Snow Update!

The snow is melting pretty well at Frenchman Spring, so we’ll be using the original-length courses on both Saturday and Sunday. The forecast this week is for warmer temps, so hopefully that will melt most of the snow.

Pre-assigned start times

We will be using pre-assigned start times for the Advanced courses only. We’ll post start times on this page by Friday morning (possibly Thursday night after registration closes at 9pm), so please check here. We’ll have some vacant start times, so if you miss your assigned start, or have registered on the day, once you’ve checked in at registration, head to the start and a volunteer will let you know when you can start. If you have any special requests, please contact Peteris Ledins by Wednesday, March 20.

Run in the Coulee – two days of great orienteering in eastern Washington

We’re heading east for the 2019 Ultimate Orienteer Series with a collaboration between Forest Runs and Cascade for a 2-day event in eastern Washington.

We’ll be using a new map of Frenchman Spring (across the highway from Frenchman Coulee) near Vantage, WA for Middle (Saturday) and Long (Sunday) events.

Weather

Temperatures are expected to be above freezing during the day and below freezing at night, with little to no snow. There’s a WSDOT traffic camera near Vantage that you can check for snow cover.

Camping/Lodging

See Visit Vantage for information about camping and lodging near Vantage (approximately 11 miles southwest). Vantage is very small and has few facilities. Ellensburg, approximately 40 miles west, has numerous lodging and restaurant options.

Many people stay in Quincy (approximately 19 miles north), which is farther away but has more services, including several motels, gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Visit Tour Grant County (scroll down to Quincy) for details.

Other Things to Do

The map terrain and surrounding areas are unique and beautiful. Below are some other things to explore nearby.

  1. Wanapum Dam
  2. Crab Creek map area (25 miles south)
  3. Gingko Petrified Forest (interpretive center open by appointment only through March)
  4. Quincy Ancient Lakes – this area north of Frenchman Spring/Coulee has primitive camping areas and hiking with great views, as well as 2 orienteering maps
  5. Wineries – while there are several in the area, most are closed at this time of year; an exception is Cave B Winery and Resort
  6. The Gorge Amphitheatre (not much happening in March)
  7. Wild Horse Monument (a quick stop off eastbound I-90)

Questions

Please check our Newcomers page for general information. If you still have questions, please contact the event director.

COURSES

Beginner – 1.6 km (with some marked routes), 7 controls, 15 m climb
Intermediate – 4.0 km, 10 controls, 85 m climb
Short Advanced (Ultimate Masters; Ultimate Junior Women) – 6.4 km, 13 controls, 195 m climb
Medium Advanced (Ultimate Junior Men; Ultimate Open Women) – 10.0 km, 15 controls, 325 m climb
Long Advanced (Ultimate Open Men) – 13.4 km, 23 controls, 390 m climb

Age classes

Juniors – 20 and under
Masters – 50+
Open – any age

Ultimate points

While you can run any course you wish, you will receive Ultimate points in a class only if you qualify by age and sex on that course. Please see the chart below for categories in which you can receive Ultimate points.

Short Advanced Medium Advanced Long Advanced
Women 20 and under Jr. Women  Open Women  Open Men
Men 20 and under no points* Jr. Men  Open Men
Women 50+ Masters Women Open Women  Open Men
Men 50+  Masters Men no points*  Open Men
Women 21-49 no points* Open Women  Open Men
Men 21-49 no points* no points*  Open Men

*You may run this course but will not receive Ultimate points.

How are courses measured?

Courses are measured as the crow flies, in a direct line from control to control. Unless you have wings, you will travel farther than this distance! Courses are measured in kilometers, so a good rule of thumb is to simply round up to miles to estimate how far you will go. So in a 5 kilometer race, you’ll likely travel up to 5 miles.

COURSE NOTES

The landscape in Frenchman Spring is shaped by Columbia basalts and Missoula floods. It is in many ways similar to Frenchman Coulee, featuring basalt cliffs, boulders, and large hills, covered with arid desert-like vegetation. The area has no forest, and sagebrush is not a hindrance for running in most places.

Archaeological Sites

There are several archaeological Native American sites scattered across the Frenchman Spring area. In most cases they look like small circular walls of stone creating a wind-protected pit. There are no controls near them, but some route choices may go past. We’ll have some taped off and possibly marked on the map. Please do not disturb them. Our continued access to the venue depends on this.

Dangers

There is no motorized traffic on the map area (except on Vantage Road on the southern border). Just be careful crossing cliffs and rocky slopes! Some of the cliffs on the map are marked as out of bounds – please respect that, this is a safety concern.

Some snakes might be starting to move, but we don’t expect much of that.

Water

There will be water on all courses EXCEPT the Beginner course.  We will have small cups at the water stations but please bring your own container if possible to reduce waste.

Safety bearing

If you become disoriented, head south and you will eventually reach Vantage Road.

Recommendations

The area includes only one distinct vehicle road (and a few more indistinct/overgrown ones), and almost no man-made features. On all courses (except the beginner), you have to rely on compass and contours. The Intermediate course is set in a way that most controls are visible from a distance, but initially one has to move using compass bearing and/or large terrain features. Refresh your compass and map reading skills!  In particular, you should be familiar with cliffs and contours, and be able to recognize reentrants. Wide views make Frenchman Spring a very suitable venue to practice moving on compass bearing.

We do suggest studded shoes, long pants, and shinguards.

