Where and When
Ouray, Colorado, with a mass start from site 20 in the Amphitheater campground at 9 am, June 4, 2022. Map handout starts at 7 am. We will have a brief instruction session for new orienteers at 8 am.
An orienteering version of a Backyard Ultra. Tackle a new orienteering course every hour until no one else is left!
- All registered runners start in the blue division.
- To remain in the blue division, a runner must choose, start, and finish a new orienteering course each hour.
- The start must occur exactly at the top of the hour (mass start), and the finish must occur before the hour ends.
- The blue division continues until there is only one person left, or for 24 hours, whichever happens first. If needed, the 25th hour will be a tie-breaking sudden-death map trek (score-o)
- Any runner that falls out of the blue division will automatically be reassigned to the brown division, which is a 24-hour contest
- Brown division runners may start a new course on any hour or half-hour mark, and have no particular deadline for finishing a course other than the overall 24-hour limit
- A brown runner's score is the total number of courses completed within the 24-hour limit
This event is conducted under a special use permit issued by the USDA-Forest Service.
Orienteering is competitive land navigation using only map and compass. The map for this event will be printed in six colors at 1:7,500 scale (enlarged from 1:15,000) with 10 meter contours.
Beginner courses can be completed by following roads, trails, and other readily-followable linear features. Intermediate courses require some off-trail navigation, but usually provide you with opportunities (if you can recognize them) to constrain the chance for serious error. Advanced courses are usually as off-trail as possible, test a wide variety of skills, and are less forgiving of errors.
For this particular event, the following rules are in play:
- Participants may not use any maps other than the competition map
- Prior to the event, you're welcome to explore the competition area in a limited manner. To ensure fairness, you must restrict yourself to exploring to roads and trails.
- GPS may not be used for navigational purposes. From a safety standpoint, carrying a phone or other device capable of GPS is a good idea, but please ensure that the device is not providing you with information during competition.
- Working cooperatively with other runners is allowed during the first 24 hours of the event (every runner must punch their own control card at each control point claimed)
- During the 25th hour, if there is one, runners must proceed individually with no following allowed
There are twenty-four different courses available. You can only complete each course once. Each course consists of somewhere between one and five controls. Each course is also rated for:
- Navigational difficulty (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) (with at least six courses available in each category)
- Physical severity (green circle, blue square, or black diamond) (these ratings are essentially subjective, but realistically they are all pretty steep!)
- Distance and elevation gain (assuming you find the best route) (ranging from 2.2 to 4.8 km and from 170 to 340 m of elevation gain)
- Par time (ranging from 33 to 58 minutes)
The par time is the theoretical time that a runner-of-a-certain-caliber ought to take for the course, assuming no navigational errors. For comparison, a par runner ought to be able to cover 6.076 km in an hour over perfectly flat and perfectly smooth terrain (this rather weird number also happens to be four-and-one-sixth of a mile). Par times are adjusted for elevation gain, vegetation, and so on, and are validated with field testing.
Completing a Course
To complete a course:
- Depart from HQ with your newly-issued control card
- Navigate to each control point listed for the course (in any desired order)
- Locate the control flag at each control point (an orange-and-white flag shaped like a triangular prism about a foot across)
- Mark your control card using the manual punch attached to the control flag
- Return to HQ and drop your control card in the appropriate receptacle
About the Competition Area
The Ouray Amphitheater is nestled within a mile-deep glacial cirque open to the west. About 10,000 years ago, the cirque partially collapsed and a massive landslide covered the valley floor with deep layers of debris. Soil and forest now covers the rubble pile, and several creeks have carved their way across it and into it (sometimes stranding long-abandoned versions of themselves at odd angles, many contours higher).
West and south, we have several areas of relatively smooth, glaciated rock, as well as the Uncompahgre River Gorge.
West and north, we have a few control points planned within town (a possible chance to resupply).
Vegetation types in the area include:
- Spruce forest (we do have some mortality here and quite a few downed trees)
- Aspen forest
- Oak forest (reasonably passable when tall, less so when short)
- Areas of mostly open ground mixed with bare rock
There is a lot of green on the map! A majority of the forest is rated "slow run" (light green) and a fair amount is "walk" (medium green).
The event HQ is at about 8,400 feet elevation. The rest of the competition area ranges from about 7,700 to 9,500 feet. Several thirteeners are visible from portions of the course.
At the HQ, a range of food and drink will be available throughout the event.
Parking at the actual HQ is essentially non-existent. You can come up and unload if you like, but after doing that, please park at the big switchback on Highway 550 (38.01862, -107.66649) and then make the 1km hike back up.
Alternatively, if you've arranged to occupy one of the nearby campsites we have reserved, you can park one vehicle there.
We have several strategically-selected campsites that we've reserved for both Friday and Saturday night. These are available to runners (or runners' families or crew) on a first-come first-serve basis at the same price we paid for them ($60 covers both nights plus assorted fees). Email us if you're interested.
Local time: 10:54 AM
These sites are a little different than your average site in the campground because they have trails through them that lead to/from the event HQ, or out into the surrounding forest. These are permitted routes for runners, so please understand that runners could come through at any hour. We also ask that you observe campground rules (including quiet hours), and to keep smoke to a minimum, we ask that you not build a campfire.