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.
An orienteering version of a Backyard Ultra. Tackle a new orienteering course every third hour until no one else is left!
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.
These events are conducted under a special use permit issued by the USDA-Forest Service
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:
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:
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 derives from the Backyard Ultra tradition). Par times are adjusted for elevation gain, vegetation, and so on, and are validated with field testing.
To complete a course in the Last Person Standing:
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:
The map is LiDAR-based and mostly compliant with ISOM 2017-2 but with a few added symbols.
The snippet shown here features the "braid" symbol, which looks like a sinusoidal wiggle. If drawn as a linear feature, it represents a path that is too faint or braided to be drawn with symbol 507 (less distinct small footpath). It can also be drawn as an area, meaning that the entire area is full of braided paths.
The speed of a "braid" is taken from the surrounding terrain. For instance, the western portion of the medium green area contains a short section of "braid" fringed by white, so it is Normal Run instead of Walk.
Here we see a section of marsh along with a steep slope, some mining prospects, some linear "braids", and a "rut" (shallow chevron) which is a lot like a braid, but very steep (steep enough to impair downhill speed).
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).