 

SCHEDULE

9:00-11:15 am – Registration
9:00-10:00 am – Newcomer instruction
9:15-11:30 am – Start**
2:30 pm – Courses close*

**Pre-assigned start times

We will be using pre-assigned start times for this event. We’ll post start times on this page by Friday morning (possibly Thursday night after registration closes at 9pm), so please check here. We’ll have some vacant start times, so if you miss your assigned start, once you’ve checked in at registration, head to the start and a volunteer will let you know when you can start.

*Wear a watch to ensure that you return to the finish by course closure time, even if you have to abandon your course to do soThose returning after course closure will be disqualified and will make the volunteer staff very grumpy.

PRICES

Note: To cover additional permitting costs associated with this event, fees are slightly higher (+ $5) than our Seattle-area events.

PRE-REGISTERED

Non club member Club member
Using COC epunch  $22  $17
Using your epunch  $17  $12

DAY-OF REGISTRATION

Non club member Club member
Using COC epunch  $25  $20
Using your epunch  $20  $15

 

Become a member for $5-20

Buy your own e-punch for $38

What’s an e-punch?

An e-punch records your race. At each control, you’ll dip the e-punch into an electronic box, which will beep and flash as confirmation. After you finish, you’ll download the e-punch at the download tent and get a receipt that show which controls you visited and how long you took between each; these are your “splits.”

Part of the fun of orienteering is comparing your splits with people who completed the same course, and discussing the routes you took!

SIGN UP

Online pre-registration closes Thursday, March 21 at 9:00 pm

Day-of-event registration is available by cash or check, made payable to Cascade Orienteering Club

Learn more about volunteering

Volunteers make these events happen! You can volunteer and participate on the same day, plus earn volunteer points to earn a free meet.

LOCATION

Carpool Meeting Place

Parking will be on the northwest shoulder of Vantage Road SW near the  (very small) Babcock Bench parking area (reserved for event officials). We are limited to 30 cars along this road, so please carpool if you can.

We suggest you arrange to meet others at the boat launch parking area at the west end of Vantage Road SW and then take one car back up the hill to park near the event center. It’s slightly less than 2 miles one way, so you could also bike or even walk if necessary.

Please DON’T park at the Frenchman Coulee climbing area, as we don’t want to take parking places from the climbers. There’s room for quite a few cars at the boat launch.

CARPOOL

Looking for a carpool? Join the Yahoo listserv and share your request to find a ride.

THE MAP

The Frenchman Spring map is owned and maintained by Forest Runs. They have generously allowed us to use it for some of our events.

The Frenchman Spring venue contains a lot of rocky features.  A number of decisions have been made about what and how to map.

  • International Specifications for Orienteering Maps 2017 symbols are used.
  • Vegetation is mapped in a limited fashion:
    • The only vegetation that limits running in any way is sage bush – still growing or burnt leftovers – and similar semi-desert plants. They are mapped with green vertical stripes – undergrowth, slower running symbol – in locations where the impact is larger.
    • There are several more distinct trees mapped with the green dot symbol.
  • In general, only distinct objects are mapped. A 1-meter-high boulder is mapped if it is in a gravelly area, but not if it lies between other larger boulders.  In a similar fashion, we don’t mark 209 Boulder field or 210 Stony ground in a context where these make the map too hard to read.  In contrast, most of the 418 Prominent bush or tree are prominent only in the Frenchman Spring context.
  • Uncrossable cliff usually means very uncrossable. Please respect that and do not go too close to it.
  • Ground covered with little to no vegetation while still allowing near full speed running is mapped as 214 Bare rock.  Unlike in many other venues, bare rock in Frenchman Spring is not necessarily a smooth cliff face but may instead resemble a pile of rocks.  For instance, in the photo below, the foreground is mapped as “bare rock.”

  • Rocky ground may be similar to bare rock, just less smooth and making running slower.  Below is a few meters high hillside, mapped as 210 Stony ground, slow running

  • As basalt breaks into fragments of widely different sizes over time, so most of the boulders are in some sense just piles of rocks.  This is a 1-meter-high rocky thing, mapped as 204 Boulder

  • Similar objects that look less rocky may be mapped as knolls.  The one in the following photo is 109 Small knoll

 

Read more on the map page

Navigational Challenge: 7/10

Physical Challenge: 7/10

SAFETY & ETIQUETTE

Return to the Finish
All participants MUST return to the finish and download their e-punch or turn in their punch card.

Even if you have not finished your course, you must still return to the the finish and confirm with event staff that you have returned safely.

Out of Bounds
Some areas may be marked out of bounds. It is imperative to respect these boundaries to maintain our relationships with land managers. Participants MUST NOT go out of bounds. Any participant caught going out of bounds will be disqualified.

Course Closure
All participants MUST return to the finish by course closure time. If a participant does not return by course closure, event volunteers will begin coordinating a search party.

If you need a long time on the course, start as early in the start window as possible, wear a watch, and be prepared to cut your course short to make it back by the course closure time.

Whistle
All participants MUST carry a whistle on the course. Complimentary whistles are available at the start tent (please only take one).

If you are injured on the course and need assistance, blow three long blasts to call for help.

If you hear a call for help, abandon your course to find the person in distress.

Voices
Part of the fun and fairness of orienteering is navigating your own course, so please be polite when you find a checkpoint and don’t holler that you’ve found it.