Run in the Desert – two days of great orienteering in eastern Washington

   Event #1/6 in the Ultimate Orienteer Series!

Join us as we kick off the 2021 Ultimate Orienteer Series for 2 days of Classic-distance events in the Quincy Lakes area.

  • Saturday, April 10 – Bishop’s Land
  • Sunday, April 11 – Quincy Lakes

We’ll have 2-day total-time results as well as single-day results. Ultimate Orienteer points will be calculated on single-day results.

COVID Operating Protocols

If you sign up for this event, you will be asked to read and agree to follow our COVID Operating Protocols. Our use permits are contingent on our ability to demonstrate that we can hold safe events, so we thank you in advance for helping us make this happen.

Complete and sign the COVID assessment (if you’re doing both days, you only need to do this once).


If you’re a group leader (i.e. you are the one who signed up), make sure your teammate signs the Group Waiver Addendum, as well as the COVID Assessment.

Control descriptions

We aren’t providing control descriptions at the events, but you may print your own (they WILL be on the map).


Temperatures are expected to be above freezing during the day and below freezing at night, with little to no snow. There’s a WSDOT traffic camera near Vantage that you can check for snow conditions. There have been winter conditions recently at Snoqualmie Pass, so if you’re traveling through, check the weather ahead of time.


See Visit Vantage for information about camping and lodging near Vantage (approximately 11 miles southwest). Vantage is very small and has few facilities. Ellensburg, approximately 40 miles west, has numerous lodging and restaurant options.

Many people stay in Quincy which is closer and has more services, including several motels, gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Visit Tour Grant County (scroll down to Quincy) for details.

Other Things to Do

The map terrain and surrounding areas are unique and beautiful. Below are some other things to explore nearby.

  1. Wanapum Dam
  2. Frenchman Coulee area
  3. Gingko Petrified Forest (interpretive center open by appointment only through March)
  4. Wineries – while there are several in the area, most are closed at this time of year; an exception is Cave B Winery and Resort
  5. The Gorge Amphitheatre (not much happening in March)
  6. Wild Horse Monument (a quick stop off eastbound I-90)


Please check our Newcomers page for general information. If you still have questions, please contact the event director.



The start will be approximately 1 mile’s walk from the parking area. Please allow time for this when planning your schedule. Start times are pre-assigned; sign up for a start time when you register; if you don’t, we’ll pick one for you.

If you didn’t sign up for a start time when you registered, here’s the signup sheet. The signup sheet will be locked at 9pm Thursday. If you have any changes after that, please send email to


The finish will be approximately 1/2 mile from the parking area.


There is a trail run taking place in the Ancient Lakes area (south of our location) on the same day. When driving in to park, you may encounter runners on Ancient Lakes Road. Please slow down so you don’t kick up dust and don’t run them down.

Also, don’t be thrown off if you see parking signs for the trail run. Follow the orienteering signs.


Beginner – 1.3k
Intermediate – 2.4k
Short Advanced – 3.4k
Short Advanced Plus – 4.3k
Medium Advanced – 6.8k
Long Advanced – 8.6k

What is my age class?

Classic-O Course/Class Assignments for Ultimate points

If you want to earn Ultimate points, check the table below to see which category you should sign up for. Find your age class in the left column, then follow the row across to the right until you find the dark orange cell. That is your “assigned” category.

For example, if you’re a female 16 or under, your Ultimate age class is F-16 and, for this event, is assigned to the Intermediate course. If you are up for a more challenging course, you can also earn points in F-18 on the Short Advanced course, F-20 on the Short Advanced Plus course, or F-21+ on the Long Advanced course. Just keep in mind that other courses are more difficult, both navigationally and physically.  Also keep in mind that you’ll be earning points only in the class you sign up for.

How are courses measured?

Courses are measured as the crow flies, in a direct line from control to control. Unless you have wings, you will travel farther than this distance! Courses are measured in kilometers, so a good rule of thumb is to simply round up to miles to estimate how far you will go. So in a 5 kilometer race, you’ll likely travel up to 5 miles.


ISOM2000 (old) symbol set used, 1:10000 scale, 5m contours.

  • Cliffs, rocky ground – cliffs at least 1 meter high, many dangerous large ones.
  • Rocky ground: “rotten” cliffs, small patches on the ground or large coverings of slopes.
    Cliffs drawn with ticks and without. Bare rock used only in some locations where the rocks distinctly uniform with good runnability.
  • Rocks, knolls, patches of rocky ground. If a distinct body, then rock symbol used. Rocky ground when a lower pile of smaller rocks.
  • Knolls – if a uniform body of many smaller rocks or a proper dirt knoll.
  • Contours: LIDAR based, very precise. Some negative terrain of depressions, sometimes with a body of water under. Smaller depressions are dry now and easy runnable.
  • Man made features: rolls of barbed wire, old fence posts.
  • Vegetation: Sage bush mostly, some trees and larger bushes near water bodies.
  • Dangers: barbed wire on ground depicted as old fence. Not all mentioned. Very uneven and rocky ground.
  • Amazing amount of small animal trails. Only some are drawn.


View courses from a past event on this map on Route Gadget here.

