The World of O in the Montreal Region since 1967

COC in Ottawa: How to cross a beaver dam

Photo by Stefan Bergstrom

It was an exciting O-week in Ottawa, with a spectacular terrain on Sunday full of lakes and beaver dams. Several members of the Ramblers OC participated. Three medals came back to the Montreal Region, thanks to Aurore Varela, Gloria Charlow and John Charlow  (category W35-44, W75+, M75+, Long Distance event). The full results are here.

The Long Distance event created some discussion around the topic of “uncrossable features”, as many legs created route choices involving lakes and beaver dams – see the following example:

To swim or not to swim? And if so, are you allowed? Should you be allowed? Follow the controversial  discussion «Forbidden Features at COC Long» on

More maps and routes from all the COC events here on Route Gadget.

Update: The discussion “Thinking the uncrossable” has now received 131 posts. For those don’t have time to read them all, here some treats:

Orienteering is a running sport, but it is not a track sport. Or a trail sport. It is a battle with nature. It is a race over terrain, through muck and green. If you’re too much of a pussy to get your feet wet, you’re no Canadian champion in my book.

Some countries have a liberal view of land ownership and a “right to roam” so that “settlement” does not imply “out of bounds”, others regard the land around a house as automatically private. Cultivated land might have different meanings in different places: always out of bounds, or out of bounds sometimes but not right now. Some countries have vast differences between the seasons, others may be fairly stable.

I find it equally strange that citizens of the “caution: this coffee is hot” culture aren’t more concerned about liability. But in any case, isn’t the point that you should be able to tell if a feature, for example a cliff, is crossable from the map without having to go to that feature to look?

Its still up to the mapper to decide what is crossable or not – even on sprint maps – and I often don’t agree with what they decided. So the map hasn’t told me the truth. I’m pretty good at climbing fences and I’m not a bad swimmer, and I can often find ways up or down “uncrossable” cliffs. Just because the mapper can’t climb a fence doesn’t mean no one else can.

In other news: Thierry Gueorgiou just talked  this map on Twitter. Anything uncrossable here?


Ottawa – O week: some photos…


You’re Never Too Old


  1. Sven

    Thomas, you’re my hero for collecting this!

    • ramblers oc

      Yep, I still think these are quite a collection of quotes, pointing to all the different issues which makes orienteering so exciting!

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