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Tilden Park

Date: (Sun.) Jan. 13, 2008
Location: Berkeley, CA
Event Director:
Course Setter: Martin Kunz
Type: B; First "B" meet of the year

Course Setter's Notes


Setting an Orienteering course in Tilden park is a challenge, which I am not sure anymore it was a good idea to accept. It bears the risk to destroy the last bit of course setting reputation...

The challenges are due to the steep terrain, which is to a large extent overgrown by very thick and impenetrable, coherent areas of thickets of all botanical flavors. This is especially the case in the map's northern portions, which we decided to include in this years event; on one hand because—like Mt Everest—it’s there (and mapped), and on the other hand, because the more open parts in the south have been used by the excellent courses Evan set for BAOC's last Tilden event a year ago. And it turned out to be difficult to set a second set of courses in the same area, with the same Start/Finish area (given by the ranger), without either duplicating Evan's courses or creating courses with an unacceptable amount of climb. So much for my a priori excuses.

This year's courses are thus an attempt to make some use of the northern part, without forcing runners into impenetrable tickets or running too many steep slopes. The longer courses (Long Orange, Green, Red, Blue) will thus find the first half of the course in this rather rough terrain. The focus of these courses will clearly be route choice. I made a deliberate attempt to set legs, where the ideal route is not obvious, and yet the different routes are not equivalent, i.e., I expect that the correct route choice will have a significant influence on the ranking. In this part of the course it is worthwhile to bear in mind that route choice is an important and technically demanding part of orienteering. Ideally, route choices for any given leg are made in advance while running earlier legs. You may use this course to practice ahead-map-reading and decision making while running.

The second halves of the longer courses, as well as all the shorter courses, are set in the portion east of the Wildcat Canyon Road, in the area used last year. This is a predominant western slope, with boulders, Eucalyptus groves, and various kinds of smaller incoherent thickets. It makes nice off-trail running and fine-navigation involving fine contour detail, small patches of thickets, boulders, rocks and some trails.

Poison oak is not super frequent, but occurs mostly in the little drainage gullies and is hard to recognize in this season. I recommend a thorough Tecnu rub-down after your run.

The short courses have to cross the rather well used Wildcat Canyon Road between Tilden Botanical Garden and Inspiration Point before and after the race. Longer courses have to cross it during the race and after the race. Please be super careful when crossing the road. Any second spent there waiting for a car to pass can easily be made up with good route choice!

Here are the course statistics:

  Course       Distance   Climb  Controls
  White         1.4 km     55 m      7
  Yellow        2.0 km    100 m      8
  Orange        2.7 km    120 m      9
  Long Orange   4.9 km    280 m     13
  Brown         3.0 km    125 m      7
  Green         4.4 km    275 m     12
  Red           5.1 km    245 m     11
  Blue          6.5 km    360 m     15
[Editor's note: I have asked, and been told that the numbers for the Green and Red courses are correct.]