to a triangular ledge. Follow the finger crack for 25 m.
Casey Shaw, Tibor Bodi – 1984 July 1

Welcome Home Casey 5.7, 34m

The rightmost of two big chimneys that flank a massive piece of granite near the middle of the cliff. Moving around the outside of the giant chockstone at the bottom of the chimney is the crux.
Casey Shaw, Tibor Bodi – 1984 July 1

Happy Birthday Canada 5.4, 30m

Goes up the broken corner 15 m right of Welcome Home Casey. The bottom is loose and dirty but the top 20 m are sustained and very worthwhile.
Everett Fee, Lucille Doucette – 1984 July 1

Afterthought 5.5, 27m

A hand crack that goes through a small roof around the corner to the right of Happy Birthday Canada. Traverse right above the roof to a chimney.
Tibor Bodi, Casey Shaw – 1984 July 2

All Together Now 5.7, 27m **

The corner 10 m right of Afterthought. A hard mantleshelf move leads to a ramp, an overhanging block and a tight corner.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee, Tibor Bodi – 1984 July 2

At it Again 5.6, 27m *

Follows the inside corner just to the left of a big overhang a short distance left of the place where the cliff turns to the east.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee – 1984 July 1

Dislike to Lichen 5.5, 24m

Just past the place where the cliff turns to the east is an 3 meter tall detached flake. The route follows the irregular cracks above the flake.
Tibor Bodi, Lucille Doucette – 1984 July 1

Northwest Cliff

Simon Says 5.8, 24m **

The left trending crack just left of the center of the cliff.
Ralph Wright, Mark Giesbrecht, Peter Aitchison – 1991

Peter Does 5.6, 24m *

A straight up crack on the right side of the alcove near the center of the cliff leads to the overhang. Traverse right under the overhang to the top.
Peter Aitchison, Ralph Wright, Mark Giesbrecht, Rafael Munoz – 1991


Point Lake

This is not a major ELA attraction: It is very remote, has lots of broken rock, and most cracks are filled with lichen, dirt and bushes. The surrounding region was also severely burned a few years ago. Nevertheless, rock hungry locals who want to get away from it all will enjoy the few good routes that this cliff offers.

Access starts at the end of a logging road on Dryberry Lake (G.R. 464929). The cliff is at G.R. 506951 on the north shore of Point Lake about 1.5 km from the east end of the lake and faces southeast. Paddle north 3 km to Point Lake and then east 3 km. Access time 1 hour. Routes are described from left to right.

Tangled up in Blue 5.10, 27m

A full-on roof problem that follows a crack system near the left end of the cliff. An easy inside corner leads to the crux–an overhanging jam crack 2/3 of the way up the cliff.
Casey Shaw – 1984 Aug 24

Among Friends 5.6, 21m

Follows an inside corner/chimney located to the left of the center of the cliff. The only hard move is a short offwidth crack that can be largely avoided by stemming.
Everett Fee, Casey Shaw – 1984 Aug 25

Just like Sir Donald 5.2, 21m *

A good sustained route that ascends an inside corner/chimney system located near the center of the cliff. A big pine tree arches gracefully from the chimney at the top of the route.
Everett Fee – 1984 Aug 24

Avoid the Void 5.8, 27m ***

A truly fine route that starts near the right end of the cliff where the cliff leaves the lake shore. It follows a series of flakes, cracks, and chimneys.
Casey Shaw, Everett Fee – 1984 Aug 25


Dryberry Lake Boulders

Enormous rectangular blocks of flawless granite are locaed on the top of a peninsula at 343965 on the northwest corner of Upper Dryberry Lake. Quickest access to Upper Dryberry is by an old logging road suitable only for 4-wheel drive vehicles, which starts at 389986. A safer route is via Maddog Lake (Lake 465). A good portage is on the right just as you reach the outflow stream at 392948. Do not portage down the creek. The best route to the boulders starts below the northwest facing cliff at 341965. An extensive boulder field rises from lake level to a steep face. There is a easy path between the overhangs on the brow of this cliff to the boulders on top. These boulders have very steep sides and flat tops. The largest is about 40 by 30 by 30ft and is unclimbed. A rare spot worth visiting. Access time two hours.


Lakes 739 and 750

Several cliffs are located on these very remote lakes. They are noted here for the information of those who might make a long canoe trip and a little easy climbing. The cliff on Lake 739, which is so prominent on the topographic map (632079), is an amaxingly smooth lump of granite 100ft high and 400ft long with very little climbing potential. It has, hoever, one very unusual feature. The entire exterior face is a single flake and a huge chimney has been formed, which is 10ft wide at the top and 100ft deep. Like the exterior face, the walls of this chimney are unfractured and no access route to the bottom could be found. It would be interesting to rappel into it.

From the top of this cliff several interesting cliffs were seen on Lake 750. Cliffs with unclimbed routes exist at 599037, 618048 and 606043. The route that was climbed is on the latter cliff. Access is from Eagle Lake. Put in at 613176 and take portages at 617132, 648125, 634108, 625076, and 625065. Access time one day.

Solo Flight 5.3. 100ft

A good route with sustained interest. It follows the obvious left trending line located at the center of the cliff.
Everett Fee 1981 Sept 2