Climbing Tonti

The Tonti Twins Tonti Canyon is an out of the way canyon within Starved Rock State Park. Out of the way because it's quite a hike from any parking area, and a broken bridge and closed trail makes the hike about a mile longer. Traffic is a bit lighter here, it seems people don't want to walk too far from the comforts of their cars, but they're the ones who are missing out. Through the Ice Opening If you look closely in all the photos here, you'll see ice climbers, and if you look carefully in the photo above, the climber at the base of the distant ice fall gives an idea of just how tall these ice features really are. The photo was taken from behind one of the waterfalls, and under the overhang of the canyon wall. This is the ice fall in this canyon that climbers trust and attempt, while the distant one may be a bit too weak to support climbing. Climbing Tonti's Ice Fall The climbers on the ice fall have almost made it to the top of the fall; once there, they will rappel down to the canyon floor and give the next climber a hand with the safety line. Ice climbing is much more difficult than it seems. The surfaces are very slick, usually wet with flowing water, and the cold temperatures of the air and the ice quickly take a toll on the climber. In addition, the arms of the climber are being used above their head, forcing the warm blood away from the extremities, quickly fatiguing the hands, and making them cold very fast. The ice climbing season in Illinois is quite short, and a good number of climbers take advantage of the brief window by climbing the impressive ice falls of Starved Rock State Park.

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