What is orienteering?
When are meets?
How much does it cost?
What courses are offered?
What do I need to bring?
What are the different types of events?
Orienteering is a sport that involves using a detailed orienteering style topographical map to navigate one's way around a course with designated control points which are drawn on the map. On the course, distinctive orange and white control markers are set in the places that correspond to the points on the map. The competitors punch control cards at each control point using a special pin punch to prove they have visited that point.Many people consider orienteering as a competitive sport and they run through the course in the least amount of time possible. Others, however, see it as a challenging recreational activity and are not worried how long it takes them to complete their course. Families, groups of friends, scout troups, and school groups often participate. Athletes enjoy the competition. Young children enjoy the search for the controls. Many people just enjoy the walk in the woods looking for controls. Participants range in age from young children to senior citizens. (back to top)
Meets are usually held on Saturdays, rain or shine. Registration will normally start between 9AM and 11AM. Beginner's clinic will usually take place before/during registration. Starting times usually last for 1 hour and 45 minutes--normally from 10AM to 11:45PM. If different from this, there will be more information provided on the Event Calendar page. All participants need to check in at the finish when leaving the course. This is the only way we know you are off of the course safely. Meet directors are responsible for setting times at their events. (back to top)
ALTOS is a non-profit organization that is run by volunteers. The fees are used to cover the costs of making and printing maps, insurance, and other meet related expenses. Meet fees for pre-registration are $6 for club members, $8 for non-member. Fees for late registration are $8 for club members, $10 for non-members.Annual club membership dues are $10 for individuals, $15 for families and $5 for juniors (high school and below). (back to top)
What courses are offered?Orienteering has seven standard courses. At local recreational meets, you can choose any course based on your skill level and physical ability. Beginner courses are mainly on or near trails or other linear features, such as roads or fence lines. The control points are located on large distinct features. Advanced courses are cross country and control points are located on small point features. All advanced courses are similiar in navigation level, but they differ in overall course distance. Course descriptions are listed below.White Beginner Trails 2-3 kmYellow - Advanced Beginner Mostly Trails - 3-5 kmOrange - Intermediate Off Trail - 4.5-7 kmBrown - Advanced Cross Country - 3-5 kmGreen - Advanced Cross Country - 4.5-7 kmRed - Advanced Cross Country - 6-10 kmBlue - Advanced Cross Country - 8-14 km(back to top)
The great thing about orienteering is that you don't need a lot of equipment to participate. You'll definitely want to bring along a compass. As for clothing, there is no right or wrong way to dress for orienteering. The most important thing is to wear clothing and footwear that you will be comfortable in while hiking and/or running off-road. Long pants are advised for courses that get away from the trails. Some courses have water available at designated control points, but you might want to carry your own depending on the weather and how much water you usually need. (back to top)
There are two main types of events ALTOS hosts. O Meets and Score O's.
The O meet is a basic cross-country or point-to-point event. In this event, participants complete the course in a specified order. Start times are staggered to discourage following. Several courses for different skill levels are set up at these events. The competitor with the fastest time wins.
The score O is another event. This event has many points set on the course with different point values depending on their difficulty. There is no set course or pre-defined route for this event. Instead, participants usually have a mass start and have a time limit to get as many points as they can. Points are deducted as a penalty for those not back on time. The competitor with the most points wins this event. In the event of a tie, the person with the fastest time wins. (back to top)