Land Navigation Challenge
Sunday, March 24, 2013 – 10 AM
Raccoon Creek State Park (30 miles west of Pittsburgh)
3-hr and 6-hr map & compass land navigation challenge (orienteering - scavenger hunt)

With the use of map and compass, individuals or teams have a fixed time (3 or 6 hours in this event) to visit as many checkpoints as possible; walking, running and resting as they see fit. The checkpoints are spread over a large area, and are pre-marked on a map issued shortly before the start of the event. Point values for visiting each control vary (and are specified in advance) depending on such factors as distance from the start/finish area, elevation, and navigational complexity. Participants come from diverse backgrounds: adventure racers, hikers, walkers, cross-country runners, trail runners, ultra runners, hashers, orienteerers, and family groups. Widely varying levels of competitive intensity are found, going from the casual stroller who wants a little variety added to the weekend hike to the serious athlete. Map reading skill is perhaps the most important technique needed. Route planning strategy is also very important since there won’t be time to get all the controls, so the choice of which to try for is crucial in maximizing scores.

Time: Mass-start is at exactly 10:00 AM. on Sunday, March 24, 2013. The registration desk opens at 8:00 AM. Maps will be distributed at 9:00 AM. There is a mandatory meeting at 9:45 AM.

Organizers: Western Pennsylvania Orienteering Club – website: www.WPOC.org

Start/Finish area: Rec Hall in Raccoon Creek State Park, located 30 miles West of Pittsburgh, near the town of Frankfort Springs. Rec Hall is located 1.3 miles west of the park headquarters, located on Route 18. Directions: From Pittsburgh, take Parkway West (I-376) in direction towards the airport. Exit onto Route 22 West, and exit from there at Route 18 North. Follow Route 18 for 6 miles to the north to park headquarters, and follow signs and road for 1.3 miles West to Rec Hall (GPS coordinates: N[masked] - W[masked])

Provided Equipment: A special-purpose topographic map on two large sheets at a 1:15,000 scale and 5 meter contour interval. with a large plastic bag will be provided to each participant. In addition, a checkpoint control punch card, and a checkpoint description sheet are also provided. Water is available at the base camp and at selected points marked on the map. Recommended equipment: compass, whistle, water bottle or camelback, watch, snack food, sunscreen.

Rules: No outside aid or help, no vehicular transportation, no iPads or similar electronic devices showing maps and your location. Portable GPS systems are allowed as long as the intention is to simply record the route taken, for later analysis, discussion, and sharing. This event is about land navigation the “old fashioned way”.

Checkpoints: Each checkpoint is marked by an orange/white control, a triangular prism with sides approximately one foot
square. The control flags will usually be visible from some distance, not intentionally concealed, but also not in view of trails or roads. There will be 50 checkpoints distributed in the park area. Checkpoint locations could be a junction of two streams under a thick canopy of vegetation, or the northern end of a plantation of spruce trees within a forest of deciduous trees, or a pit or tiny marsh in the forest. All are locations that only a very detailed and researched topographic map can reveal. Discover your explorer inner-you and go find these locations otherwise completely unknown to the casual hiker.

Scoring and Awards: The point value of all control points visited is totaled. The penalty of 10 points will be subtracted from the score for every minute late. Tie scores will be decided by the order of finishing times. If in a team, all members of the team must be present at finish. There are three age categories: Elite (age 20 and over), Masters (age 40 and over), and Super Veterans (age 55 and over). Within each of these categories are gender categories: Men, Women, and Mixed. If in a team, you will be placed in the least competitive category that fits all team members.

Fees: Entries postmarked by 3/14/2013 will pay a fee of $30 per person for the 6-hr events and $18 for the 3 hour event. After that date, the fees are $40 for the 6-hr event, and $28 for the 3-hr event. Race day registration is allowed. For WPOC members, there is a discount of $8/$5 for the 6hr/3hr event.

Registration: Register online at http://www.wpoc.org/raccoongainemethods2013.htm, or mail your entry to WPOC c/o Jim Wolfe, 1904 Bates Drive, Johnstown, PA 15905. Checks should be made out to “WPOC”. Email: [masked].
Blog: http://raccoongaine.blogspot.com/ Facebook: “Raccoongaine”
Adventure Race option: with mountain bike race leg added. Offered by Grass Roots Racing (http://www.rootsrace.com/)

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  • Alexis R.

    this just in, happening the week before Raccoongaine:

    Hiking Club Of Raccoon Creek State Park
    Map & Compass
    Saturday, March 16,[masked]:00 AM to 12:00 PM

    Have you ever wondered how to use a compass and how to read a topo map? These are skills that every hiker and backpacker should know how to do. This basic course will be taught by Patrick Adams, who has an extensive background in using a compass and topo maps. Space is limited for this program and directions will be emailed to registered attendees a week before the program. For this program, we do ask for a five dollar donation for those attending to pay for supplies used, which can be donated when you attend the program.

    To register:

    January 23, 2013

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