Begun in 2000, the Ultimate Orienteer series offers different types of orienteering in a variety of terrain types. From night navigation to score courses to long-distance courses; from the thick wet forests of Western Washington to the open forests and scablands of Eastern Washington, there’s a lot to choose from!

For those who love competition, your best results (the number depends on how many total events there are) count towards your series score. If you’re not interested in the competition element, that’s okay too! Ultimate Orienteer events are open to everyone. All events will include Intermediate (and usually Beginner) courses in addition to Advanced courses.

How do I sign up?

Participating in the series is easy: just register for the event in the appropriate category, and you will automatically be eligible for Ultimate Orienteer points.

Classes, courses, and Ultimate Orienteer points

  • Course – a set of controls of varying lengths and physical/navigational difficulty
  • Class – a competitive category based on age and sex; a class is assigned to a specific course

All courses are open to anyone. However, if you want to earn Ultimate Orienteer points, you must sign up for a course that includes a class that you qualify for based on your age and sex. Each Ultimate class is assigned to a specific course at each event. This will vary with the event based on the courses available and the navigational and physical difficulty of each.

Age Classes

Check below to see which age class you qualify for in 2023. Age classes are based on year of birth, not actual birth date. For example, if you turn 19 at any time during 2023, you don’t qualify for the 18 and Under class for any Ultimate event during 2023.

  • Year of birth: 2008 or later – 16 and Under (Open/Female)
  • Year of birth: 2006 or later – 18 and Under (Open/Female)
  • Year of birth: 2004 or later – 20 and Under (Open/Female)
  • Year of birth: 1974 or earlier – 50+ (Open/Female)
  • Year of birth: 1954 or earlier – 70+ (Open/Female)
  • Year of birth: any – 21 (Open/Female)

Some events will include shorter/easier courses for some younger and older classes.

Juniors may compete in any older age class they qualify for. For example, if you are under 16, you may compete in Under 18, Under 20, or Open classes. You will receive points only in the class in which you participate.

Masters may compete in any younger class they qualify for. For example, if you are over 70, you may compete in 50+ or Open classes. You will receive points only in the class in which you participate.


At each event, every age class will be assigned to a course based on the physical and navigational difficulty appropriate for that age class. Please check individual event pages for details.


For each event and category:

The winner receives 1000 points and everyone else receives points based on their percent behind the winner’s time. For example, if the winner has a time of 25 minutes and your time is 50 minutes, you will receive 500 points.

Because a score-o is a points-based version of orienteering, the highest number of points is converted to 1000, and your score-o points are scaled to that number. For example, if the highest number of score-o points earned was 500 points and you earned 250 points, you would receive 500 Ultimate Orienteer points (50% of 1000).

However, if more than one person in a category earns the maximum score-o points (“sweeps the course”), then Ultimate points are based on the time difference. Scores for those who did not sweep are scaled against the number of points the slowest “sweeper” received.

For example:

Orienteer #1   –   1000 pts   –   60 min   –   1000 Ultimate Pts (NA)
Orienteer #2   –   1000 pts   –   70 min   –   857 Ultimate Pts (60min/70min * 1000)
Orienteer #3   –   1000 pts   –   80 min   –   750 Ultimate Pts (60min/80min * 1000)
Orienteer #4   –   900 pts   –   n/a   –   675 Ultimate Pts (750pts * 0.9)

Best scores for 2024

For 2024, your best 5 individual scores will be added to yield your final season score. This number may be adjusted if any events are cancelled.


In order to win an Ultimate award, you must participate (in the same class) in the maximum number of events counted for scoring. This will change depending on the total number of Ultimate events in a season but will always be at least half the total number of events.

Types of events

Each season, we include as many different types of orienteering as we can. Possible events types are:

Middle Distance
A technically challenging point-to-point course with a winning time of 30-40 minutes for elite categories, with shorter winning times for other categories.

Long Distance
A point-to-point course offering route choice and long legs, with a winning time of 80-100 minutes for elite open and 70-90 minutes for elite female, with shorter winning times for other categories.

Classic Distance
Similar to a Long Distance course but shorter; Classic Distance courses are typically designed for 2-day total-time events.

Ultra Long Distance
A course with characteristics similar to that of a Long course, but with a maximum winning time of 145 minutes for elite open and 100 minutes for elite female, with shorter winning times for other categories.

On a freestyle course, you must go to all controls on your course but you choose the order.

An event with a mass start, each control on a Score-O course is worth a specified number of points. Generally, the more difficult controls (because of their navigational difficulty or distance) are worth more points than easier controls. Competitors collect as many points as possible within a specified time limit. Point penalties (for example, 10 pts/minute) are assessed for those returning after the time limit.

Night-O, not surprisingly, is an event held in the dark. Control locations which seem easy during the day can become difficult by the light of a headlamp or flashlight.

A Goat event is a special variation of an Ultralong in which you must visit controls in order, but are allowed to skip one or more (quantity designated by the organizers, but you choose which one(s) to skip). Other course variations may also be allowed. Goats are mass-start events and generally have a 3-hour time limit. Fun and following are encouraged, but not required. For more information about goat events, visit the “official” goat site, www.billygoat.org.

A team event. There are many types of relays, but basically teams of 2-5 people consecutively run individual courses, with the total team time determining the relay winner. For any relay used in the Ultimate O’ Series, all team members will run the same or equivalent leg(s) and each individual’s score will be based on their individual time.

Individual Relay
In this format, you’re teaming up with yourself! There are usually several different “loops,” which each individual runs but not necessarily in the same order. An individual relay can also be called a “Farsta” (forking legs) or a “Motala” (no forking).