Joe Grant

San Jose
Sunday, March 10, 2002

Contact: Jeff Lanam, 408-259-2756

This will be our first B meet of the year, so come and stretch your legs on Joe Grant's rolling hills, located on the slopes of Mt. Hamilton. It's the largest park in Santa Clara county. We should be greeted by the early wildflowers as well as the wild pigs, but the star thistle and poison oak will not have their full glory until later in the season. The event will be held rain or shine. Please be prepared for variable weather, as the conditions on Mt. Hamilton can be quite different from the valley floor.

Registration and beginners' clinics will be held at the San Felipe picnic area, on your right after you enter the park. The usual times and fees apply. We still need volunteers to help.

Vladimir Gusiatnikov has again set the courses; below are his course notes. Note that the start is a 15-minute moderate-pace walk from the assembly area. The finish is a 5-minute walk from the main area.


Take the Alum Rock Road exit off I-680 in San Jose, and head for the hills (east). This exit is about one mile northeast of the 280/680/101 interchange. Continue on Alum Rock Road for about 2 miles, and turn right onto Mt. Hamilton Road. Go for about 9 miles. The park entrance will be on your right. Park admission is $4 per vehicle.

Course Setter's Notes

There is a mandatory stream-crossing point on all courses except White and Yellow. This point is marked on your maps; there is no marking in the terrain. The park ranger has asked us to stay out of the stream, so once you have crossed at the mandatory point, please do not cross back elsewhere.

The "X" on control 32 on Brown and Orange is a thin metal pipe that sticks out of the ground.

Course      Length      Climb   Controls     USOF 100-pt       BAOC expected
                                             expected time     winning time

Blue        9.88 km     570 m      13             73 min           79 min
Red         7.55        370        11             60               70
Green       6.40        345        10             55               64
Brown       4.78        250         9             50               52
Orange      4.15        225         8             35               50
Yellow      3.50         90         8             30               30
White       2.40         60         8             25               30
I have managed to get the climb on all courses below 6%, and it is in the low 5's for Orange through Red. More than half of all courses go through open land. The per-km times will be significantly faster than those at our event in November (unless you'd like to take over the map revision project, that is). Successful route choice emphasizes level running and gradual climbs over head-on huffing and puffing. Below are the course statistics. The predicted BAOC winning times have been slightly adjusted relative to the information I provided in advance, but the theoretical USOF 100-pt runner times have not, except on Blue.

The courses have been planned to provide ample opportunities for route choice. Blue, Red, and Green go into areas of the park that have not been widely used before. In addition to the adventure of seeing new terrain (and maybe catching a view of the valley below if you get somewhat off course), this also means that the areas have not been subjected to the intense scrutiny of orienteers.

It was not possible for me to do an extensive remapping of the new areas (several square kilometers). The map, as it is, is fairly consistent in those areas. It cannot, however, be relied on as an absolute truth, as is evident from the fact that the whole Joe Grant map only has two shades of green: the light ("slow run") and the dark ("difficult to walk"). White and "full" yellow colors on the map are quite reliable. Almost without exception, if you are in woods mapped as white (runnable), they will be runnable. There may be poison oak sticks here and there, and a few unmapped chaparral and PO bushes that should be mapped, but they won't affect the runnability. The yellow "open" is open and runnable. However, the yellow "rough open", more often than not, has vegetation in it that deserves some degree of respect. In a few places, I sprinkled the "undergrowth: slow running" symbol over the rough open to indicate that there are scattered, and sometimes continuous, bushes and thickets in the rough open. More often than not, these are below an average orienteer's height, so that the use of the vertical green line symbol is justified.

The mapping of the "greens" is far less reliable. Generally, the light grade (slow run) indicates woods with some undergrowth. Sometimes, the grade stands for clearings with ample nasty vegetation in them. The dark grade is reserved for PO and chaparral. As I said, there are unmapped contained areas of both in the white woods. Surprisingly often, the dark-grade thickets, especially ones out in the open, have large gaps and clearings in them. So if you are willing to gamble, you may be able to find a gap in the dark green. PG&E seems to have signed up as PO's archnemesis, and many thickets underneath the power lines have been eradicated for the time being; they may still show on the map.

This paragraph only applies to Blue and Green: About 0.4 km^2 of terrain on your courses has been corrected by me over the last three weekends. That's the good news. The bad news is that a good portion of that is fairly serious poison oak, and the leaves are out. The control sites are out of the PO, and it is possible to minimize the PO on the legs that go through the area. The minimum-oak route is not a time disadvantage. I did introduce all normal vegetation grades into the mapping of that area, so there are three grades of green and two grades of undergrowth mapped. It is very safe to assume that the greener it looks on the map, the more PO there is there. The thickets and undergrowth are not necessarily all PO, but there is a strong correlation. Use Tecnu and common sense. The total straight-line length of the legs that go through the area is less than 700 m. The Red, Brown, and non-advanced courses do not visit the area.