Nipigon Ice Fest
Canada’s longest running, premiere ice climbing festival features ice climbing clinics, presentations by outdoor adventurers, gear swap, fun games, and our legendary gear raffle. First established in 1986, the Nipigon Ice Fest has always been run fully by volunteers with all the proceeds going right back into putting on the next year’s event.
Whether you’re a novice, intermediate, or expert climber, Unite, Learn, and Explore at the 2023 Nipigon Ice Fest!
Get ready to have a ton of fun in a breathtaking environment with an awesome crew of climbers at our climbing clinics.
Meeting Place: The Nipigon Legion (102 5th Street).
Check-in begins at 9:00am for climbing participants.
Departure time is 10:00am from the Legion for climbing participants.
Clinics end at 4:00pm.
Gear return at the Legion: 4:30pm-5:30pm
Transportation is not included; you will need to arrange your own way to and from the climbing location.
All rented equipment will be transported to the Nipigon Legion for the clinic participants. Any extra gear will be made available to rent at the Legion at the Check-In. If you have any of your own equipment please bring it with you to the Climber Check-In so it can be inspected.
Beginners Ice Climbing Clinic: Learn the basics of ice climbing and try a variety of routes on beginner/moderate terrain.
Intermediate Ice Climbing Clinic: Climb your way up more challenging terrain and understand the techniques that help you climb on steep ice.
Mixed Climbing Clinic: Experience what it’s like to climb on a mix of rock and ice using your ice axes and crampons as effective tools.
If you do not have access to a printer, we will have blank copies available at the check-in.
The ground zero of ice climbing in the region and located only an hour and a half from Thunder Bay, approximately 30-40km’s north of Nipigon, Ontario! This gorge is carved by the melt waters of the last glaciers, and holds more than a hundred climbing routes at every difficulty level from very easy to very hard.
There are a number of parking areas up the Orient Bay corridor on Hwy 11 depending on which climb(s) you will be getting on for your adventure. The parking areas will be plowed for the Nipigon Ice Fest clinics. Please be aware that we will be parking along a busy highway, so please make sure you are parked well off the road and that there are no trucks/cars passing by when you exit/enter your vehicle.
Please refer to the map below for directions.
Considered one of the best hidden gems for ice and mixed climbing, it is located approx 20km’s east of Nipigon, Ontario and only an hour and a half from Thunder Bay! Huge variety of climbs of various heights ranging from fairly easy to extremely hard.
You will be parking about 200 meters up Camp 81 Road off Hwy 17, on the right hand side of the road in line behind your instructor’s vehicles.
Please refer to the map below for directions.
This is a basic outline of the itinerary for our clinics; however we customize/modify based on each clinic. The day begins with the climber’s check-in at the Nipigon Legion at 9:00am, followed by your drive time to the climbing location at 10:00am.
-Arrival at the Nipigon Legion: 9:00am
• Distribute gear to each climber who rented equipment
(harness, helmet, mountaineering boots, crampons, ice axes)
Waiver forms filled out & submitted
-Drive to the Climbing Destination: 10:00am
-Meet and greet at the parking area *minimize time near road*
• Hike to site
*Hike-in times vary depending on which location & which climb at that location
Talking About Site Safety and Equipment
• Objective hazards discussed
• Helmets to be worn at all times
• Equipment explained, fitted to each person, and secured.
• How to climb – basic techniques to get started
• How to come back down safely – proper lowering techniques on ice
Climbing Time and Skill Building
• Using your crampons efficiently
• Ice axe placements
• Belaying + Communication Essentials
Lunch: On your own time whenever you please
More Climbing Time and Skill Building
• Group progressively learns techniques to climb more efficiently on the ice or rock
• Learning advanced techniques to climb more efficiently
• Learn about ice formation and ice conditions
Last Climbs of the Day
Tear Down, Clean Up, and Pack Up
Hike time back to the parking area for departure at 4:00pm
Drive Time Back to Nipigon
Equipment return at the Legion: 4:30pm-5:30pm
Policies & Procedures
After Submitting your Reservation: Each climber is required to fill out a Registration Form online. Please do this as soon as you’ve submitted your payment. This is to ensure we have all the information needed to provide you with the best possible experience and the properly fitted equipment.
Waiver Form: You will be required to sign our Waiver Form before commencing the program. Participants under the age of 18 will need their parent/guardian’s permission to complete registration. Minors who show up for an adventure or course without a properly signed waiver by their parent or legal guardian will not be allowed to participate. If you do not have access to a printer prior to the Ice Fest, we will have paper copies available upon your arrival at the check-in.
Equipment Rental: Equipment rentals are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. All equipment will be transported to the Legion for the clinic and distributed and the climber check-in Saturday morning. Any extra gear will be made available to rent at the Legion prior to the outings. Harnesses and Helmets are available at no extra cost by Outdoor Skills And Thrills. Limited supplies, so let us know exactly what you will need when you register.
Rentals provided by:
Outdoor Skills And Thrills – Thunder Bay
The Wilderness Supply – Thunder Bay
Transportation: Transportation is not included, so you will need to arrange a way to and from the climbing spot. If you are open to carpooling let us know and we can try to help you arrange this with the other participants at the climber’s check-in on Saturday.
Cancellation & Refund Policy: Once a booking is submitted, we hold a 50% non-refundable deposit of the total cost, and the full amount becoming non-refundable 14 days prior to the clinic. All requests for cancellations or date changes must be submitted in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please notify us as soon as possible if you wish to make any changes to your reservation. We reserve the right to cancel any program due to weather or route conditions, guide health, or for any other reason deemed necessary by the Nipigon Ice Fest committee. In such cases, we are not responsible for expenses incurred by the client in connection with the trip such as airfare, car rental, equipment purchases, etc. By its very nature, climbing is an uncertain endeavor, and many factors can influence the outcome of a trip. Accordingly, once a trip begins, we are unable to offer refunds for weather related cancellations, or for trips that end prematurely due to weather, route conditions or circumstances within, or affecting, your group.
Health/Cancellation & Interruption Insurance: It is important to make sure that your current plan covers you in the case of an illness, accident, cancellation, or interruption prior to or during your trip; get extra coverage if necessary. In the case of a trip cancellation or interruption, we cannot be held responsible for expenses incurred by the client in connection with the trip such as airfare, car rental, equipment purchases, etc.
Drugs and Alcohol: No alcohol or drug use is allowed on our programs. We have a zero tolerance policy and no climbing is ever permitted under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Disclaimer: Ice Climbing has the potential to be a very dangerous sport. Quality instruction and experience combined with proper equipment are necessary to help reduce this risk. ALL CLIMBING ACTIVITIES ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL CLIMBER. The volunteers that help organize the Fest and coordinate the events and activities make no warranties, expressed or implied, for the safety, fun, availability, condition, grade, location, or legality of any of the climbs in the area. They also do not guarantee the safety, fun, suitability, or availability of any of the equipment or facilities that may be used for rental, demo, or gathering. The organizers also do not warrant, condone, or guarantee the content, safety, quality, quantity, etc of any of the shows, speakers or classes given during the Fest.