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Sunol Scramble

2013 Wilderness Scramble Series Event

Sunol Regional Wilderness

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 17, 2013
Location: Sunol, CA
Event Director: - 510.582.7030
Course Setter: Andrew Masalkov
Type: C; Teams of 1 to 5 find up to 33 checkpoints in up to 3 hours in this scenic Bay Area park

Please note that this event has non-standard fee and event schedules. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

Join us at Sunol for the first event in BAOC's 2013 Wilderness Scramble Series! Sunol is known for hawks, wildflowers, and steep hills. March is the perfect time to visit.

What is a Scramble?

It's simple: 30+ checkpoints are scattered over a custom-made, detailed trail map of Sunol. With your team of 1 to 5 people, find as many checkpoints as you can in 90 minutes or 3 hours. Learn more about the 2013 Wilderness Scramble Series here.

What's It Like?

Is the Sunol Scramble beginner friendly? The answer is "Yes!" However, be aware that it will be hilly, and you should be open to venturing off-trail. It is helpful to use contours to navigate, and our instruction clinic will cover the basics of topographic map navigation.

You might not need expert skills to participate in the Sunol Scramble, but three hours of trekking cross country through tall grass can be pretty physical. If that sounds like a lot, you might want to try the 90-minute option. If you have younger children, you might consider some gentler events on our Schedule.

Be sure to read the Course Setter's Notes below for more information.


This is a mass-start event, so be on time!

  8:45 AM: Registration/Check In
  9:15 AM: Map distribution and pre-race instructions
  9:25 AM: Instruction clinic for beginners
10:00 AM: Mass start
11:30 PM: Course closes, 90-minute category
12:00 PM: Award ceremony, 90-minute category
  1:00 PM: Course closes, 3-hour category
  1:30 PM: Award ceremony, 3-hour category

Teams & Awards

The Sunol Scramble is a team event, so invite your friends! Teams can include 1–5 people. Yes a "team" of one will count, but we recommend this only for experienced participants over 18. If you need help finding a team, feel free to utilize the BAOC (if you are a list member) and/or the Facebook page (, or contact Rex Winterbottom .

In addition to an award for the overall champions, there will be special recognition for various team compositions: all female, all male, and mixed. We will also recognize a masters class (all members over 45) and a family/junior class (teams with youth members 16 and under).


All teams must carry a whistle for emergency signaling. You can get one for free at Registration.

Bring a watch, so you will know how much time is left.

It is possible to go off-trail, so pants, shoes with good traction, and gaiters (if you have them) are recommended. Water bottles and a small first-aid kit are good ideas.

Sunol also has some poison oak ( It's avoidable, but do take precautions. After the event, exposed clothing should be washed normally, and exposed skin can be washed in cool or lukewarm (but not hot) water with dishwashing soap or poison-oak specific products sold in stores. You might want to wash your skin immediately after the event if you're particularly sensitive or had a significant encounter.

Each team member will be provided a map. You may use any additional navigational aids that you desire. This includes compass, altimeter, and GPS. Compasses can be rented for $1 each.

The SPORTident electronic punching system will be used to record routes. Each team will need one e-stick. If your team doesn't have its own e-stick, you can rent one for $3.


Please note that this event does not follow the standard prices for BAOC events. The prices for this event will be as follows:

$20 – For first team member, preregistered ($30 for day of entry)
$10 – Each additional team member, preregistered ($15 for day of entry)
$5 – Each additional youth member (Aged 12-20)
Free – Youth under 12, must be accompanying adult

The preregistration discount ends at 11:59 PM Wednesday, March 13. See the Registration FAQ below for more information.

The normal fees of $1 for compass rental and $3 for e-stick rental will apply.


Please preregister to help us plan for the event, so we can get the right amount of maps and supplies for our participants.

Also, you may use this form to sign up to volunteer (hint, hint ).

Note, however, that preregistration is not required — you will be welcome at the event even if you haven't preregistered.

Registration FAQ

There might be some confusion about the registration process, and so we've compiled this little FAQ. This is just about registration; for the fees and the latest information on the actual orienteering, see above.

Q: Do I need to pre-register?
A: You don't have to, but you really should because it will save you money! The cost is $10 less for the first team member, $5 less per person for the rest of your team (other than juniors).

