Where and When
Crystal Lake, about 2 miles north of Ironton, Colorado on June 17, 2023. Map handout starts at 7 am. The Last Person Standing division starts at 9 am. The Six Hour Map Trek starts at 10 am. New orienteers are welcome for either event! We offer a 15 minute instructional session for any beginners. These events are conducted under a special use permit granted by the USDA Forest Service.
The Last Person Standing is an orienteering version of a Backyard Ultra. Tackle a new orienteering course every third 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 every third hour (twelve courses available).
- The start must occur exactly at the start of the period (mass start), and the finish must occur before the three hour period ends.
- The blue division continues until there is only one person left, or for 33 hours, whichever happens first. If needed, the next three-hour period 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 33-hour contest
- Brown division runners may start a new course on any one-hour mark, and have no particular deadline for finishing a course other than the overall 33-hour limit
- A brown runner's score is the total number of courses completed within the 33-hour limit
In the Six Hour Map Trek, create your own course by linking together whatever control points you desire and return to HQ within the time limit. Each control is worth a certain number of points. Your score is the total value of the points earned.
Orienteering is competitive land navigation using only map and compass.
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.
- In the Last Person Standing, working cooperatively with other runners is allowed during the first 33 hours of the event (every runner must punch their own control card at each control point claimed)
- During the twelfth three-hour period, if there is one, runners must proceed individually with no following allowed
For the Last Person Standing, there are twelve different courses available. You can only complete each course once. Each course consists of somewhere in the neighborhood of five to twelve controls. Each course is also rated for:
- Navigational difficulty (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) (four courses in each category)
- Physical severity (green circle, blue square, or black diamond) (these ratings are essentially subjective)
- Distance and elevation gain
- Par time (ranging from 2 to 3 hours)
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 in the Last Person Standing:
- Depart from HQ with your newly-issued control card
- Navigate to each control point listed for the course (some courses require a specific order, others don't)
- 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 Ironton valley and surrounding mountain slopes. Elevations in play range from 9,400 feet to possibly over 12,000 feet (depending on snow conditions). Expect many mining-era remnants and spectacular mountain views. Spruce forest, aspen forest, grassy marshes, willow stands, and alpine meadows.
Courses that venture above tree line may be time-restricted if there are thunderstorms in the forecast (in other words, those courses aren't available during the riskiest times of the day)
Courses that involve navigating around hazardous terrain, or have the potential to encounter moose, will be restricted to daylight hours.
Our HQ, across the highway from Crystal Lake, has an interesting history.
Compared to last year's event at the Ouray Amphitheater, here are some notable differences:
- Three-hour instead of one-hour courses
- With courses ranging much further from HQ, there is much less repetition
- There is also less opportunity to run one course while probing a second, because everything is more spread out
- More variety in the physical difficulty of courses (a few courses will be across very gentle terrain, several will be on steep mountain slopes)
- The map has a lot more Walk vegetation, but also some areas of white forest (which was very rare last year)
- There is a very large marsh that at least a couple courses will get to explore
Plenty of free, primitive, dispersed camping is available 1.5-2 miles to the south, near the Ironton townsite.
In addition, you may set up a personal canopy or tent on the terraces about 50 m east of HQ (the intent of these is for participants to have a small spot to rest during the competition, if desired. If you want to set up a regular campsite, say for a family, you should probably do that in Ironton).
Event's current local time: 6:32 AM MT