OverviewSplit face is so named because of the large wedge shaped valley that separates the eastern and western summits. It is one of the rockiest peaks in the park and is a beautiful climb as there is little in the way of bushwhacking involved.
Split face is located on the NW side of Killarney lake and like its brother Silver peak is very small in terms of its altitude, but again in my opinion more than makes up for it with its 60m+ walls, its awesome rock playgrounds and the truly unique apline experience that it offers. Here in Ontario peaks like this are a veritable gold mine and we treasure the view we have.
This peak is rarely climbed. I have been on its summit three times and have never encountered a soul, but that is part of the allure of the interior of the park. It offers a seriously haunting and pristine experience for the true lover of alpine regions. Also because the peak has no marked trail is it rarely scaled.
This being said it is well worth the 2-3 hours out of your day. The views are awesome, and if one were to bring a chalk bag there are many spots to have a tonne of fun bouldering or free climbing at the base of the summit face and along both arms of the eastern and western summit ridges.
The mountain somewhat resembles a lobster with a flat head and two ungainly looking arms extending out from its body. Split Face is one of the craggiest peaks in the park and for those seeking to expereince the real thrill of the La Cloche mountains this is a must climb. Simply moving across the rock bands and looking out over the park as each turn provides a new unheralded vista is what I love most about split face and Killarney... it is wilderness at its finest.
The easiest route is essentially a scramble, but it involves a bit of class IV scrambling and a sustained section of class III to gain acces to the main summit... it is unexposed and would provide little difficulty for the average SP afficionado.
Getting ThereSplit face is located within the boundaries of Killarney Provincial Park which is located about 4.5-5 hours north of Toronto.
To get to the park from Toronto take highway 400 north for about 2 hours, highway 400 becomes highway 69 and you will continue along the highway for another two hours until you see signs for highway 637 to Killarney Provincial Park. Turn left onto #637 and after about 40 minutes you will be at the main George Lake entrance.
Access points such as Bell Lake and Johnnie Lake are before the main park center and wil be seen if one pays particular attention to the signs on the right hand side of the road.
To get to the base of the peak itself there is only one method that I can recommend and that is by canoe. The park has several hundred lakes within its boundaries and has dense forests where one can easily get turned about. So the simplest way to gain access to Split Face is by canoeing in. It is the second imposing peak (from the west) that makes up the rideline of the La Cloche's Blue ridge range on Killarney Lake.
Split face is also the most recognisable as its summit has a pie shaped wedge-cut that separates the western sub summit and the eastern (true) summit.
The canoe route I have always taken is from the main campground at George Lake and involves paddling the entirety of that lake followed by a short portage, canoeing the entirelty of Freeland Lake followed by a lengthier portage and then canoeing out of the Killarney Lake narrows into its main section.
Red TapeThe park is officially open from Victoria Day (usually around May 20th) to the end of Thankgiving weekend (around October 10th). People are still free to visit the park in the off season as the fees are reduced and often the park is free of the summer RV campers.
Permits can be picked up at the office at George Lake and if using other access points like Bell Lake of Johnnie Lake parking permits should be displayed in the front window of your vehicle.
Killarney is a very special park and any Ontarioan who loves the out of doors will testify to that. It is designated a wilderness park which means there is no motorised transportation allowed within the parks interior. There are only two ways of getting around, on foot or by canoe that is it.
When To ClimbThe best time of year to climb Split face is between May and October with my perosnal favourites being the first few weeks of May and the last three weeks of September.
Out of season it is not too difficult a task to climb Split face, though winters can be particularly nasty with snow falls in excess of several meters for the season and temps that often drop below -30 celsius. As long as you pack prepared for the season and always remember to bring warm gear it is no problem scaling Split face.
One other thing to take note of is what we call black fly season which last usually 4-6 weeks from Mid May to Mid June. They are small stinging flies that desend in clouds and make most of us wish for droves of mosquitoes... just thought I'd give fair warning.
CampingCamping is allowed within the park through sites at the main George Lake campground and interior sites. Interior sites can be found close to SIlver Peak itself though it is wise to book several months in advance.
For Park info call 1 705 287 2900 and to make reservations you can call
1 705 287 2800. It is about $8 per person per night for interior camping and around $20-25 per car at the main George Lake campgrounds.
There are 8 canoe sites on Killarney Lake with the best being C-16, C-17 and C-24 and all are very close to Split face.
Mountain ConditionsThe best thing to do is check the weather for the city of Sudbury or even better you could check the weather network and check the weather for the town of Killarney. The weather Network also has a regular Ontario Parks forecast that will give you current conditions for the park.
Flora and faunaYou can spot bald eagles, red tailed hawks and turkey vultures gliding on afternoon thermals.... or get buzzed by protective peregrines in a full stoop. It is possible to spot deer, moose, fox, wolves, blackbears, beaver, otters and many other types of animals.
Some interior sites have resident chipmunks that will readily eat from your hand... iKillarney as a wilderness park is an oasis of life where nature comes first and because of this the encounters here people have with animals though more frequent always leave indelible impressions