Sunday, March 25, 2001

Contact: Gary Carpenter, 925-862-2978

Welcome to 2001: A Sunol Odyssey. Registration opens at 9:00 am, with start times from 10:00 am to 12:30 PM. We will have electronic punching on Orange and all advanced courses.

If you have never tried orienteering before, we recommend that you try a White course first (you'll probably have time for a Yellow course afterward). There will be informal beginner's clinics at 9:30 and 10:30 near registration.

Sunol Park has a variety of wildlife. This year the coursesetters have seen lots deer and turkeys but no bobcats or rattlesnakes. Coyotes were seen in early January. There are lots of wildflowers blooming and the hills are very green. Bird watching is usually very good at Sunol in the spring.

Course Statistics

Course    Length    Climb    Navigation       Physicality

Blue      8.7k      300m     Advanced         Very hard 
Red       7.0k      225m     Advanced         Pretty hard
Green     5.3k      180m     Advanced         Hard
Brown     3.7k      145m     Advanced         Moderate 
Orange    3.5k      120m     Intermediate +   Moderate
Yellow    3.2k      135m     Beginner +       More climb than usual 
White     2.5k       75m     Easy             Easy, but some hills
The advanced courses are relatively flat by Sunol standards, and we're expecting some pretty fast times. The intermediate course is "Dark Orange" (more brown than yellow). It will be physically easier than the past few years, but a tad more technically challenging. We would not recommend moving up to Orange from Yellow at this event. But if you are a solid Orange competitor or have done Sunol Orange before, you will have a lot of fun.

Remote Start

There is a remote start for the intermediate and advanced courses (Orange through Blue). A shuttle will pick up the competitors near the parking circle at the south end of the Sunol parking lot near registration. There will be SHUTTLE signs in the 2 or 3 vehicles being used. There will be some water at the remote start assembly area. There are no toilet facilities at the remote start area. You can leave warm-ups at the start and we will arrange to transport them back to the finish area. The last start will be at 12:30, so please allow enough time to ride the shuttle to the start and still complete your course by 2:00 pm.

The parking lot was full last weekend and overflow parking was opened. Please carpool and allow plenty of time to register and catch the shuttle to the remote start. Plan on a 10 to 15 minute shuttle ride to the start. The start will be close to the shuttle hiking required!!

Map and Terrain

For this event, we are using our 1991 five-color 1:15000 map by George Kirkov. This map is not yet in OCAD, so map copy at the start will be necessary.

There are some map corrections for ALL courses, so please check the map correction board at the registration area. Some of the map corrections may be used for control locations, and/or some of the map corrections may be irrelevant.

Also, the terrain at Sunol is STEEP. The map scale is 1:15000 with 7.5 meter contours. Two closely spaced 7.5 meter contours can mean an uncrossable reentrant. In most cases contouring around reentrants is advised. The ground is drier than in the last few years and cleats may be considered optional.

Standard disclaimer: The map is generally accurate, however there are many unmapped animal trails. Cattle trails in particular can be well-defined and confusing in areas of mapped trails. Be careful you don't mistake an unmapped trail for a mapped one. A few of the unmapped trails will show up in the map corrections. It is good practice and very common to contour along animal trails. There are also some unmapped dead/fallen trees (rootstocks), and 3 of these will show up on the map corrections.

Some of the vegetation has spread and thickened since it was mapped. Much of the "green" (even the very light green) is poison oak. The courses have been designed to avoid the worst of the poison oak, however you will still encounter some on the courses. Most is low to the ground or can be avoided. Full body covering and the use of Tecnu is recommended. In general, the mapped vegetation is very reliable.

There are some new manmade features that are unmapped on Orange through Blue. These are 6-8 ft diameter concrete basins with a metal top. You should ignore these, and they are not on the map corrections. Most of the manmade features indicated on the map are, and typically look, older than 10 years.

Control Markers and E-Punching

Most of the control markers for advanced courses will be on stands about knee high. The intermediate and advanced courses are using e-punch. If the e-punch unit doesn't light or beep when you insert your finger stick, it may be malfunctioning. Use the manual punch attached to the control and punch your map, then notify the person working the download station after you complete your course.

Be sure the number on your control matches the number on your clue sheet. Some of the numbers on adjacent courses may be close and there may be similar features that are precisely 100+ meters from each other on adjacent courses. If you "punch" the wrong e-punch with your finger stick, you may still punch the correct control in the correct order without a penalty.

Where the control feature is a point feature (boulder) on the intermediate and advanced courses, the control is typically placed on the side of the feature opposite to the expected direction of approach. For White and Yellow, the control is on the side of the expected direction of approach.


Every participant (or group) on every course must carry a whistle. Whistles will be available at registration for participants that don't have one. Whistles should only be used in an emergency. Blow three short blasts at 1 to 2 minute intervals to signal that you need help.

For Orange and advanced courses, the safety bearing is south until you hit major trails, water, or roads. Then follow these handrails back to the finish.

The courses close at 2:00 pm. Every participant must check in at the finish by 2:00 whether or not you finish your course. Please be sure to download your finger stick after punching at the finish line as that helps us gauge how many participants are still out on the course. If you do not check in by 2:00, we will assume you are lost or injured and a search party will be organized. If you think you may take a long time to finish a course, please start by 11:00 so you have the full 3 hours to finish.


Sunol Park has the usual wilderness hazards, which include poison oak, ticks carrying Lyme disease, rattlesnakes, and steep loose terrain.

There are several fence crossings on the intermediate and advanced courses. Some of the fences have been repaired recently and are more difficult to duck under than in the past. Choose your crossing point carefully and be careful of the barbed wire. Also some of the ruined fences have really deteriorated in the last 10 years. All that may be left is a strand of barbed wire, so watch out for these in the general area of the fences. Gaiters are recommended.

There will be a First Aid kit at the registration area.


Sunol Park conducts trail rides close to our finish area. The route to the final control may cross paths with a group of horseback riders. Please give them a wide berth and note that the equestrians, as always, have the right-of-way. Try not to spook the horses.


Bring your lunch and discuss your route choices with your fellow competitors afterward. The registration area has picnic tables and shade as well as sunshine. There have been a lot of hikers and horseback riders in the last few weeks and we encourage car-pooling and arriving early. We look forward to seeing you there.


To get to the park, take I-680 to the Calaveras Road exit near Sunol. Go south on Calaveras Road about six miles to Geary Road. Turn left onto Geary an continue for a couple of miles to the park entrance. Pay the parking fee and follow the O' signs to the registration area.