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SkiMinker: Orienteering questions

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I checked out the BAOC site. Lots of great stuff there. I've got some questions if you don't mind answering a few.

- Do you (or can you) compete in teams. My wife's a great runner but not so great with a map and compass. We'd like to try it but she'd be more comfortable as a pair at first. (tangent: As bad as she is with a map and compass on the ground, she rocks navigating underwater. We got our PADI advanced cert and she was the star navigator in the class. Go figure.)

- When orienteering, do you dead reckon with the compass the entire time, use terrain features, or both?

- Which compasses do most people use? I'm used to the bulky but bombproof military ones which have a crosshair sight and a mirror which lets you sight an object and see your azimuth at the same time. I don't know if you can even buy this type or if they are simply overkill.

- Are most people hikers or runners?

Sorry for the bullet format. I've spent all day on email at work and it's a hard habit to break!

TIA
post #2 of 10
KevinH,

- Which compasses do most people use? I'm used to the bulky but bombproof military ones which have a crosshair sight and a mirror which lets you sight an object and see your azimuth at the same time. I don't know if you can even buy this type or if they are simply overkill.

They sell those in boating stores. Not cheap. They also have binoculars with built-in compasses. Even not cheaper. And if you have loads of disposable income, you can buy ones with night vision. Or you can save yourself the trouble and give me the grand or more that they cost. I'm sure you've used those sort of things in the military.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, John. This whole orienteering thing solves a big problem for me about running. I love to run and it's one thing my wife and I do together but I HATE that fact that there's so little gear involved.
Half the fun of sports like skiing, cycling, rock climbing, and scuba diving is pouring over magazines and websites to study the gear! With running you're stuck with, what, shoes and HR monitors? Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Now throw in overpriced compasses and unnecessary night vision goggles and I'm a happy runner!
post #4 of 10
Gearboy, Get a GPS, that will keep you busy.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
GPS...hmmmm...not bad, not bad.

Actually, I'll probably wait until they come out with a combination Connected PalmPilot/GPS/mp3 player and get it all in one. Ya never know when you might find yourself lost in the woods but needing to check your stock portfolio and listen to that new Type O Negative song.
post #6 of 10
and hook it up to your Palm 7X with mapping and topo software, and you can be the King Gear Slut of Orienteering.

I did and Orienteering thing once in, like, Jr High. It was a total blast, but we weren't racing. I've learned to read charts and maps, including topo maps, from havng been reading navigational charts all my life (the Chesapeake Bay is fairly shallow, so when your boat needs 6-7 feet of water to be safe, you learn how to read charts). So even by the time I did the little orienteerng thing in Jr High, I seemed to know exactly what I was doing. The other kids had no idea how to read the maps and compasses, and I was like "well there's THAT hill", pointing to the hill and to the map. They just looked at me like I was nuts.

Seems we were typing at the same time, Kevin. I thnk you can already do that. So don't wait, run right out to the stores and BUY, BUY, BUY!!<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by JohnH (edited May 22, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 10
Ya know. As I think about this, GPSs either are not allowed for orienteering, or shouldn't be allowed. The one my father has for his boat, you just input all of your way-points, and it points you in the right direction, and tells you exactly how far you have to go. It has a compass built into it. If you vary from your way point, it just keeps pointing you at it, no matter where you go. That would really be cheating. he he he
post #8 of 10
Good morning orienteers, glad you got started without me

First off, let me preface the whole gear issue by saying you can be, but don't need to be a gear slut. (whatever makes you a happy camper!)

I really can't find my way out of a paper bag on my own and had never done this before. We rented the $1 compasses they had through the club. Very basic and set only to magnetic north (which is what the topo maps they use are drawn to) They gave us the 5 minute run down on how it works and sent us off on the easy course. It only took 30 minutes or so and we did it as a group of 3, with three other "teams" from our adventure club. Totally not competitive because we had no clue what we were doing. Well, as we came to find out, it's not rocket science and armed with a map and a compass, I can actually find my way and quite acurately, I might add. There were folks of all levels there from my group of newbies up to the 3 time Canadian National champ and her hubby who rocked. If you look at the times on the website, you'll see a WIDE variety. So we finished the easy course and got a little ballsy and decided to skip the level 2 course and go for the level three, which was considerably longer and more technically challenging. That was where the fun began and the competition sort of ended...mostly because we were really slow (but slow and steady and we finished unlike some of the other teams!) and 126 minutes later we crossed the finish!

The top competitors seemed to go at it alone and they ran up and down the hills in their superfly nylon orienteering "costumes" and spiked cleats for digging in up the hills. Yeah, they could have finished the course 4 times by the time we came in. We did it in teams of three, but you can do it how ever you want. They also set up 6 (I think) different courses of different lengths and levels, so you can work up to the big competitions. It also add some element of difficulty because the checkpoints are close enough to each other that you could navigate 20 feet off and end up at the wrong one, it's quite emotional when you realise you are in the wrong place. My team "Team Strawberry" (formerly know as "three chicks with a map") was really only in competition with ourselves, we really wanted to finish, that's all. We did try to get competitive against the other teams from our club, but we made a crucial mistake that slowed us way down...better to go AROUND the mountain then OVER the mountain (when you are hungry and out of water ) Who knew??
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

To answer your questions...
When orienteering, do you dead reckon with the compass the entire time, use terrain features, or both?
...As far as "dead reckoning with the compass" I am not sure I understand the question to give you an answer.

Which compasses do most people use? I'm used to the bulky but bombproof military ones which have a crosshair sight and a mirror which lets you sight an object and see your azimuth at the same time. I don't know if you can even buy this type or if they are simply overkill.
... my understanding is that the compasses that are that accurate are acutally a hinderance in these competitions, it seems like "pretty close" actually works and since you have the map and general directions. It worked for us and we didn't really know what we were doing.

Are most people hikers or runners?
...I'd say both. You don't really need to be either if you can climb the side of a hill, unless you are going to be super competitive.


All in all it was a really fun experience and I am sure I'll do it again. We should meet up at one of the upcoming meets and have a go at it. You could be our token male strawberry

------------------
Deep yogic breaths...
~Minker
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[This message has been edited by SkiMinker (edited May 22, 2001).]</FONT>
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, SkiMinker, I'd love to join you on the next one. Just give me 6 months or so to get my big butt into shape!

Dead reckoning vs. terrain association is simply using the compass azimuth vs. using the map and terrain to navigate. Dead reckoning is slower but more accurate. It sounds like you use a good combination of both.

Great stuff and the more I read about it, the more I like!
post #10 of 10
6 months to get in shape to go orienteering??? How about using orienteering to get in shape for the next 6 months? Nobody said you have to run the whole thing (I surely did not!!) You can make a great morning adventure hike out of it. In fact I think it is a great way get in your cardio exercise!

------------------
Deep yogic breaths...
~Minker
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