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BAOC COOL/BAWS #8 (Open to All)

Tilden Regional Park

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 4, 2012
Location: Berkeley, CA
Event Directors: , - 925.934.6567
Course Setter: Joseph Doetsch
Type: B; Meet #8 and season championships — Regular event for everyone

Course Setter's Notes



The standard seven courses will be offered at this event. That is, there will be courses appropriate for everyone, from the youngest beginner (around age 8 and above), through endurance athletes, to professional orienteers.

The beginner and intermediate courses — White, Yellow, and Orange — will also be used for the youth courses as part of the COOL series, and will correspond roughly to their Course 1, Course 2, and Course 3, respectively.

Tilden is a very steep park, making all the courses physically challenging, especially Green, Red, and Blue. The course lengths are stated "as the bird flies", and compares to twice (up to 3 times for the advanced courses) the actual distance. Tilden has surprisingly varied vegetation for being in the Bay Area, adding an extra dimension to the route choices, as well as making it possible for some short technical legs on the advanced courses.

                                         Physical     Navigation
    Course    Length    Climb  Controls  Difficulty   Difficulty  
    White     1.4 km     60 m     12     Low          Very Easy
    Yellow    2.4 km    120 m     13     Low          Easy      
    Orange    2.9 km    135 m     12     Medium       Medium    
    Brown     3.0 km    125 m     11     Medium       Advanced  
    Green     4.2 km    240 m     17     High         Advanced  
    Red       5.6 km    360 m     18     Very High    Advanced  
    Blue      7.1 km    490 m     21     Very High    Advanced  

Both Start and Finish will be at the registration area. E-punch (SPORTident) will be used. Rental E-sticks will be available at registration.

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White and Yellow Courses

There is an extensive trail network close to the assembly area that the White and Yellow courses will take advantage of. Most of the mapped trails are well traveled and easy to see. Due to the steepness and roughness of the park, some of the trails to be used are not suitable for strollers, but anyone who can hike on trails can do the White and Yellow courses.

Due to the many trails in some areas, there are many controls close by — be extra careful when checking that you are at the right one, as well as making sure you are heading off along the correct trail afterward. The Yellow course will also go around the parking area for Lake Anza. There are hardly any cars here in the winter, but always exercise extra caution when close to traffic. An "out-of-bounds area", an area forbidden to enter, is printed with red vertical lines on the map.

Orange through Blue Courses

There is no Long Orange course offered at this event, but we think the endurance athletes who normally like this course should be able to do Brown after they have finished Orange. Brown is more navigational challenging, but it uses the same general area as Orange so the familiarity should make it more comforting when taking a step up to an advanced course. Brown is set with minimizing the physicality as first priority. Green through Blue are set with navigational challenge as first priority, but there is no unnecessary climb. As the Green, Red, and Blue courses are very physical, we don't recommend that you move up one course at this event, unless you are really up for a challenge.


As mentioned, Tilden has a lot of trails, is very steep, and has very varied vegetation. Apart from the extensive areas of dark green and dense undergrowth, the rest is normally very runnable. Even in dark green it can sometimes be possible to find a decent way through if one is lucky, but we think it is very rarely worth trying. Personally, we always try to avoid these two vegetation types here at any cost. Many animal tracks and indistinct unmarked "trails" are present that can be beneficiary when found. Most curvature features are very big (hillsides, long reentrants, etc.). Tilden has many black features (boulders and cliffs), as well as small vegetation features, suitable for control locations.


Tilden was mapped in 2006 by the excellent mapper Vladimir Zherdev. The scale is 1:10000 and the contour interval is 5 m. The thin black lines point to magnetic north, and it is 300 m between them. Most of the map is still surprisingly good, but some of the vegetation has started to change. Also, some of the indistinct trails are about to disappear (and some new ones are under way).

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Orange and the advanced courses cross the narrow, winding, and heavily trafficked Wildcat Canyon road twice, so be very careful when crossing!

Tilden is used as a recreational park for many people living in Berkeley and the Bay Area, so you will most likely see many non-orienteers when you are on your course — be nice!

There is a fair amount of poison oak in Tilden. It will still be winter, so the leaves are not completely out, making it harder to spot, but it is also not as strong. Be extra cautious if you are sensitive, and bring Tecnu just in case.

There are a lot of ticks at this time of year in Tilden, so do a careful body search after the event before or after showering. The tick that carries Lyme disease is indigenous to Tilden, so look carefully, as this tick is very small, about the size of a pin head. Also, if you notice a target-shaped rash in the following two weeks, be sure to consult a physician, as this may be the first manifestation of Lyme disease (which can be treated successfully if addressed promptly).

The hillsides in Tilden Park can be steep and slippery, and with the mid-week rain we've had, you'll want to be sure to wear shoes with cleats or good traction.

There are horseback riding trails in the park — remember that you must give horses right-of-way.


Controls with water are available on the Orange (1), Brown (2), Green (2), Red (3), and Blue (3) courses.

Course Setter

Joseph Doetsch, with very good feedback and input from Jonas Kjäll.