From the town of Webbwood, 75 km west of Sudbury, head north along the Agnew Lake Road for 6 km, then turn left onto the West Branch Road. This is a wide, well-maintained logging road that runs north for 159 km. Continue up the West Branch Road and you will reach the AOC parking area at 32.5 kms at marker 126. Continue past AOC for another 7.5 km then take a right at the Y junction onto Charcoal Road. Proceed up Charcoal Road for 8.5 km where on your left you'll see 10 jack pine in a plowed clearing in the replanted trees. In the distance to your left, you'll see Big Knob crag. Turn left onto this road and continue for 1.8 km where you'll then turn right at a smaller camping site road. Head up the hill and all the way to the end, about 0.5 km. You'll see Rainbow Wall up to your left and to your right, Wako. This is the frequent climbers' camping spot. There is a great swimming hole if you don't turn right onto the camping site road but continue to the end of this road for approximately 0.5 km. Park here and hike west down a small ravine to a small rapid at a creek.
A Note on Peregrine Falcons
Be aware of peregrine falcons at Wako. You will likely hear the peregrines screeching away as you climb, Wako being another one of the crags where they nest. They generally don’t bother climbers, however, please be aware that the peregrine falcon incubating/nesting/rearing season can run from April to the end of July/early August and that it’s a good idea to stay far away from their nest, should it be in the vicinity of a climb. Climbing at a different crag is always a safe bet if the birds get agitated.
A Note on Bouldering
There is an abundance of boulders and future problems at the base of Wako. The landings are incredibly flat and safe on many of the boulders. We foresee this as being a premium area for bouldering in the future. If you establish any problems please photograph, document and pass the information on to us as we will compile and create a page for them.
Rainbow Wall | N46 39'20" W81 59'20"
This crag can be easily seen from the camping area as you look north up the hill. There is no cut trail going up to this wall, but there is an old overgrown road between all the wild raspberry bushes as you walk uphill in what we call the Valley of the Bees due to the amount of wildflowers and bees enjoying their pollen that we first experienced upon our first ascent of Arc En Ciel Deux.
1 Arc En Ciel Deux | 5.10d | Trad
FFA Marco Foladore/Laura Schmidt August 2017
An homage to the original Arc En Ciel that is found on the Sturgeon River and is considered one of Ontario’s 50 best climbs. Deux is bigger, a tad harder and as much fun. It's climbed from left to right in one long 50 m pitch. Follow the arch on easy climbing until the down climb where the climb gets its grade. Once past the down climb, venture right to your rest ledge and pull the final move to the right to exit the Rainbow.
Wako Main Wall
Wako Back Wall
The Wild is Here
Wako | N46 38'57" W81 59' 10"
There are two ways to access the Wako crags from the camping site. One is following the cut line from the logging operations to the boulder field at the base of the Main Wall and then head uphill to the wall. The second is a flagged cut trail heading up to the north side of the crag, and then it follows the base of the crag. Due to the lack of foot traffic, this trail tends to grow in quickly each year. Obviously the Main Wall will be accessed first, and as you continue down the trail, the Back Wall will be after.
1 Hand Jammies | 5.10a | 10m
FFA Hudson Mayhew/Maxime Jacques 2017
Beautiful splitter fist-sized crack to a roof with good hands, short but fun.
2 The Wild is Here | 5.10d | 35m
FFA Hudson Mayhew/Colin Shepitka 2017
Done in 2 pitches, start in the obvious corner to the left of the main streaked wall.
Pitch 1, 5.10d, 30m: Climb right out of the corner onto a flake and make your way back left into the corner. Gain the ledge and start your way up a widening, overhanging crack. Mantle up to another ledge to a gear belay.
Pitch 2, 5.9, 5m: Climb up the obvious crack and belay off a tree.
Descent: Walk up and then to the climber's right to the same rappel as Embarrassment of Riches.
3 Embarrassment of Riches | 5.10b | 50m
FFA Colin Shepitka/Cory Black/Bryan Cayouette 2017
After walking over to the overhanging face, where the trail turns left around the corner and starts going uphill is where the climb starts up a slabby-looking crack system.
Pitch 1, 5.9, 20m: Climb up the slab moving left with some funky moves into an obvious corner crack, gain the ledge to a bolted belay with rap rings.
Pitch 2: More of a traverse than a pitch, you'll need to traverse the climber's left with little to no gear placements till you get to an obvious corner with a perfect crack to set up a gear belay.
Pitch 3, 5.10b, 30m: Follow the perfect corner crack, gain the ledge and continue straight up the broken crack/plate system, save cams from #1 - #3 for a gear belay at the summit.
Descent: Walk up then to the climber's right to the main flat lookout, in a tree is webbing and a quick link, a full length rappel gets you to the pitch 1 rap rings, a second shorter rappel gets you exactly where you started this climb.
4 Another Fine Mess | 5.6/5.7 | 35 m
FFA Danylo Darewych/Mike Grainger May 20 2018
This route is located at the start of the Wako Back Wall area. There will be a big, wide low-angled slab, followed by a large talus slope at the top of which sits a wide dike in the cliff system. The route climbs the line of weakness on the right side of the dike where a crack system runs up over a series of bulges and treed ledges. There is some good climbing in clearing the bulges, but it is marred by the inevitable loose blocks and/or dirt on the top of them. Bring long slings to sling the 4 cedars along the way. The route follows the crack most of the way, except for a small jog out to the left (to a cedar) and back near the top. The route was wet and muddy at the top; best wait for it to dry after a solid rain. We did not clear most of the blocks sitting on the ledges, because we were trailing a second rope.
Descent: Rappel off of trees further left above the middle of the dike on two ropes (but I think you should be able to rappel on one 60 m rope).
