10 Ques­tions

On­tario Climb­ing Le­gend

Gripped - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Par­ent

Shaun Par­ent, 63, was an in­te­gral part of the north­ern On­tario rock and ice climb­ing scene in the 1970 s and 1980 s. He es­tab­lished count­less routes, many of which are now clas­sics. He pro­moted the area in pub­li­ca­tions, in­clud­ing his guide­books and the Cana­dian Alpine Jour­nal. He es­tab­lished rock climbs, such as Spi­ral Galaxy 5.8 and Dis­cov­ery 5.8, and ice routes, such as Ob­ses­sion WI4 and Hully Gully WI2. Par­ent now lives in Batch­wana Bay north of Sault Ste. Marie, where he is a climb­ing guide and has dis­cov­ered dozens of new routes.

1 What was your first ice climb?

First ice climb was near Boul­der, Colo., in the early 1970s, on a three-day ice climb­ing course with Bob Culp’s climb­ing school. It was called the be­gin­ner and in­ter­me­di­ate course.

2 What were your favourite ice tools back in the 1980s?

I had a few pairs, some Sale­was, and would mix and match to find the best com­bi­na­tion.

3 How many first as­cents have you climbed and where are most of them?

I lost track of first as­cents af­ter about 1,000 pitches, just on ice and mixed.

4 How many ice routes are be­tween Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa?

I would say over 500 ice routes be­tween Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa. The oth­ers are be­tween the Min­nesota bor­der and On­tario to Wawa, in­clud­ing Ori­ent Bay, Kama Bay and other zones.

5 What are the long­est routes that you’ve climbed in On­tario?

That’s an easy one – for ice it would be Stratos­fear, a 245-me­tre WI4 not far away from Mon­treal River. The long­est rock route I can think of in On­tario is Dis­cov­ery, which we made the first as­cent of nearly 40 years ago. It’s five pitches. But, I might beat that height this win­ter with a new cliff dis­cov­ery of about 260 me­tres.

6 How many new ice climbers do you take out ev­ery win­ter?

Last year I took over 200 ice climbers out to the routes around here.

7 Where’s the best rock climb­ing area around Mon­treal River? Ran­wick Rock is the best devel­oped site near Mon­treal River. There’s been two guide­books pub­lished about that area since 2004. Multi-pitch lines and great rock.

8 How many big new routes are left to find in the area?

An area called Covenant Wall has two routes about 235 me­tres tall and there are a few left to do still. There are about six ice routes up to 240 me­tres in this area that are still left to make first as­cents of.

9 What’s the best multi-pitch rock route in On­tario?

Not sure, but there are some nice routes that are over 200 me­tres. The routes here have only been climbed by me and a few other climbers, so I’m some­what bi­ased. We need to get a few other climbers on th­ese routes – hope­fully the word spreads and climbers come for a visit.

10 Do you see the climb­ing com­mu­nity grow­ing in north­ern On­tario?

The climb­ing com­mu­nity is grow­ing quickly in Sud­bury and Thun­der Bay and slowly grow­ing around Sault Ste. Marie. Eight out of 10 ice climbers are Amer­i­can visi­tors to area. Wawa has a grow­ing rock climb­ing group, there are over a dozen climbers liv­ing there now. There are a hand­ful of ice climbers liv­ing around here too.—gripped

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