We’re opening the 2017 Ultimate Orienteer Series with a collaboration between Forest Runs and Cascade for a 2-day event in eastern Washington. We’ll be using Forest Runs’ excellent map of Frenchman Coulee near Vantage, WA for Middle (Saturday) and Long (Sunday) events.
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.
See Visit Vantage for information about camping and lodging near Vantage (approximately 11 miles southwest). Vantage is very small and has few facilities.
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.
Saturday Dinner Gathering
We will likely arrange to use the group room at Westside Pizza in Quincy (610 F St. SE) for Saturday night dinner. We’ll provide more details as soon as we get them.
Other Things to Do
The map terrain and surrounding areas are unique and beautiful. Below are some other things to explore nearby.
The first version of the Frenchman Coulee map was made in 2014 for a Homebrew Orienteering unofficial event. The courses and map from that event can be viewed here.
Since then, the map has been extended southwesterly (the “not really field-checked” note has been removed :)) and improved a lot.
Fieldwork is still in progress. Ott Toomet, Gabriel Svobodny, Don Atkinson, and Peteris Ledins have all done fieldwork for the latest version. Standard orienteering map symbols are used; there is no legend on the map but we have map symbol sheets available at registration. You can save time by familiarizing yourself with them in advance.
Special Use of Map Symbols
Rocky ground – used for small rock or smaller cliff configurations without uniformity
Knoll – used where the configuration is more uniform and hill-like, but there is no cliff face
Rock – used when there seems to be a uniform piece of cliff that may be partly under the surface
The distinction between these rock and knoll symbols is interpreted by the mapper
Cliff – all four cliff face symbols are used
Bare rock – used where the cliffs are runnable and uniform on top
The terrain is open semi-desert with large coulee/rock/cliff features (lots of climbing activity near by). We expect 6 min/km for the fastest runners. What little vegetation there is is dominated by sage brush, but much of that is gone – a wildfire swept through a year or 2 ago. There are some larger trees that are now charred.
The most prevalent symbol on the map – rough open land. Land cover is very rugged – small stones, cliffs, big stones, boulders. Very tiring for the feet and knees.
The footing is tricky, there are many high cliffs (the uncrossable cliff symbol is used for dangerous locations where you must not go).
Pits – in lower places which are a bit wetter throughout the year, but not enough to form a pond, meadows can be found. Some parts of the map have been used for livestock and people seem to have tried to get water in some organized shape. Several pits and rocky pits can be found there. Rocky pits can be fallen into. Please don’t do that.
Footing – cliffs with sand are slippery, stones roll, ankles too. Please be careful.
Rolling stones – if you knock loose a rock, shout loudly: “ROCK! ROCK!” But please don’t do that.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Don't have a compass? That's okay, you can borrow a baseplate compass for free at Cascade events, or even participate without one. If you're ready to invest in your own, then be sure to get a thumb compass from our local vendor, Wildwood Adventure Outfitters.