5 Wide eyes | 5.10d/5.11a | 60m
FA Colin Shepitka/Joseph Trudell May 2018
This climb starts in the obvious corner, traverses right and up then follows the prominent left facing off-width.
Pitch 1, 5.8: Climb the only perfect corner on this wall up and then right along an angled face crack to a gear belay on top of the pitch.
Pitch 2, 4th class scramble/very easy slab: Traverse right and up to a gear belay at the base of the slab, aim up and left to a grouping of trees for the belay of pitch 3.
Pitch 3, 5.10d/5.11a: Find the crack through some brush and move left around a bulge with no feet, move left along the crack as it widens with the same theme of no feet to a strenuous but rewarding exit. Double #4 cams and required. #5/6 an asset.
Descent: Just left of the climb you'll find a tree with webbing and a quick link. Double 70m rope rappel will make get you to the ground, be careful of swing potential on this rappel. If using a single rope, additional webbing and rings will be required to make a 2nd rappel on abundant trees.
6 Hazelnot | 5.9 | 28 m
FA Mike Grainger/Danylo Darewych May 20 2018
This route is located at the far-right end of the Wako cliff system. There is a 100m long, 30m high wall here in a small valley with a hidden creek running under the rocks (at least in the springtime). The Hidden Creek Wall is vertical at first, then becomes more easy-angled towards the right end, before making a sharp 90 degree left-hand turn and ending in a short face with 3 cracks in it (Hummingbird Cracks). Hazelnot starts right on the corner of the left-hand turn in the wall.
Climb an 8-9m crack and make an awkward mantle (belly-flop) left onto a ledge. Climb strenuously up the corner above. The right wall of the upper corner is initially made of some very big detached blocks (but we both pulled on them and stood on them and they didn’t move). The crack in the back is thin and the gear fiddly. After clearing the corner, climb easier terrain to the top. Belay/rappel off trees.
7 Hummingbird Cracks | 5.7-5.10- | 25 m
FFA Brent Elliott/Laura Duncan May 20 2018
The Hummingbird Cracks are located just around the corner from Hazelnot.
One route with three start variations of varying difficulty (5.7-5.10-). Crack 1-3 are described left to right. All share the same final 15m up the Y crack at the top up to a belay/rap tree. Good protection, nice crack climbing and fun moves.
Crack 1, 5.9: Start up the dihedral until you can make a tricky traverse move across to the main crack. Continue up the crack to the ledge. Move left to finish up the Y crack to the top.
Crack 2, 5.10-: Start at the thin crack in the centre (probably would get easier with more cleaning). Plug a piece (yellow blue offset works well) before pulling onto the ledge. Continue up the crack to the ledge. Move left to finish up the Y crack to the top.
Crack 3, 5.7: Start at the crack with trees. Move through dirty crack and around the trees to gain the ledge. Move left to finish up the Y crack to the top.
Another Fine Mess
Big Knob | N46° 38.645' W81° 58.890'
The Big Knob is composed of very solid, slabby rock with few crack lines. It's the first obvious wall that you see when you get to the plowed clearing on Charcoal road. The major line of weakness on the Big Knob is a big dike that runs up the middle of the knob, angling up to the left. Looking for Crack is located in a smaller, less noticeable weakness up a corner system on the right end of the Big Knob. From the base of the dike head right for about 80 m around a low cliff band and then scramble up a steep slope for 25 m onto a bench with a big corner in the back.
Looking for Crack (The Rob Ford Memorial Route) | 5.7, A0 | 35m
FA Mike Grainger/Danylo Darewych May 21 2018
There are two crack/chimney systems there side-by-side. The route starts on the right one and traverses into the top of the left one.
Pitch 1, 5.7, 16m: Climb an initial somewhat mossy rock step with poor pro and make an awkward traverse step to the right to the base of the wider chimney. Climb the crack up the left side of the chimney, on somewhat shattered-looking, but mostly solid rock. Belay off a big tree on a ledge.
Pitch 2, 5.5, 8m: Traverse left 6m, making an airy step across the top of the left-side chimney system and pull up next to a big cedar tree. Belay on gear.
Pitch 3, 5.6, A0, 15m: Climb the corner above the belay tree. There is a decent ledge off to the left 3m up, but the next 4m of the corner system are friction slab on either side of a thin seam - you can only get your fingers into the seam in a couple of places (we aided this section by pulling on gear). An easier corner crack leads to a slabby top out. Belay/rappel off trees (not sure if you can get down on one 60 m rope; we had doubles).
Northern Knob, Southern Souls | 5.10 | 50 m
FFA Laura Duncan/Brent Elliott May 21 2018
Start at the base of the gully to the left of the dike that splits the cliff. There is a large ramp leading up and left away from you to the left of the start. The route starts at the base of that ramp and heads up a crack before moving out onto the buttress.
Pitch 1, 5.6, 20m: Climb easy ground to a large layback flake you can see from the ground. Move around the flake onto a ledge with a tree. Belay here.
Pitch 2, 5.5, 10m: Continue up the crack around slabby bulges to a large ledge with a couple of small trees and a dead tree and one bolt anchor. Purple Metolius is useful at the end of P2. These pitches could perhaps be combined if rope drag is well managed.
Pitch 3, 5.10, 30m: Start to the left of the thin crack, move up to a ramp before clipping the first bolt and making a tricky move left to right across the thin crack. Clip the second bolt before moving right and up to get on top of the bulge. Move up to the last bolt before gaining easier ground above and continue to the top.
Descent: Rap down to the gully climber's right of the route. There is one perfectly positioned tree over the edge of a slab but you need a 70m rope to get down to the next decent tree. There are other options if you have a 60m just might not be a clean pull.