Q: What is the deadline to pre-register?
A: Midnight on Wednesday.

Q: Does the whole team have to pre-register?
A: If you indicate the number of people on your team when you pre-register, then that many people on your team are considered pre-registered. Otherwise, fellow team members will pay the higher day-of-event fee. It does no harm for everyone on the team to pre-register.

Q: Is the fee the same for the 90-minute class as for the 3-hour class?
A: For the Sunol event, yes, the fee is the same.

Q: Is there a discount for BAOC members?
A: No.

Q: Do we pay when we pre-register?
A: No, there isn't a payment system tied into the event pre-registration, so you will pay on Sunday.

Q: Do we have to turn in forms and money for the whole team at once?
A: We really prefer it if you do.

Q: Does every team member need to sign the waiver on the registration form?
A: Yes, every participant will need to sign the waiver. We are working on a special Wilderness Scramble registration form so that you only need to fill out one piece of paper.

Q: Will self-registration be available?
A: Not for this event.

Q: Is Sunol in the springtime one of our most beautiful orienteering venues?
A: Yes!!!

Driving Directions

Sunol Regional Wilderness is in the East Bay. Take highway I-680 to the Calaveras Road exit near Sunol. Go south on Calaveras Road about six miles to Geary Road. Turn left onto Geary and continue a couple of miles to the park entrance. Pay the entrance fee (see below), and follow the O' signs to the Registration area. (Park only in designated parking areas. The rangers do give tickets.)

Be prepared to pay a park-usage fee of $5 per car (and $2 per dog) [2012 rates, subject to change]. Most likely a ranger will be on duty at the entrance kiosk to accept your payment, but if not, you may have to use a ticket machine that takes only $1, $5, and $10 bills.

There's a map here that shows the location of the park. (Click on the "pins" in the East Bay until you find the one for this event, and then drag the map [not the pin] to center the pin, and zoom in to see more detail.)

Course Setter's Notes

By Andrew Masalkov

We are back to the alluring Sunol Regional Park for the next BAOC Scramble Series event.

The course design motto was "no free breakfasts" — that means there always will be tough decisions on where to go and what route to choose in this steep terrain. Take a flat route and you'll get your wet feet, try to get high-value controls and you'll be forced into a brutal encounter with the pretty flowers blooming on Sunol heights. But in the end, you will find the enjoyment of being alone with the nature — it's spring, the most exciting time in the park.

Course details

The event format is a Score-O where you plan your own race and take as many controls as possible in a 90-minute or 3-hour time frame. The penalty for each 1-minute (or fraction) delay in finishing will be 10 points.

Control values are 20, 40, or 60 points, as follows:

There are 33 controls total, for a total of 1020 points available.

There are double e-punch units at the controls closest to the Start (#100 and #79) to avoid waiting in line to punch. (Yes, there really is a 40-point control close to the Start, but it's not easy to get to.)

The straight-line total distance to reach all the controls is around 19 km. I didn't measure climb, or look into the most optimal route, but 25+ km would be my estimate for the real land route to take them all.


Water is provided on the course. Water control locations are marked in the Control Description sheet. There are also two Refreshment Points on the map marked with the cup symbol: one on the Welsh Creek road, close to control #45, and the second one is a faucet at the historical ranch up Hayfield Road, near control #34. We confirmed with the rangers that the faucet has potable water.


The map used for the event is of a good quality and none of the controls are in questionable places.

The map is printed at 1:10000 scale. The contour intervals is 7.5 meters, which means the map looks less steep than it really is!

The only unexpected feature could be the newly-built fence along the creek in proximity to control #73 — I mapped the most relevant part, although it may be little bit off. The fence is brand new and is hard to cross. Rather than trying to climb it, it might be better to crawl/curl under or to go the marked crossing point.

Poison oak is growing in the park, but the course avoids it. Poison oak can be seen near several controls, but is easily avoidable.

The ground is soft and green, kind of paradise for off-road running.


I saw a huge band of wild turkeys resting in the woods surrounding the creek. Cattle are out there, grazing near the stream and at several random places in the park.


Please observe and avoid out-of-bounds areas — rangers and nature lovers are very sensitive about disturbance we can cause to the natural inhabitants. It also may affect our ability to use this map in the future.