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Sunol Regional Wilderness

Date: (Sun.) Apr. 19, 2009
Location: Sunol, CA
Event Director: - 925.462.2254
Course Setters: Theo Verhoeven, Luc Poppe
Type: B; Standard 7-course event

Important Note About Water

The water table at Sunol has sunk below the level where it can be tapped. All the wells, fountains, and faucets at the park are bone dry. We plan to have two 5-gallon jugs of water at the Registration area on Sunday, for people who have just finished running their courses. And, of course, there will be water on the courses themselves.

But ... please bring your own water or other drinkables for general use. The forecast calls for 80+ degree temperatures on Sunday.

Fortunately, there is a functioning restroom at Sunol, right next to the Registration area.

Course Setters' Notes

By Theo Verhoeven and Luc Poppe

Welcome to the 2009 event at Sunol! The standard 7 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.

Course Statistics

                                         Technical      Physical
  Course    Length    Climb   Controls   Difficulty     Difficulty
  White     2.0 km     70 m      10      Novice         Easy
  Yellow    2.8 km    120 m      12      Beginner       Easy
  Orange    4.0 km    235 m      15      Intermediate   Moderate
  Brown     3.8 km    195 m      15      Advanced       Moderate
  Green     5.4 km    270 m      16      Advanced       Hard
  Red       6.5 km    340 m      16      Advanced       Very Hard
  Blue      7.1 km    420 m      19      Advanced       Very Hard

The White course is all on trails, and could be negotiated with a rugged stroller. The Yellow course is never very far from a trail, but you will typically need to leave the trails to find controls, and some short cross-country routes will be optimal.

This is one of our steepest parks. The Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses all encounter some significant climb. The Brown through Blue courses should be tackled only by those with appropriate orienteering experience.

Starts & Finish

The White and Yellow courses will start near the registration area.

All the other courses (Orange to Blue) will have a remote self-start (350-m, 5-minute walk from the registration area). Follow the signs and pink streamers across the foot bridge and then left on the trail.

All the courses have the same Finish, about 500 m from the registration area along the main park road.


The map is 1:10,000 scale with 7.5-m contours. We have updated some sections of the map near the controls, but the map is showing its age. In particular, note the following:

Mark talked with the rangers about the sensitive areas. Your maps will introduce you to Jacob's Meadow, a newly out-of-bounds area. I believe this includes the official environmental restoration area.


Forest is sparse. Much of the running will be in the open. The weather can be hot. Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue will have at least one water stop. There is no water available on the White and Yellow courses. Please be courteous to fellow competitors, and do not waste water or use it to refill bottles.

Sunol Park has the usual wilderness hazards, which include poison oak, ticks carrying Lyme disease, and steep loose terrain. We have designed the courses to avoid the most heavily infested poison oak areas, but you may encounter it on any advanced course. Wear full-body cover and take suitable precautions.

The park has some very steep reentrants. The courses are designed to avoid the steepest parts. Cleats or spiked shoes are strongly recommended for all the advanced courses.

BROWN COURSE RUNNERS: Control #5 is in a fairly deep-walled streambed. Please be careful. If you walk about 10 meters upstream after visiting this control, you'll find a spot where it is fairly easy to walk up the opposite side of the streambed toward your next control.

Competitors on the Orange through Blue courses will have to cross one or more fences. We have attached streamers at some recommended fence crossings. Those suggested (not mandatory) crossings are also indicated on your map.

Naturally, we did not indicate suggested fence crossings for all the fences that you may encounter. Some of the older ones have plenty of opportunities to cross fast. We only added some for the newer fences, where there seemed to be a good alternative to just rolling under the lowest wire (although that might still be a slightly more direct route). And, no, this won't be a fence hurdling competition. :-) Each course will have only 1 to 4 fences to cross.

Sunol Park has a variety of wildlife, including turkey, bobcat, deer, rattlesnake, and mountain lion. There is also a very sizable cattle herd. The cows generally will move out of the way if you make some noise, but it is best to avoid the cattle if possible. In particular, do not get between a cow and her calf.

Sunol Park conducts trail rides near the end of all the courses. Please note that the equestrians have the right-of-way, as always. 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 who don't have one. Whistles should be used only in an emergency (that is, not as a toy). 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.