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DIRECT LAKE

Direct Lake Cliff is the largest cliff found as yet in the Kenora area. Approximately 170 ft at the high point, the cliff extends for a full kilometer, with half of the cliff in excess of 100 ft in height. As of this writing, many unclimbed classics remain ripe for the picking. Direct Lake has granite crack climbing in a remote location. Wire-brushes & helmets are needed for most new routes.

Access

Trips are best planned for long weekends, as the journey can be time consuming (4-5 hrs from Wpg). A canoe or small boat is required to access the cliff. Approach on the Lount Lake Road as for Pic Lake, except branch left towards the Quarry at the 3 way fork 2 km past Panorama Cliff. Follow this road for approximately 2 km, bearing R at each branch. Follow the first narrow road ascending to the R. This road winds for approximately 3 km with a short muddy section just before ending in a parking area. A short hiking trail descends to the lake. High ground clearance (pick-up or 4WD) vehicles are recommended. The cliff is 2 km away at the West end of the lake, but is not visible from the landing at the East end of the lake. Alternative access can be gained by canoe/portage from Pic Lake, SE through Axis Lake, to the NE corner of Direct lake, or via quad trails off Lount Lake Rd past Pic Lake.

An excellent campsite exists in a grove of large Red Pine trees adjacent the barren rock island frequented by transient birds (“birdshit-rock”) on the E side of the Lake’s N arm, & is a short (0.5 km) paddle from the cliff. This site accommodates up to 4 large tents, has benches & a latrine, & is recommended for use by climbing parties. 

Smaller cliffs (with large crystals, but heavy lichen) can be found along the lake’s N arm. Camping can also be found on a point 600m to the NNE of the landing, however use of this site necessitates repeated trips across the wind-prone lake when staying more than 1 night. Smaller parties can also find camping on the large island immediately East of the cliff.

Classic Routes

 

All route locations are given relative to the usual landing area; the “Ship’s Prow” which is the prominent overhanging arete at the left end of the cliff overlooking the Lake. Boat access only.

Exit Route
From the Ship’s Prow, scramble left along the base of the cliff. Do not ascend ramps along
the cliff-side. The ER begins 100 ft left and uphill of the blocky stream crossing, & is an easy scramble at an obvious break in the cliff (approx 10 minutes from Ship’s Prow).

 

Eagle’s Corner 5.6, 90’

FA Jake & Cindy Klassen, 8/98
Climb the right facing corner ascending the left of the slab above blocky stream crossing.

I’m Not Good With Names 5.7, 90’

FA Jake Klassen, Mike Shale 6/30/97
Ascend the left facing corner on the right of the same slab.

Stick in the Eye 5.6, 60 ft

FA Brian McMillan, Rob Hester, 10/1/05

Starts 25 ft left of Sting in the Tail. Climb the parallel left trending cracks to the L facing corner choked with chockstones. Protect the belayer from rockfall, as there are several loose blocks on the route. Exit right below the block at top.

 

Sting in the Tail 5.9, 50 ft

FA Darren Tomczak, Brian McMillan , 7/01
A L facing corner, 20’ left of the low overhang. Last 20’ is the crux, a good challenge for the grade. Several (unclimbed) difficult lines may be possible on the overhanging face to the left.

Smells Like Chicken, Tastes Like Fish 5.8, 5.9, 30ft

TR Dave Kenefick, Bob Maslowski, 9/96

FFA Jason Gerbrandt , Scott Gerbrandt, 8/3/02
Just right of the low overhang. Side by side climbs. Ascending either side of a large triangular block nestled in a corner behind a tall pine tree. Routes meet at the top.

Baby Bear 5.7, 60 ft

FA Brian McMillan, Christine Mazur, 9/3/06

The obvious left facing corner approx 100ft right of SLC,TLF. Chimney behind the stacked blocks. Follow corner crack to top.

Momma Bear 5.10c, 30 ft

TR Ken Boyko, 9/3/06
Satisfying crack/face route 15 ft R of Baby Bear, 15 ft L of Pooh Pirates. Has an obvious, large 5 ft. high triangle-shaped crack in middle of climb. Follow the thin crack above the triangle and use edges to reach the ledge.

Pooh Pirates from Pic Lake 5.10, 70 ft

TR Rob Hester, Jake Klassen, Bob Maslowski, Brian McMillan, Lyle Rotter, 6/29/97

FFA Jason Gerbrandt, Scott Gerbrandt 8/3/02
Midway between the SP & the Creek, 30’ left of a rounded outside corner. Ascend a clean crack through a small over-hang. Continue up a R facing inside corner to ledges.

Crack Addiction 5.10hard, A0, 50 ft

FA Mick Hawley, 9/3/06
Overhanging offwidth crack to the right of PPFPL. First ascent was primarily aid.

Brown Trousers 5.10, A0, 50 ft

FA Mick Hawley, Brian McMillan, 9/2/07
Just right of Crack Addiction. Climb the slot filled with dubious blocks to the offwidth above. Crux is getting from the crack into the offwidth. Large pro & clean shorts needed for the offwidth.

