In the early 1970s a small group of experienced rock climbers, recently moved to Winnipeg, began looking for climbable rock. Without too much effort, they discovered several superb granite cliffs to the east of the city in the general area of Kenora, Ontario. Beginning with the most obvious lines at the Gooseneck Rocks near Minaki these pioneers began systematically developing this area’s vast climbing potential.
The Kenora region occupies the southwest edge of the rocky peneplain known to geologists as the Canadian Shield, a sparsely populated land of sparkling lakes and boreal forest that covers half of Canada.
The Canadian Shield is the oldest and largest exposure of crystalline rock on the earth; the cliffs that we climb on are all that remain of mountain ranges that were born 2 to 4 billion years ago. Rocks that are now exposed were formed deep within the earth under conditions of intense heat and high pressure; as a consequence, a bewildering variety of rock types occur on the Shield.
Although the Kenora region is richly endowed with unmetamorphosed pink granodiorite, less solid metamorphic and volcanic rocks are also common and it pays to be suspicious of every hold you touch, especially when exploring new routes. Helmets have proven their worth more than once on these crags.
Companies offering rock climbing excursions with gear provided for the new or inexperienced climber: