Snakelet 5.7, Metcalfe Rock, Ont.
Metcalfe Rock is one of the oldest crags in southern Ontario with the first climbs done back in the early 1960s. At that time, the crag was called Kolapore Crag because it was found in the Kolapore Uplands.
There’s a cabin in the woods at the base of the crag owned by the University of
Toronto. It’s one of the most popular crags in the province.
The Niagara Escarpment limestone is featured with pockets, slopers, arêtes and jugs mixed with cracks and ledges. Some of the most popular routes are quite polished and offer hard climbing at the stated grades. There are walls that face every aspect, which makes it perfect for escaping or chasing the sun.
Snakelet is one of many routes that climb
The Anvil, a tower at the north end of Metcalfe. You have to walk past a lot of fun routes to get to it, but it’s worth the trek. Most of the best routes are difficult climbs, including Serpentine, a classic 5.11d first climbed in 1997 by Randy Kielbasiewicz and Tibor Hargitai. Kielbasiewicz returned over a decade after the first ascent to make the first ascent of Snakelet, a very fun two-pitch 5.7. It’s one of only a few routes that bring you to the top of the wild pinnacle. Descent requires an airy and fun rappel.
Ontario has a number of outstanding multi-pitch routes, but most are found around Thunder Bay, near Montreal River or Bon Echo, so this is a great route to practice skills and to experience hanging belays mid-route. While the grade isn’t very appealing for serious sport climbers, it’s a great way to cool down at the end of a long day working on projects. No matter what brought you to Metcalfe, don’t leave before doing a lap on Snakelet.—gripped
Park at the Bruce Trail parking on 10th Line south of Collingwood. Approach the crag and head left along the base past a number of walls to the base of The Anvil. Easy to spot with the large gully to the left of a steep prow. Snakelet starts right of a white scar.
P1: Climb the slab 5.7 first pitch of Serpentine to the anchor mid-wall (5.7 15 m).
P2: Move up and right up easier rock with good holds to an anchor on top (5.5 15 m).
Walk north to rap rings and a free-hanging rappel.
A standard sport climbing rack with at least 10 quickdraws. One 60 m rope. Wear a helmet.
Metcalfe Rock has a number of classic one pitch routes, including: Fig Jam 5.10b, Pump it Hottie Pump It 5.10b, whmis 5.10d, White of Spring 5.9, It’s Not Every Day 5.9, Don’t Look, Just Climb 5.7 and Revenge of the Fires 5.9.
Ontario Climbing Volume Two, the Northern Escarpment by Gus Alexandropoulos and Justin Dwyer in 2016.
Top: Two views of Jesse Wong on Snakelet at Metcalfe Rock Right: Climbers on the first pitch of Snakelet