COMBERMERE – Dozens of people gathered at Diamond Lake near Combermere on February 27 and 28 for a weekend of ice climbing.
It was all part of the second-annual Southern Ontario Ice Festival, co-organized by Andriy Kolos of Toronto and two other individuals.
Last year, the inaugural festival was based out of the Maynooth area, with discussions and climbing parties to celebrate the release of Kolos’ ice climbing guidebook. The Madawaska Valley, including Diamond Lake near Combermere, is featured in the guidebook.
The first-ever ice climbing festival in 2015 was a pilot event of sorts, where people would visit local crags (or rugged cliffs) and talk about their experiences back at the Arlington Hotel in Maynooth.
“It served as a good base because it had both good accommodations and a hall that we could all get together in a large atmosphere,” Kolos explained. “It was the intent to bring together climbers to celebrate the joys of ice climbing and get people together in a large, scattered geographic area under the same roof.”
This year, however, the festival has expanded, and organizers decided to offer clinics to beginner and experienced climbers.