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Bend Ice Caves Navigation Race (3 & 6 hour)


Quick info

  • Date: Sunday Sept 16 2018
  • Location: Boyd and Arnold Ice Caves area, SE of Bend Oregon
  • Courses: 3 and 6 hour 
  • Event director: Pat Gottsacker


Event summary

Details for this event are still being finalized, and are subject to change as well as subject to permit approval from the US Forest Service.

Join us as CROC returns to the Bend ice caves area, about 20 minutes from beautiful Bend Oregon.

The terrain is fairly flat, with generally open ponderosa pine forest. There are lots of interesting volcanic features, including sunken lava tube caves, small basalt rock outcrops, and overall fairly good runnability in almost every direction. There is a dense network of dirt roads and mountain bike trails, which we will do our very best to map correctly. :-) Elevation is about 4,500 feet. Mid September weather should be moderate (sunny with daytime temperatures in the 70's). Free primitive camping is allowed near the event area on the many US Forest Service side roads. 

The map will be an enhanced USGS topographic map, scale 1:25,000, with 10 foot contours.

Here's an example of a map used in a similar navigation race nearby.


First time at a navigation race?

Welcome! If you are fairly fit, and know how to read a map and the basics of using a compass, you can do this.


Pre-event workshop: Route Planning for a Navigation Race

  • Saturday, September 8, 2018
  • Time: 9:30-11:00 a.m.
  • Location: in SE Portland, location TBD

Here’s an opportunity to learn, exchange information, and practice designing your team route for a 3- or 6-hour navigation race. We’ll look at team goals and capability, and at considerations for planning your route. We’ll look at successful routes from other navigators, and we’ll practice in pairs making the best plan route using maps from a prior navigation race. No cost for CROC members.

Register prior to September 5 to find the meeting location and to reserve a map by emailing Anndy.


How it works

About 30 control points are placed over approximately 16 square miles at various natural features. These locations are circled on a map, described on the map (eg “hilltop”, “spur” etc.) and marked on the ground by orange and white orienteering marker flags.  Each control has a point value, which is equal to the checkpoint number rounded down to the tens place. For example, a checkpoint numbered 35 is worth 30 points, while a checkpoint numbered 72 is worth 70 points. (Generally, points farther away from the start area have a higher point value.) Unless you are an expert orienteer and an extremely fit runner, you will not find all the control points. So, plan your course to get the most points, not necessarily find the most total controls. 

  • For both fun and safety, this is intended as a team event (2-5 people). However, you may compete as an individual if you have prior orienteering experience.
  • Participants under 18 years old must be on a team or 2 or more.
  • Maps and geocaching coordinates are issued about 1 hour before the start, so teams have time to plan their route. 
  • You may visit the controls in any order. 
  • There are no age or gender divisions.
  • There are large point penalties for returning late, be sure you return under the time limit. 
  • Electronic punching (epunch) will be used. Epunch equipment rental is included with your event fee. Read more on epunch here. 
  • There will be portable toilets, but no running water at the event start, so please bring all water you may need.
  • There is limited cell phone coverage at the event area.
  • There will be water on the course at certain controls for you to refill, along with snacks and drinks at the finish area.


Geocaching division

New for this year, we plan to have a separate event category for geocachers. That's right, if you want to use a GPS along with a map to find control points, you can do so at this competition. There will be different results categories for geocaching and traditional map and compass orienteering. (Note that competitors in the map and compass division are not allowed to use GPS for navigation assistance at any time during the competition.)



Here’s a Google map of the approximate start area:

Here are longitude coordinates (in decimal degree format) of a possible event start area. Copy paste these into Google or an mapping app to get a map and directions.

43.9404, -121.2049


Tentative schedule - Sunday Sept 16

  • 7:30 am to 9:00 am - check in and registration
  • 9:00 am - map (and geocaching coordinates) handouts
  • 9:45 am - event briefing 
  • 10:00 am - mass start for both courses
  • 1:00 pm - 3 hour course closes
  • 4:00 pm - 6 hour close closes




  • $35 (adult) $25 (under 18) - 3 hour event
  • $50 (adult) $30 (under 18) - 6 hour event

Payment is by cash or check only on the day of the event. Make checks payable to CROC. While there is no preregistration, using the form below to RSVP at least 3 days before the meet is VERY much appreciated, as will help us print the correct number of maps.

Link to Google RSVP form coming soon

Orienteering Club members receive a $5 discount off the event price.


Rules and Safety

  • Team members must stay together (within verbal contact) the whole time they are on the course.
  • A whistle is required for all teams.
  • Carrying a mobile phone is strongly encouraged for safety. Cell coverage is decent if you can find high ground.
  • All team members must go to each checkpoint visited by the team, meaning all must simultaneously approach within 20 meters.
  • The map handout does not designate the start of the event. Even if you quickly finish planning your route, you may not leave the start area until after the pre-race briefing and the race director shouts GO at the designated start time.
  • All participants are required to assist a competitor who is injured and needs assistance.
  • 100 points per minute will be deducted from the scores of late returning teams, ouch! Teams finishing more than 20 minutes late will receive a score of zero.
  • If you are in the 3 hour category and you finish in more than 3 hours, you are automatically moved to the 6 hour category. Conversely, if you are signed up for the 6 hour category and you decide you have had enough after a couple of hours, you can come in early and you will be moved to the 3 hour category.  If you do this, please tell the registration desk your change in plans.
  • All participants under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. 
  • For the map and compass division, GPS devices and altimeters (such as GPS tracking watches) may be carried on the course (to allow tracking analysis afterward) but not used for navigation.
  • All participants must register and sign the liability waiver before entering the course.
  • All teams must check out through the course finish area before leaving the venue, even if the team does not finish the course or returns after the course closes.
  • Teams will fill out an "intention sheet" before the event, showing their approximate intended course. If you are not back by 4:30, we will use this intention sheet to start a search party. We will call your mobile phone first, so if you are late, turn it on.
  • Some parts of the course involve scrambling over low but potentially unstable rock formations. While this rock may appear to be solid, it often is not! USE CAUTION if scrambling on any rock formations! 


What to Bring

  • sturdy shoes, trail runners or light hikers recommended
  • socks (ideally a brand new pair to help ensure Happy Feet)
  • long pants, tights or shorts with gaitors for lower leg protection
  • watch
  • whistle
  • hat with a visor or brim
  • sunscreen and lipbalm
  • compass, and maybe second as a backup
  • hydration pack or fanny pack
  • water bottle(s), already filled
  • electronic punching stick, aka estick, if you have one (if not, we provide these free as part of your entry fee)
  • pen and highlighter marker to plan your route
  • extra water 
  • quick bite snacks, energy bars, gel, etc.



If you would like to volunteer for this event, we can certainly use a few extra hands for course vetting, course setting and course pickup. Please contact meet director Pat Gottsacker at the email at the top of this page if you would like to help.

Earlier Event: September 8
Route Planning for a Navigation Race
Later Event: September 29
Catherine Creek