Sky Pilots

Endurance Navigators

Lost One Standing

Previous Results


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. Register here


An orienteering version of a Backyard Ultra. Tackle a new orienteering course every hour until no one else is left!

This event is conducted under a special use permit issued by the USDA-Forest Service.

What is Orienteering?

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:

The Courses

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:

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:

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:

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.

Campsites Available

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.

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.