Orienteering in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona!

Welcome to the 2015 Southwest Spring B-Meet, with two days of orienteering near Tucson! Saturday morning we’ll kick off with Long courses. Sunday we’ll shorten the distances some, but still offer some challenging Classic courses. Each day we’ll offer seven classes from beginner’s White to expert’s Blue.

As a free bonus on Saturday evening you’ll get the chance to practice your Night-O skills on a 4-5 km training course set up by Glenn Haselfeld from our sister club in Phoenix. Bring your Night-O lamp!

Agua at Catalina State Park
Agua at Catalina State Park (Photo by Daniel Lobo) 

The courses will be at 2700 feet altitude, where the desert meets the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. We’ll run in the foothills among the iconic giant saguaro cacti, palos verde, and mesquite trees, in canyons, and over grassy fields against the backdrop of 9000 feet high mountains. The desert terrain is generally open with scattered trees, cacti, and bushes, sometimes in groves; thickets of thorny cat claw or spiky chollas may occur in smaller patches. From the top of the hills you can see far and wide, but to get where you want to go you may have to pass drainages and go down into the valleys where it’s a challenge to keep track of which side canyon or re-entrant you’re heading for. The area is rich in features orienteers love (or sometimes hate), all on our 2013 map.  Click here for pictures from the area.

Register now for this event by filling out our online registration form[Note: Pre-registration is now closed.]  On-site registration will be available but you will save time when you show up on event day and help us in our planning by pre-registering.  To see who's already registered, click here.

Large groups of more than 5 are especially asked to pre-register!

Visitors: Catalina State Park is just north of Tucson along the old stagecoach road to Oracle. It has camping and RV facilities (booking required), and it’s also close to hotels and restaurants of all price ranges. Tucson during the winter season is a lively place. The February weather is generally sunny and pleasantly warm, but there can be the occasional cold and even rainy day. Fly, drive, or come by train. Tucson has all levels of accommodations close to the meet site. Historical Tucson, museums, and the University of Arizona are nearby.

Youth Groups: All participants under 18 must provide a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.  If your group plans to bring a minor without their parent/guardian, then please download a copy of the Waiver and Permission to Participate form from our Documents, Guides, and Forms page (look for it under the "For Orienteers" section) and have it completed and signed by a parent/guardian before you bring it with you to the event.  For more details, see our article about the waiver form for minors.

Directions: The entrance to the Catalina State Park is located about 15 miles north of the center of Tucson on Oracle Rd (AZ SR 77) in Oro Valley. We have reserved the Flycatcher group area, where you can park and camp (park camping charges apply). The area is booked from 2PM Friday 20th to 10PM Sunday 22th. GPS coordinates for the park are: N 32.416777, W 110.937581. For detailed driving instructions go to the park webpage listed above.

Please note that the park charges an entry fee per car, so carpooling is a good idea. If you wish to carpool into the park, the nearest suitable location is the parking lot on the north side of Chase Bank in the Oro Valley Marketplace, which is directly across the highway from the park entrance. Please park away from the bank at the northernmost end of the lot so as not to inconvenience the bank.

Competition fees per day, single rates only: Members $9 per individual for members of any recognized orienteering club. Non-members $12 per individual. No entry fee for juniors under 18, but note that waiver forms for juniors have to be signed by a guardian.  SI card rental: $1. Compass rental: $1. Safety whistles to keep: $1. Every person, regardless of course, will be required to carry some type of safety whistle.

Maps: Pre-printed for each course, scales 1:10,000 and 1:7,500.

Electronic SI-punching day courses – rental sticks will be available.

Courses: The designs are still only preliminary but as a guide this is what we had last year (km/no. controls).

  • Long: Blue 8.3/17, Red 7.5/14, Green 4.5/12
  • Brown 2.8/7, Orange 4.8/11, Yellow 3.1/6, White 1.9/6
  • Classic: Blue 7.4/13, Red 6.0/10, Green 3.9/8
  • Brown 2.7/7, Orange 5.0/8, Yellow 2.4/8, White 2.1/5
  • Night-O: 4-5 km.

Schedule, Saturday morning:

  • 8:30 AM Beginners' clinic starts.
  • 9:00 AM: Registration opens.
  • 10:00 AM: First start, Long courses.
  • 11:30 AM: Start closes.
  • 2:00 PM: Long courses close.

Schedule, Saturday evening:

  • 6:00 PM: Registration Night-O opens.
  • 6:45 PM: First start Night-O.
  • 7:15 PM: Start closes.
  • 9:15 PM: Night-O course closes.

Schedule, Sunday:

  • 8:30 AM Beginners' clinic starts.
  • 9:00 AM: Registration opens.
  • 10:00 AM: First start, Classic courses.
  • 11:30 AM: Start closes.
  • 2:00 PM: Classic Courses close.

Control retrieval: Please volunteer with the meet director, barb (-dot-) bryant (-at-) gmail (-dot-) com.

Check-In: To ensure that all are safe, every runner, whether finished with the course or not, must check in at the Finish before leaving the meet site.

Newcomers: Go directly to the Registration. Ask for instructions and introductory information. To attend the free beginners’ clinic, arrive before 8:30 AM, when the clinic starts.

Route choice reviews: Orienteers love to talk about alternate routes and their advantages and disadvantages. If you would like to discuss your choices, there will be advanced orienteers available near the Start/Finish area.

Welcome to the Southwest!


P.S. Do you want more orienteering while you’re in Arizona? Our sister club, the Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club is having a three-hour Score-O on Sunday, March 1. Check out their website for details.