Aric Fish­man

North­west­ern On­tario Au­thor, Guide, Guru

Gripped - - NORTHERN FACES - Thun­der Bay Climb­ing: A Guide to North­west­ern On­tario’s Best Kept Se­cret.

Born in 1986, Aric Fish­man has been climb­ing for 15 years. He moved to Thun­der Bay in north­west­ern On­tario in 2007 and has spent the past decade work­ing to im­prove and ad­ver­tise his lo­cal climb­ing scene. His first time climb­ing was on a mo­bile wall at his high school. He then spent the next while climb­ing with his older brother at the lo­cal gym. “I knew right away that I was an out­door climber at heart and be­came ab­so­lutely hooked for life,” said Fish­man. “Cou­pled with my de­sire to re­ally learn, prac­tice, and climb as much as pos­si­ble, hav­ing a su­per solid crew of climbers also en­abled me to ad­vance quickly early on and bet­ter un­der­stand the tech­ni­cal sys­tems, con­cepts, tech­niques and safe prac­tices.”

Fish­man spends about 250 days every year climb­ing and is a cer­ti­fied guide and pho­tog­ra­pher. He’s the founder and lead guide of Out­door Skills And Thrills Inc., which of­fers rock and ice climb­ing ad­ven­tures and cour­ses through­out northwest On­tario. He’s the au­thor of

He’s the pres­i­dent of the Nip­igon Ice Fest com­mit­tee, Canada’s long­est run­ning pre­miere ice climb­ing fes­ti­val.

“I also love de­vel­op­ing the climb­ing scene in the re­gion by do­ing things like: help­ing main­tain trails, re­plac­ing old an­chors, or­ga­niz­ing com­mu­nity events, teach­ing mod­ern climb­ing stan­dards and en­vi­ron­men­tal ste­ward­ship, and de­vel­op­ing high qual­ity new routes of all grades and styles for ev­ery­one to en­joy,” said Fish­man. His first climb was at Rat­tlesnake Point on the Ni­a­gara Escarpment called McMaster Spe­cial 5.8.

When asked about one of the scari­est ex­pe­ri­ences of his climb­ing life. He said, “One of the ear­li­est scary ex­pe­ri­ences I can re­mem­ber would be lead­ing up my first tra­di­tional climb dur­ing my sec­ond sea­son climb­ing. I had done a bunch of train­ing, prac­tice and mock lead climbs lead­ing up to that point, how­ever that still didn’t help the jit­ters three quar­ters of the way up a 20- me­tre wall of slick lime­stone and wacky cracks. For a lit­tle while I was scared good. What if I slip off ?” It was his first gripped mo­ment.

He con­tin­ued, “I ended up as­sess­ing the gear, the rock qual­ity, and the climb­ing left ahead of me. I knew I could eas­ily do the climb, the rock looked good, and I could also take my time in good stances to place bomber pro­tec­tion along the way. I man­aged to calm my mind and con­tin­ued to the top.”

Fish­man is a nat­u­ral climb­ing guide who started guid­ing

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