One of the things that was hardest for me to figure out when starting to climb outdoors, which was actually in the past two years, is figuring out where to climb. I’ve tried many online resources, such as rockclimbing.com and thecrag.com,which are amazing resources for many popular areas. They even mention Kingston Mills, the climbing area near the Rideau Locks in Kingston. I decided to start an online resource, which later will be posted as a separate page, of some climbing areas in an effort to bolster the amount of information available on the web.
The climbs at Kingston Mills were pretty much all first ascended by Robert Chisnall, or “Chizzy” to those who have met him. A great deal of credit goes to him for setting and establishing many, if not all of these climbs. Names, grades, heights and first ascent information is referenced from his guidebook on Kingston Mills, published in 1998. All photographs and route descriptions are my own. Also, I cannot guarantee that all the information contained in here is accurate, but if there are some grave errors, or even if there is information that can be added, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to make the information up to date.
Please read the website Disclaimer before using any information. All rock climbs are listed from right to left. I chose to do this because it is the way that people approach the area usually.
How to use this information:
Since this is my first post on rock climbing topos, there are probably many people who have never used one before. This information will be repeated again on a static topo page, as I collect information about areas that I climb. I do not intend to reinvent the wheel, so where there is a suitable guidebook on the area, I will simply refer to that source.
A “topo” is basically a map of a climb. Sometimes it is a photograph, which is the case of the ones below, and sometimes it is a drawn map, using symbols to represent elements of each climb. In theory, this is to help you figure out where to start,where to go, and where to finish the climb. Fixed bolts are marked with an ‘x’ on the map.
Each topo will have one or more lines representing the path taken while climbing, and each line will have a number corresponding to a number below the map. This is where you will find a written description of the climb. In each description there will be the name, number of starts (between 0 and 5, for how enjoyable the climb is), grade (in the Yosemite Decimal system), height, protection rating (for trad climbers, rated like a movie: G = best, X = worst), and F.A., which is who did the First Ascent of the climb.
Where is Kingston Mills?
Exit off the 401 onto Montreal Street. Head north out of the city. Turn right onto Kingston Mills Road. Drive for about 3 minutes. Just before going over a bridge, there is a parking area on your right. Park there. Go under the bridge and walk along the locks to find the rock climbing area.
As you travel down the steps beside the locks, you come to an area with a dock ramp going to the left, and a gate going to your right. Go through the gate and follow the foot path until you reach a small overhanging cliff on your right with large bolts in it. This is labyrinth.
1. Irving’s Overhang **
5.9, 30′, G, F.A. Eric Marshall
Climb straight up onto a sloping ledge, and then through a crack in the overhang. Easier for taller people. Has an un-obvious crux for novice climbers. Finish at a set of fixed bolts.
2. Irving’s Brothers *
5.6, 30′, PG, F.A. Unknown
Climb around the overhang on the left side. Excellent blocky holds for the most part, with a little footwork. Finish at a set of fixed bolts.
As you walk past Labyrinth into an open area with an obvious high face, this is the Odium area. This is the most popular area at Kingston Mills because it has the easiest climbs with many fixed bolts at the top for top roping.
3. Don’t Use The Tree
5.3, 30′, R, F.A R. Chisnall, T. Priest
Start at the obvious left leaning crack that starts near a tree on the corner of the face. Climb the crack up and to the left, avoiding use of the tree as much as possible.
4. The Wedge ***
5.4, 65′, PG, F.A. Unknown
Start at the right hand corner of the main face, following the flaring crack all the way up the rock face. You can follow the crack through the overhang, or you can go right or left. Continue up until you reach a body sized crack. Stem your way up this crack for a finish at the top.
5. Odium Direct ***
5.7, 70′, R, F.A. I. McKay, R. Chisnall, Brian Harcomb
Start directly below an obvious overhang on the main face, just left of The Wedge. Climb over the overhang, and follow the main face up and slightly to the left, finishing at a set of bolts on the top.
6. Dilemma **
5.7, 70′, R, F.A. R. Chisnall, I. McKay, Dave McWhirter
Start 10′ to the left of Odium Direct and pull up through the notch in two overhangs. Follow the face up towards the next overhang, keeping clear of the tree and obvious crack on the left. Finish the same as Odium Direct.
7. Kiddie’s Corner ***
5.1, 40′, PG, F.A. Unknown
Start on the left hand corner of the Odium Wall. Follow the obvious crack up and left, finishing on the ledge above with two bolted anchors. Hardest part is the start. An alternate finish is to continue up past the ledge, following the crack past the tree and up to the top of the cliff. This is a very popular place to learn how to trad lead, as the grade is easy, and the protection is good, especially past the ledge. A lead alternate that I am also fond of, is just below the ledge, traverse right underneath the tree and join up with the crack just to the lefty of Dilemma. Follow this to the top.
8. Synergy ***
5.9, 40′, PG, F.A. R. Chisnall, B. Baxter, I. McKay
Start on the left face of a large arrete, underneath an obviously bolted line. Follow the bolts up and left, ending on the ledge. Somewhat beta intensive, and a little contrived, as many people will tell you not to use the arrete.
9. One Step at a Time
5.6, 20′, R, F.A. Unknown
Pull up on the left side of a large block, then follow up and left on some easy slab climbing towards the bolts on the top of the cliff. Hardest part is at the bottom, and then the rest is very easy.
10. Testicular Torsion ***
5.11c, 25′, PG, F.A. R. Chisnall, I. McKay
A mixed climb with two bolts and places for a nut or two at the start. Start 10′ left of One Step at a Time, pulling up a finger crack to sloped bulge for your feet, with a bolt directly above. Moves are not obvious, and requires a great deal of route finding to get past the crux. Crimpy moves mixed with overhanging rock make this a decent challenge.
11. Fred’s Folly ***
5.9+, 25′, PG, F.A. Unknown
Start below a large crack in the top of the cliff, 5′ left of Testicular Torsion. Pull up on fingery holds to a rest point where you can practically sit down and have tea. Finish with hand jams in the the crack above. Very enjoyable.
12. Camisole Cusp ***
5.12a or A1, 25′, G, F.A. R. Chisnall, B. Baxter
Start left of Fred’s Folley. Ascend the steep wall and left to the first bolt, and then follow the bolts to the top. Extremely tough (what 5.12 isn’t?), sustained climb.
13. Deliverance ***
5.10c or A3, 25′, G, F.A. R. Chisnall
A mixed climb with one bolt. Start 20′ left of Fred’s Folley. Climb the large block on your left, and then up the face towards a bolt just before an overhanging crux. Pull the overhang, and climb left of a tree that will likely get in your way.
I realize that I did not include Kamasutra Surprise, a 5.13 left of Synergy. I tried to post the most commonly climbed routes, and that one has never seen a lead ascent to my knowledge. It is listed on both rockclimbing.com and thecrag.com if you are desperate for the info.