Choosing a Course at Winter Series



Have you been wanting to try orienteering, but are unsure of where to start? Join us for Winter Series, beginning on November 5th!



Winter Series is great for beginners because the early season visits easier park venues, while the late season ventures into more challenging forests after you’ve had a chance to build up your skills. Plus, there are several course difficulties to choose from: beginner, intermediate, short advanced, and long advanced. Here’s what you should know when choosing a course:

  • A beginner course stays on-trail, and is a good option for a family walking with young children.
  • An intermediate course will mostly stay on trail, with short excursions off-trail, allowing you to practice reading contours and vegetation boundaries. This course is appropriate for a family with older children, teens, and adults. If you are comfortable reading a hiking trail map; start with this course.
  • Both Short and Long Advanced courses are the same difficulty and require the ability to read more subtle map details, such as shallow (less prominent) contour features. Some routes may be completely off-trail, with no on-trail option. If you’ve completed an intermediate course and found it to be easy, then you’re ready to move up to an advanced course (*see “Going Advanced” below).



Are you wondering how long of an adventure you should be ready for? Think of it this way: you can move quickly on pavement, slower on trail, and even slower when off-trail. Then, add even more time for navigating. You can only move as fast as you can navigate! As a new orienteer, you’ll likely need to periodically stop and evaluate the map before continuing on. Or you might make an accidental yet scenic detour, and have some backtracking to do. So consider your trail pace, either hiking or running, then add 50-100% more time to complete an orienteering course.

Also, orienteering courses are measured as the crow flies, which is shorter than the distance that you’ll actually travel. A general rule of thumb is to round the kilometers of a course up to miles, so a 5-km course may actually take you 5 miles to complete.

Very generally, Winter Series courses last between 20 minutes as the fastest time on the beginner course and the maximum time of 150 minutes (2.5 hours) for long courses. Want a narrower estimate? Okay, a new adult may take about an hour to run or 2 hours to walk an intermediate course.



Before signing up for an advanced course, check out the event map description. The challenge of advanced courses is heavily affected by the event venue, which is why we’ve come up with a rating system. For instance, an advanced course at Magnuson Park, which is rated a navigational challenge of 3/10, will be easier than an advanced course at the trickier Fort Steilacoom (navigational challenge rated 5/10) or the more rugged Lord Hill Park (navigational challenge rated 8/10). There is also a physical challenge rating, which primarily relates to the steepness, footing, and vegetation.



Are you still feeling unsure about which course to choose, or want to bump up to a more challenging course? Bring a friend! Groups are welcome, and together you can tackle more challenging navigation.



Still not sure? That’s okay! Contact Rebecca, and she’ll help you pick a course.


See you at Lincoln Park on November 5th!



Annual Meeting!


Join us on Saturday, October 1st at 1:15pm, at the Phinney Community Center, for our annual club meeting!

It’s time to review our past year, celebrate some successes, discuss what would make the next year a blast, and then organize to make it happen. As a Cascade Orienteering Club member, you get a say in what we’re going to do.

If you have not attended the annual meeting before, consider it the annual club celebration. As in other years, it’s a good time to connect with others over free food, learn what’s going on in the club, and find a meaningful part in it moving forward.

This year in particular, we’re focused on connections and ideas, and we’ll be splitting into smaller groups to collect and discuss thoughts about how to top a very good year in many respects. This is our 39th year; what do we want to do before we’re 40?

All members should have received a survey from, to vote for COC Elected Representatives. The e-mail survey saves money on postcard mailing and allows us to splurge on pizza and salad for you instead!

Is located at 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 – Google Map


control in salal

Welcome to the new website!

This project began by interviewing users of this site from a variety of backgrounds, from newcomer orienteers to long-time veterans. The focus of these interviews was to drill down to what each person’s goals and frustrations were when visiting the current site at the time.

What became clear through these interviews is that it would be a challenge to both answer the many questions newcomers had, while simultaneously serving efficient information to veterans. However, hopefully this site does just that!



Are you visiting the site to register?
There’s a link in the upper right corner that will take you there.

Are you looking for the most recent results, including WinSplits or RouteGadget?
A direct link is posted on the homepage, just beneath the Events section.

Are you on the way to a meet and need to look up directions on your phone?
Tap the directions link in the Events table (either on the home page or Events page) and it’ll open directions in Google Maps for you.



You’ll notice that event pages are longer. Each event page now comes with information to explain some of the details about orienteering that veterans take for granted, such as: why there’s a start window, how courses are measured, and what the heck an e-punch is.

While new explanatory content was added, the content that mosts interests veterans (course notes, course lengths, and schedule) are near the top of the page for quick access.



There’s a lot more to discover on this site, including prominent Newcomers and Skills sections, an introduction to Permanent Courses, an interactive map of the club’s maps, and even a new 1 to 10 rating system for each venue. While there is still some content to fill in here and there, you’ll find that there’s already a lot to explore.

Surveys about your experience on the new site will be sent out in the future, but if you’d like to provide feedback early, or you spot a broken link, feel free to get in touch with me, Rebecca Jensen.



Don’t worry, the old pages are still accessible!

The 2009-2015 site is at:

The 2000-2009 site is at:



Thank you to all that helped in the process. A Very Special thanks to Bob Forgrave for helping make this vision a reality, and for his contributions to the map pages. Thank you to Eric Jones for troubleshooting with me and building some cool code to make the results posting process more streamlined. Thank you to Patrick Nuss for hammering out his Choose  Your Adventure event pages. Thank you to Patrick Nuss, Kate Byers, Julie Cassata, and Kate Byers for participating in photo shoots. Thank you to Peter Golde for fielding my questions and making the site live. Thank you to Gina Nuss for her feedback on results pages. And thanks to all those that I interviewed to get to this point.


Happy exploring!