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Sunol Regional Wilderness

Date: (Sun.) Apr. 13, 2008
Location: Sunol, CA
Event Director: - 510.862.5481
Course Setters: Rex Winterbottom, Gary Carpenter
Type: B; Standard 7-course "B" event and BAOC Annual General Meeting

Course Setters' Notes

By Gary Carpenter and Rex Winterbottom

Welcome to Sunol Regional Wilderness! The "standard 7" point-to-point courses are offered today: White, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue. If you've never tried orienteering before, we recommend that you try the White course first. If you like it, you may have time for the Yellow course too. There will be informal clinics for beginners between 9:30 and 10:30 AM near the registration area.

Course Statistics

                                         Technical      Physical
  Course    Length    Climb   Controls   Difficulty     Difficulty
  White     2.7 km    120 m      12      Novice         Easy
  Yellow    2.4 km    110 m      11      Beginner       Easy
  Orange    3.1 km    200 m      12      Intermediate   Moderate
  Brown     2.8 km    180 m      11      Advanced       Moderate
  Green     4.2 km    325 m      10      Advanced       Moderate–Hard
  Red       5.2 km    345 m      17      Advanced       Hard
  Blue      6.5 km    395 m      19      Advanced       Very Hard

All course maps are pre-printed from OCAD. Most maps are scaled at 1:10,000. Electronic punching (e-punch) will be used on all the courses.

Start Areas

The White and Yellow courses will start near registration. All the other courses have a remote start.

Remote Start (Orange, Brown, Green, Red and Blue): The Start area for these courses is located about 2.0 km from the registration area. Plan for a 25-minute walk. Follow the signs and pink streamers across the bridge and then right on the trail. Continue to follow streamers to the Start area. There will be water at the Start area. There are no toilet facilities near the Start area. You can leave warm-ups at the Start area, and we will arrange to transport them back to the registration/e-punch download area. However, the timeliness of their return will depend on the availability of volunteers for this task.


Go control and Finish—Use the fence gate—Don't jump the fence. All courses have the same Finish, not far from registration. Don't cross the fence on the way to the "GO control", the last control shared by each course. This fence will be streamered to remind you not to cross. There is a mapped gate where a trail crosses the fence. You must use that gate.


This is one of our steepest parks, and the map boasts a contour interval of 7.5 meters. Forest is sparse. You will visit patches of it. Much of the running will be open and rough open. There are some areas of undergrowth you will encounter, but not too much. Poison oak is especially abundant and leafy in certain places on Green, Red, and Blue, but you may encounter it on any course. The footing is firm—the ground has dried up. Be careful with those ankles. Cleats or spiked shoes are necessary on the Orange and advanced courses.


The area we use is pretty accurate in the open. The area visited by Green, Red, and Blue with lots of undergrowth and thick vegetation is roughly mapped—we made a few obvious modifications.

Some map items of note:

“The Leg”

Each advanced course has a leg with some caveats.

Green, Red, and Blue share one leg with three route choices:

  1. Straight, picking your way through thick undergrowth (not too much poison oak)
  2. Left, finding a trail (poison oak if you contour in, but not if you go more around and over the top down to the control)
  3. Right, finding a trail.

Fine navigation can be difficult on some parts of this leg, depending on your approach to it. Otherwise the courses are quite fast and not hairy, but I threw this in to give variety.

Brown has a leg also meriting some careful planning. Midway through the course, you cross a deep reentrant. The lower you cross, the deeper the reentrant is, and poison oak is more prevalent. Higher up the reentrant, there are some nice cow paths that cross it.

Control Markers

Most of the control markers for the advanced courses will be on stands about knee high. Where the control is a point feature (such as a boulder), the control bag is typically placed on the side of the feature opposite the expected direction of approach.


Sunol Park has the usual wilderness hazards, which include poison oak, ticks carrying Lyme disease, rattlesnakes, and steep loose terrain. There are not many fence crossings, but be careful and don't wreck the fence. There is some unmapped barbed wire toward the end of Brown, Red, and Blue that one of the vetters (Mikkel) put pink streamer tape on to show you—just a small patch of it. There will be a First Aid Kit at the registration area.

Cattle and Wildlife

Sunol Park has a variety of wildlife, including turkey, bobcat, deer, rattlesnakes, and mountain lion. The wild pigs have been thinned out significantly by the Park District, and the course setter has not encountered any in the last two years.

COWS!! Unlike the herd visited in the prior years, the ones you will see on Sunday are more skittish and tend to run away from you. Still, be wary. There are calves and mothers.


Sunol Park conducts trail rides near the beginning of the White and Yellow courses. Please note that the equestrians, as always, have the right-of-way. If you are near equestrians, please walk to avoid spooking the horses.


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 be used only in an emergency. Blow three short blasts at 1- to 2-minute intervals to signal that you need help.

The safety bearing is south to Alameda creek, which runs through the park near the registration area.

The courses close at 2:00 PM. Every participant must check in at the E-punch download tent by 2:00 PM whether or not you finish your course. If you do not check in by 2:00 PM 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 before 11:00 AM so you'll have the full 3 hours to finish. Also, remember that the Annual General Meeting starts at 1:30.

Gary Carpenter and Rex Winterbottom
Course Setters