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Shell Ridge Open Space

Date: (Sun.) Apr. 30, 2017
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Event Director:
Course Setter: Vicki Woolworth
Type: B; Normal set of beginner through advanced courses

Please note that fees and time limits apply. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

After an absence for several years, we return to Shell Ridge Open Space for a full-featured orienteering event.

Event Sponsor

The Bay Area Orienteering Club (BAOC) is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to the promotion of orienteering, a cross-country map-and-compass sport. We are the fourth-largest orienteering club in the U.S., and the largest outside the Northeast.

The event is open to the public, even if they are not BAOC members. We encourage everyone to join us. Find out more about orienteering elsewhere on our website.

Event Description

Registration opens at 9:00 AM, and closes at noon​—​you can register anytime during that period.

We will have the full set of courses with varying difficulty. (Details are below.)

Staggered starts will be open from 10 AM until 12:30 PM. Again, you can start anytime during that period (i.e., after checking in at the Start, and being assigned a start time). If you enjoy your first course, you can do a second one if you get to the Start before it closes.

We are expecting to have around 100–200 participants.

Location In The Park

We will be using a new assembly area and Start location! The assembly area will be at the Bob Pond Picnic Area in Shell Ridge Open Space (near Borges Ranch).

Note: Do not park at the Registration/Start area at Bob Pond Picnic Area. Instead, park at the Orchard Staging Area/Castle Rock Parking lot (see the directions below), then take a 15-minute (70 m climb) walk/hike from the parking lot. Or have the driver drop off the group at Bob Pond and immediately drive 5 minutes back to parking, and then do the 15-minute walk to Bob Pond.

There are toilets at the parking lot, and toilets and water at the Registration/Start area at Bob Pond Picnic Area.

Event Schedule

Registration Open: (about) 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon
Beginner's clinic instruction available (free): 9:30–10:30 AM
Starts Open: 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Courses Close: 2:00 PM

At registration, all juniors must be accompanied by parents or legal guardians, or bring with them a waiver signed by their parent or legal guardian (the registration form is available here (PDF/100KB)).

Beginner's clinics are short, repeating sessions that provide an introduction to orienteering and enough instruction to be able to complete a beginner (White or Yellow) course. The sessions will continue until about 10:30 (they could stop earlier if there is no more demand).

Everyone must return to the Finish by 2:00 PM, and check in at E-punch, even if you don't complete your course. We need to account for all participants, because otherwise we must organize a search party for you. At 2:00 PM we will also start taking down controls, so there is no point in staying out longer.

After you finish, enjoy free snacks and refreshments, and socialize with other participants!


The following fees apply at this event:

  $3 for juniors on beginner's (White) and advanced beginner's (Yellow) courses
  $8 for adults on beginner's and advanced beginner's courses
  $5 for juniors on intermediate (Orange) and advanced (Brown, Green, Red, Blue) courses  
$12 member price for intermediate and advanced courses
$18 non-member price for intermediate and advanced courses
  $1 for a compass rental (optional)  
  $5 for an electronic fingerstick rental (if you don't own one; you'll need one to complete the course)
$15 for the lowest-cost individual one-year BAOC membership (optional)  

For extra people on a team, add $5 per adult on beginners' courses or $7 per adult for intermediate and advanced courses (with lower prices for juniors).

More information about event pricing is available in the club FAQ. All the prices are also shown on the standard entry form (PDF/100KB), which you can print and fill out in advance to save some time at the event. (You will need one entry form for each group of people going on a course together.) Please note that the form has a second page for signatures of group members.

What to Bring

For beginner courses, comfortable outdoors attire and shoes are fine.

For intermediate and advanced courses, leg cover or gaiters are recommended, as well as shoes with some extra grip on the sole.

A compass is not necessary, but can be very helpful. We have compasses available for a $1 rental fee.

We time the courses with the SPORTident system, so each entry/team needs to have a SPORTident fingerstick. If you don't have your own, you can rent one at registration for $5. (Use of the "E-punch" system is easy. You can learn how at the event, or read about it here.)

Important Notes

As noted above, there is no parking at Bob Pond Picnic Area.

All participants are required to check-in at the download tent before going to the Start, and check-out at the download tent after their course. For participants who do not check-out at the download table by 2 PM, we will try to contact them, and, failing that, will organize a search along their course route.

Intermediate and advanced courses have at least one control with water. Please consider carrying your own water if you think you might be on your course a long time.

Please respect equestrians: Give the right of way to horses, and try not to frighten them.

Also respect out-of-bounds areas​—​residential and other.

For non-emergency situations, participants will be treated with the first-aid kit at the registration area.

For emergency situations, we will contact the East Bay Regional Parks dispatch and other appropriate authorities. We will also contact the person listed as the emergency contact on the participant's registration form.


Amazingly enough, the trails were dry enough to walk on last week without turning one's shoes into mud bricks. I'm hoping the weather stays nice and cool without too much more rain. The course stats are below. I hope the courses will be fun​—​yes, it is a bit steep there, but the ground is still relatively soft, and the poison oak is limited to concentrated thickets and climbers on a few trees. More detailed Course Setter's Notes are available here.

Vicki (4/20/17, updated 4/26/17)

    Course    Length    Climb  Controls
    White     1.7 km    113 m      8  
    Yellow    2.3 km    132 m     12
    Orange    3.1 km    260 m     12
    Brown     2.7 km    210 m     11
    Green     4.1 km    340 m     16
    Red       5.9 km    387 m     16
    Blue      6.8 km    416 m     20

Note that the course Length is simply the sum of the straight-line distances between controls. Your actual distance will be somewhat longer, and will depend on your route choices (and any errors you make).

Climb is an estimate of the cumulative "up" that would be encountered on the optimum route, with no regard for any "down" along the way. As with course length, the actual climb you encounter will depend on your route choices (and errors).

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

Request for Volunteers

As usual, we could use some help for this event:

Set-up, 8:00–9:00: One person
Beginner's clinics, 9:30–10:30: One experienced person
Registration, 9:00–12:00: Two folks doing 1-hour shifts
Starts, 10–12:30: Two folks doing 1-hour shifts
Finishes, 10:30–2:00
Refreshments: pick up day before

Also, some help on control pick-up would be appreciated.

Please contact me if you can help.

Event Director

Driving Directions

Traveling north on I-680: Take the Ygnacio Valley Road exit (which is just north of the Hwy 24 interchange). Turn right onto Ygnacio Valley Road and go 2.3 miles to Walnut Avenue (past Walnut Blvd). See below for the continuation from there.

Traveling south on I-680: Take the N Main Street exit, and head south on Main St. Turn left onto Ygnacio Valley Road and go to Walnut Avenue (past Walnut Blvd).

Turn right onto Walnut Avenue (not Walnut Blvd), and continue 1.5 miles to a roundabout​—​take the first right onto Castle Rock Road. In 1.4 miles you will reach the Orchard Staging Area/Castle Rock Parking lot.

There's a map here that shows the approximate location of the parking area.