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Summary

A small, predominantly sport climbing crag sited along the same trail system as nearby The Swamp and Metcalfe Rock.

Description

Unfortunately, AQ takes the cake in Ontario for the crag with the most unsavoury name that may read as a tribute to the terrorist organization. Fortunately, the climbing is some of the best among the Kalopre Crags. Not known as a beginner-friendly crag, there are only 6 climbs that sit at 5.10- or easier. Of the three cliffs - Operation IF, Tora Bora, and the Lair - Operation IF is the tallest, most developed, but also the hardest, with a 5.11a starting price.

Of the two printed guides in circulation, the book by Gus Alexandropoulos & Justin Dwyer is the more accurate of the two by far for this crag. Significant amount of information is absent from Jesse Wong's book, and the printed grades are significantly stiffer, especially if the user is accustomed to grades for The Swamp in the same book.

Wear a helmet! Loose rocks have not been cleaned by traffic for the vast majority routes. This is especially true for harder, seldom touched routes, where loose rocks may rain down at any time. Anyone hanging out at the cliff base must pay attention whenever a climber is on the wall. Lichen and moss are also quick to reclaim the rock face, and can be a nuisance for belayers as climbers kick off flakes of nature.

Access issues

Climbing is tolerated, please behave

Note: this crag is not formally listed as a separate crag on the OAC's list of crags (https://www.ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca/crag-status). Its access status is assumed to be the same for the nearby crags in the land management area.

Approach

North end of the trail starts on 10th line before the bend west and north to Metcalfe. Take the double track trail take the fork to trail 54.

Ethic inherited from Beaver Valley

Leave no trace and tread lightly! Please refer to https://www.ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca/climbers/getting-outside

Red tagged route: do not touch - route is a closed project and/or bolting is unfinished (i.e. dangerous).

History

View historical timeline

Scouted at the same time (c. 2000) as the nearby heavyweights, this little buddy crag was the first to be developed for sport climbing by Gus Alexandropoulos, Richard English, and Christine Triggs. More bolting and trad FAs followed towards the west of the crag c. 2010.

The unfortunate name* of the crag and some of the routes came about as the development paralleled contemporaneous events in the Middle East, and the search for Osama bin Laden was a fixture in the news cycle. The developers shared a chuckle when one of them remarked how the last place anyone would expect to find OBL was at some scrappy cave in the Middle of Nowhere, Southern Ontario. The joke stuck, and the route names followed.

*Note: this is second-hand information provided by another local developer.

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