 

Dirty Laundry 5.9, 80 ft

FA (5.8 A0) Brian McMillan, Christine Mazur, 9/3/06
Climb the R facing corner (5.9) over heavy lichen, traverse right below overhanging blocks and follow cracks to top. Prepare to get very dirty if leading!!

SCGB 5.7, 70 ft

FA Bob Maslowski, Lyle Rotter, 6/29/97
A R facing corner. Climb behind or around a large block (cave) at 30’, the climb continues above through a chimney. Watch for loose blocks near the top.

Hardcore Chicken 5.9, 85 ft

FA Mick Hawley, Ken Boyko, 7/23/06
Follow the corner crack that continues above SCGB.

Cannibal Soup 5.10b, 85 ft

TR Bob Maslowski, Brian McMillan, Lyle Rotter, 6/30/97
First obvious climb 60-80 ft to the left of the SP. Start up the open-book. Move left & up thin cracks & face for 15 ft (crux) to a ledge. Lie-back above & finish up the chimney.

Ship’s Prow 5.9, 85 ft

FFA Jason Gerbrandt, Scott Gerbrandt, 8/4/02
Follow the obvious line to the R of the Prow. Large pro required.
TR Val Chan, Bob Maslowski, Brian McMillan, 8/99

The Vase 5.10b, 85 ft

FA Cory McFarlane, Avi Barzelai, 9/1/07
Follow the obvious corner 20 ft R of the Ship’s Prow.

Action In-Direct 5.10a, 85 ft

TR Dave Kenefick, Bob Maslowski, Brian McMillan 8/96
The first route climbed at the cliff following it’s discovery. Start 60 ft R of the SP. Ascend the blocky corner. Traverse left and up along the left trending flake to the top. A direct start may be possible.

When the Boat Comes In 5.10c, 100ft

TR Dave Kenefick, Bob Maslowski, Brian McMillan 9/96

TR(Variation) Ken Boyko, JC Garcia Alonso, Cory McFarlane 9/1/07
45 ft R of Action In-Direct. Ascend a R facing corner. Climb onto the arete to the shot crack above, then move right to the left trending ramp. Follow the overhanging crack to the top. A harder variation (5.11c) follows the right facing corners to the top & avoids both the arete & the ramp above.

When the Fat Lady Sings 5.11b, 100 ft

TR Bob Maslowski, Dave Kenefick, 9/96
140 ft R of SP. Possibly the best climb established to date. Climb the obvious chimney. Traverse R out the top of the chimney, & follow the sustained overhanging crack to the top.

 

Angle of the Dangle 5.hard,100 ft
An unfinished project. Scramble up ledges 150 ft R of WTFLS, & follow the seam to the top. Route is steep/overhanging.

One Night Stand 5.10b, 90 ft

TR Cory McFarlane, Bob Maslowski, 8/99

Climb the face to a R facing corner, 30 ft R of Angle of the Dangle. Traverse below the block on a right arcing line.

Rocky Picture Horror Show 5.9, 90 ft

TR Brian McMillan 9/2/07

Wriggle up the nasty overhanging offwidth, climbing outside on the left whenever possible. Follow blocky chimney to the top.

Project 5.9, A1, 120 ft

  • Pitch 1: Climb R facing corner (5.9, A1) to base of ramp. Fixed pin protects initial moves.

  • Pitch 2: Climb the slab above.

The Three Bears 5.9, 3 short pitches

FA Mick Hawley, Brian McMillan, 9/2/06

Scramble up left trending ramps from the water’s edge.

  • Pitch 1: When ledge system ends, climb to base of headwall. The top 30 ft are unprotected.

  • Pitch 2: Traverse left to below blocky corner.

  • Pitch 3: Climb the right-most corner (5.9)

Back-door Corner 5.10a, 160 ft

TR Rob Hester, Bob Maslowski, Brian McMillan 7/97

FA Jake & Cindy Klassen 8/98

Get in your boat, & head R to the middle of the cliff past the large ramps & ledges. BDC starts 100 ft left of the large overhang at the high point on the cliff, & follows the big R facing, R trending inside corner to a right trending crack (crux). Tie your boat up & scramble up the lower ledges to begin the climb at the base of the corner.

Goldilocks 5.6, 140 ft

FA Brian McMillan, Mick Hawley, 9/2/06

From the large boulder field in the middle of cliff, ascend the left trending ramp at 4th- 5th
class. Final 30 ft climbs a 5.6 corner to the left of the large block.

DDD 5.10a, 120 ft

TR Rob Hester, Brian McMillan, 8/98
20 ft L of low large overhangs. Start up a blocky corner. Move left along undercling onto the slabby face. Sustained face moves on small crystals up the clean streak to the top.

DD 5.6, 140 ft

FBA (first bear attempt) Momma, 9/2/06
Start as for DDD, but continue straight up corner. Move L horizontally across crack. Follow grooves to the top.

Momma Bear’s Project 5.4, 60 ft?
Audacious attempt at first ascent was free solo by a local, unfortunately ending in splash- down as witnessed by 6 visiting climbers. Alternate exit ramps to the right established by the twins.