Organizers of the Southern Ontario Ice Climbing Festival hope local people will come out this weekend to give the activity a try.
The festival is based out of Maynooth. And clinics will be held along rocks on Diamond Lake, east of Combermere (not to be confused with the other Diamond Lake, off Baptiste Lake).
A key component to this year’s festival is a free “Locals Try-A-Climb” clinic happening on Sunday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Festival President Josh Smith says ice climbing is safe, with proper equipment, and not hard to learn.
“I find most people take to ice climbing easier than rock climbing because you have the same foot placement and grip and handle and you can choose where to put that when you have ice,” he says. “I kind of joke that, if you can climb a ladder, you can ice climb.”
He adds that, like any sport, there are inherent risks in ice climbing, but those risks are minimized with the right equipment and training.
“Yes, there are hazards, for sure. But when someone comes out to our festival, or when they’re first learning an activity like this, lots of systems are in place to make sure people are very, very safe. (That includes having) the right gear, the right anchor systems, highly qualified trained guides and instructors.”
Instructors from across Canada are coming to the area to help.
More details are on the festival’s website.