The Gooseneck Rocks, or “Goosenecks” are located at the north end of Gooseneck Lake, about 18km by road northeast of Minaki. The Goosenecks offer the greatest quantity and variety of accessible climbing in Northwest Ontario, and it is here that rock climbing in the area began in the early 1970s.
From Winnipeg, go east on the Trans-Canada highway (#1) for approximately 200 km. Take the Kenora-Keewatin bypass (#17A) and after 9 km turn left/north onto the Kenora-Minaki road (#596). After approximately 40 km this road comes to a “T”; turn left/east here onto the Whitedog Falls road (#525, gravel). Goosenecks’ Main Cliff is 12.2 km down this road, 1.7 km past the Cygnet Lake road which turns off to the left. The trip takes about 3 hours from Winnipeg.
Besides the climbs described in this guide, numerous opportunities exist for bouldering, and short, gymnastic routes have been put up in recent years (see guide produced by Robert Hester) – for clarity, routes under 30’/9m in length have not been included here.
Camping right at the cliff is considered bad form, as it impinges access by other climbers. Four camping areas are frequented by climbers near the Goosenecks. “The Snake Pit” is located between Cave Cliff and Cygnet Lake Road off #525 on the side away from the lake; the deeply rutted trail leading to it is opposite the sign that reads “Cygnet Lake Road-500 m.” The second spot is “Fisherman’s Launch” on Gooseneck Lake; to get to it, drive 2 km down the Cygnet Lake Road until you pass a blasted-out hole and a large pile of rocks (quarry); the next right turn leads to the lake. The third spot is known lovingly as “The Hilton,” situated 4.5km past the quarry – pull off the road onto smooth bare rock at a small opening in the brush. There are numerous mossy tent spots along the rounded rock ridge. Finally, there is a commercial camping site (showers and heated washrooms!) 11 km down the Cygnet Lake Road.
Help preserve the quality of this fragile environment by sticking to trails, using the outhouse (discreetly camouflaged near the road, as well as along the trail to the lakeside climbs) and packing out all trash, even stuff you may come across that’s not yours.
For clarity, this cliff is divided into five sections. In order, left to right, they are as follows:
Note: All climbs are listed from left to right when facing the cliff.
This cliff lies on the right side of the road as you drive to the Main Cliff, 3/4km south of the Main Cliff, and is partially hidden by trees.
South Cliff is located on the south shore of Gooseneck Lake, directly south of the Main Cliff. It may be accessed from a canoe but can also be approached on foot. To do so, drive 1.2 km down Cygnet Lake Road and park on the right. Hike 10 minutes north through the bush along a well-defined trail to the top of the western section of the cliff. South Cliff is divided into an eastern section and a western section, with a broken area in the middle through which an exit route winds.