  • No water on course, bring your own.
  • Safety bearing: EAST; avoid obstacles going SOUTH.
  • Beware of snakes, but hope is that in April not warm enough yet.
  • Use sunscreen.


We will NOT provide water on any courses nor at the finish. Please come prepared to supply and carry your own water.

Tread lightly

Tread lightly on the land: if the ground is wet, avoid leaving footprints by staying on rocks where possible, not disturbing any rock features such as piles, stacks or cairns, avoiding cactus, and brushing off pants to remove plant seeds before leaving the course.

Sensitive Plant

Snowball cactus (Pediocactus nigrispinus) grows in this area. It’s been designated a sensitive species, so if you see any, please avoid stepping on or near it.


Pre-registration only!

9:30am-12:30pm – Starts (start times are pre-assigned; sign up for a start time when you register; if you don’t, we’ll pick one for you)
2:30pm – Courses close*

*Wear a watch to ensure that you return to the finish by course closure time, even if you have to abandon your course to do soThose returning after course closure will be disqualified and will make the volunteer staff very grumpy.

Why is there a start window?

This event uses an interval start, which means that participants are started in waves instead of all at once. When you arrive at the start tent, find the chute for your course and follow the start volunteer’s instructions.


Note: To cover additional permitting costs associated with this event, fees are higher than our Seattle-area events.

Pre-registration is required

$13 – Cascade OC members*
$18 – non-members*

*Add $5 to rent an epunch stick

Become a member for $5-20

Want to buy your own epunch stick?

While we do offer rentals, we encourage everyone to purchase their own epunch stick. If you’d like to take the plunge, the nearest supplier is in California. We recommend purchasing either SI-9 , SI-10, or Air+ sticks. Other vendors can be found here.

What’s an e-punch?

An e-punch records your race. At each control, you’ll dip the e-punch into an electronic box, which will beep and flash as confirmation. After you finish, you’ll download the e-punch at the download tent and get a receipt that show which controls you visited and how long you took between each; these are your “splits.”

Part of the fun of orienteering is comparing your splits with people who completed the same course, and discussing the routes you took!


Online pre-registration only! Closes Thursday before the event at 9pm.

Please register early, it helps with our map counts.

Learn more about volunteering

Volunteers make these events happen! You can volunteer and participate on the same day, plus earn volunteer points to earn a free meet.



We’ll be parking on private land. You’ll receive parking information after you sign up for the race. To calculate driving time, use the Ancient Lakes Trailhead as your target.


Looking for a carpool? Join the Yahoo listserv and share your request to find a ride.


The Bishop’s Land map is owned and maintained by Peteris Ledins, who has generously allows us to use it for some of our events. Some of the mapped area is privately owned by Dave Bishop, who has very kindly allowed Peteris to map and use his land and has been very supportive of orienteering in general.

The Bishop’s Land venue contains a lot of rocky features.  A number of decisions have been made about what and how to map.

  • International Specifications for Orienteering Maps 2017 symbols are used.
  • Vegetation is mapped in a limited fashion:
    • The only vegetation that limits running in any way is sage bush – still growing or burnt leftovers – and similar semi-desert plants. They are mapped with green vertical stripes – undergrowth, slower running symbol – in locations where the impact is larger.
    • There are several more distinct trees mapped with the green dot symbol.
  • In general, only distinct objects are mapped. A 1-meter-high boulder is mapped if it is in a gravelly area, but not if it lies between other larger boulders.  In a similar fashion, we don’t mark 209 Boulder field or 210 Stony ground in a context where these make the map too hard to read.  In contrast, most of the 418 Prominent bush or tree are prominent only in the Frenchman Spring context.
  • Uncrossable cliff usually means very uncrossable. Please respect that and do not go too close to it.
  • Ground covered with little to no vegetation while still allowing near full speed running is mapped as 214 Bare rock.  Unlike in many other venues, bare rock in Quincy Lakes is not necessarily a smooth cliff face but may instead resemble a pile of rocks.

Sensitive Plant

Snowball cactus (Pediocactus nigrispinus) grows in this area. It’s been designated a sensitive species, so if you see any, please avoid stepping on or near it.



Read more on the map page

Navigational Challenge: 8/10

Physical Challenge: 8/10


Return to the Finish
All participants MUST return to the finish and download their e-punch or turn in their punch card.

Even if you have not finished your course, you must still return to the the finish and confirm with event staff that you have returned safely.

Out of Bounds
Some areas may be marked out of bounds. It is imperative to respect these boundaries to maintain our relationships with land managers. Participants MUST NOT go out of bounds. Any participant caught going out of bounds will be disqualified.

Course Closure
All participants MUST return to the finish by course closure time. If a participant does not return by course closure, event volunteers will begin coordinating a search party.

If you need a long time on the course, start as early in the start window as possible, wear a watch, and be prepared to cut your course short to make it back by the course closure time.

All participants MUST carry a whistle on the course. Complimentary whistles are available at the start tent (please only take one).

If you are injured on the course and need assistance, blow three long blasts to call for help.

If you hear a call for help, abandon your course to find the person in distress.

Part of the fun and fairness of orienteering is navigating your own course, so please be polite when you find a checkpoint and don’t holler that you’ve found it.