There are countless reasons to escape Toronto for a little outdoor adventure this winter, including the ample dog sledding, cross-country skiing, and backcountry snowmobiling possibilities in the heart of the Haliburton Highlands. Yet, there’s another particularly venturesome midwinter activity that’s sweeping through Canada: ice climbing. Very few Haliburton resorts remain open during winter’s peak, but Sandy Lane Resort will always be here to warm your extremities. We have a spectacular relationship with Lorne Foisy, the owner and operator of Elements Guiding (formerly known as Base Camp 35). Elements Guiding provides the very best ice climbing in Ontario, perhaps North America.
Foisy and his team lead a variety of ice climbing trips during the frostiest of seasons, as well as rock climbing in the summertime. As of mid-January, the Greater Toronto Area remains green, while Haliburton County is pleasingly covered in fresh snow. Despite being just a two-hour drive from the city center, it’s a totally different experience here at Sandy Lane!
Setting the Scene: The Glorious Haliburton Highlands
Before we dive deeper into the many potential ice climbing lessons that Elements Guiding offers, let’s talk in length about this beautiful land. Some city folks might view the Haliburton Highlands as flyover country, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Hidden approximately 100 kilometres northeast of the Greater Toronto Area is a dense forest crawling with breathtaking woodland critters and dotted with towering white pines and tranquil backcountry lakes. You might be surprised to find out that this particularly secluded region is also home to varied vertical cliffs, many of which are ideal for some good, old-fashioned ice climbing in Ontario.
Elements Guiding: Ice Climbing in Ontario at Its Finest
Elements Guiding recently rebranded, as mentioned above, shedding its old moniker in lieu of a sleeker, less-confusing company name. The new logo is nearly identical to the previous trademark, but it’s a tad bit more elaborate and colourful. Foisy and his crew offer four distinct ice climbing treks: Experiential Ice (three hours), Introductory Ice (six hours), Steep Lines (six hours), and Private Guiding (eight hours). Please click on Elements’ ice climbing in Ontario web page to learn more about each tour. For beginners, you’ll learn about ice axe usage, body positioning, hole creating, progression techniques, and much more! Foisy’s team will pleasantly challenge experts on some of the prettiest routes in the province. Now is the perfect time to improve your skills before the annual Southern Ontario Ice Festival in Maynooth.
Lakefront Cottage Rentals in Ontario
After a full day of snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, or ice climbing in Ontario’s most pristine backcountry acreage, return to Sandy Lane Resort for a homecooked meal, a hot tub soak under the stars, and stories beside your private, wood-burning fireplace. There aren’t many outfitters that offer ice climbing near Toronto, so remember to give Elements Guiding a call well in advance. To learn more about the area’s best craft breweries, local restaurants, and ice fishing destinations, please visit us online. Or give us a call at 705-489-2020 to get matched with one of our classic Haliburton cottage rentals that perfectly suits your group’s size, style, and budget.