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

 Event #3/8 in the Ultimate Orienteer Series!

Join us as we kick off the eastern Washington segment of the 2020 Ultimate Orienteer Series for 2 days of Classic-distance events in the Quincy Lakes area.

We’ll have 2-day total-time results as well as single-day results. Ultimate Orienteer points will be calculated on single-day results.


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 conditions.


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. Frenchman Coulee area
  3. Gingko Petrified Forest (interpretive center open by appointment only through March)
  4. Wineries – while there are several in the area, most are closed at this time of year; an exception is Cave B Winery and Resort
  5. The Gorge Amphitheatre (not much happening in March)
  6. Wild Horse Monument (a quick stop off eastbound I-90)


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



The start is approximately 1/2 mile’s walk from the parking area.


Course distances will be provided here once the courses are finalized. Below are estimated lengths.

Beginner – 1.9k
Intermediate – 3.1k
Short Advanced – 3.3k
Short Advanced Plus – 4.4k
Medium Advanced – 7.5k
Advanced – 10.5k

What is my age class?

Classic-O Course/Class Assignments for Ultimate points

If you want to earn Ultimate points, check the table below to see which category you should sign up for. Find your age class in the left column, then follow the row across to the right until you find the dark orange cell. That is your “assigned” category.

For example, if you’re a female 16 or under, your Ultimate age class is F-16 and, for this event, is assigned to the Intermediate course. If you are up for a more challenging course, you can also earn points in F-18 on the Short Advanced course, F-20 on the Short Advanced Plus course, or F-21+ on the Long Advanced course. Just keep in mind that other courses are more difficult, both navigationally and physically.  Also keep in mind that you’ll be earning points only in the class you sign up for.


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.


Check back later for special notes from the Course Designer(s). View courses from a past event on this map on Route Gadget here.


For sanitary reasons, we will NOT provide water on any courses. Please come prepared to carry your own water.

Tread lightly

Tread lightly on the land: if the ground is wet, avoid leaving footprints by staying on rocks where possible, not disturbing any rock features such as piles, stacks or cairns, avoiding cactus, and brushing off pants to remove plant seeds before leaving the course.

Sensitive Plant

Snowball cactus (Pediocactus nigrispinus) grows in this area. It’s been designated a sensitive species, so if you see any, please avoid stepping on or near it.



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

*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.

Why is there a start window?

This event uses an interval start, which means that participants are started in waves instead of all at once. When you arrive at the start tent, find the chute for your course and follow the start volunteer’s instructions.


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

$22 base price
– subtract $5 for Cascade OC members
– subtract $5 for using your own e-punch

$25 base price
– subtract $5 for Cascade OC members
– subtract $5 for using your own e-punch

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!


Online pre-registration closes:

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.



Discover Pass Required

You will need a Discover Pass to park. You can purchase a Discover Pass (annual or one-day) online or in person at many hunting/fishing license vendors or at several retail locations. Check the Discover Pass website for details.

Park at Evergreen Reservoir West


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


The Quincy Lakes map is owned and maintained by Peteris Ledins, who has generously allowed us to use it for some of our events.

  • ISOM 2000 symbols are used. This map was first created in 2013, but has been updated significantly for 2020. A previous version of the map can be seen here:
  • Vegetation: hard to cross and very hard to cross undergrowth with vertical stripes usually denotes sage bush or other smaller desert vegetation. The exception is near water where water-thirsty plants create hard to cross vegetation.
  • Green fores describes higher vegetation, including some trees.
  • There are several more distinct trees mapped with the green circle symbol; smaller but distinct bushes are mapped with a green dot.
  • There are plenty of cliff faces; please don’t try to cross uncrossable cliffs.
  • Ground cover is rocky, be careful with running. More rocky outcrops are marked as rocky ground symbol.
  • Rocky ground/bare rock/knoll/rock/cliff – these all can describe rocky features.
    • Rock – if the consistency is more uniform.
    • Knoll – if it is composed of something that resembles a pile of rocks.
    • Small outcrops of rocky ground – very small knolls when the elevation change is insignificant (<1m) yet noticable.
    • Cliffs on contour line means that there is significant height and uniform appearance. However, if the cliff is small, but noticeable, or not very uniform, we have used rocky ground symbol cover on contour line.
    • Bare rock has been used on uniform rocky features.
    • Sometimes you can see rocky “walls” – linear but natural features – when they are uniform, bare rock is used, when less so – rocky ground in the shape of the feature.
Read more on the map page

Navigational Challenge: 8/10

Physical Challenge: 8/10


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.

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.