Rochester Orienteering Club

See you in the woods!

Local Meets

 How to Register

 Types of Events
 Beginner Instruction Going Out on Your Course
 Selecting a Course After you Finish
 Clothing and Equipment Our Schedule


Rochester Orienteering Club meets are designed to welcome both new and experienced orienteers. You can pre-register on our website, although pre-registration is not required. First time orienteers will be greeted by a club member at registration who will brief them on registration procedures and answer any other questions related to the meet. Participants are required to complete a waiver of liability. All participants under the age of 18 are required to have a parent’s signature on the waiver, including Scouts and other groups.


Beginners are always welcome. New orienteers will be offered an opportunity to receive basic instructions from an experienced club member before going out on their course. There is an informal beginners' clinic approximately 15 minutes after the beginning of the event, and all meets offer a course suitable for beginning orienteers.


We usually recommend that first time orienteers go out on a beginner (White) course. If you have some experience with map reading and have spent time hiking you might want to try an intermediate (Yellow) course. Since every course is different, talk it over with the meet director before you start out.


 It is advisable to wear long pants and long sleeves to reduce exposure to insects and thorns. Be sure to check carefully for ticks after being in the woods.

Hiking shoes are suitable for orienteering, but many people wear trail running shoes. As your orienteering skills progress you may want shoes specifically design for orienteering.

Most ROC events now feature electronic timing that we call e-punch. If you don’t own an electronic punch (known as an SI-card) you will be assigned one at registration. The SI-card is a small plastic stick that you wear on a finger. This SI-card is momentarily inserted into special boxes that collect the timing information at each control. A successful "punch" is indicated by a beep and flashing light on the box. With electronic timing you will get your results as soon as you finish, as well as "split" times to each control on your course.

A compass is a very useful orienteering tool, but secondary to map reading skills. Beginners courses can often be completed without the use of a compass. The rest of the courses usually require some degree of compass skill to complete successfully in a reasonable amount of time. Special orienteering compasses are available to borrow at registration.

Each group should have at least one whistle, which is used only in an emergency. Whistles can be purchased at registration for $1.00.


Most of ROC’s events are called “classic” point to point courses. Participants need to go in a specified order.

A few times a year we do “random” events called Score-O. In a Score-O there are lots of controls and they can be found in any order. There is a time limit (usually 60 or 90 minutes) and the object is to find as many controls as possible within the time limit.

Sprints are shorter courses that involve many controls and usually offer many route choice decisions.  We are also offer orienteering events on bikes, on skis, or in canoes and kayaks.

At many events we offer a special String Orienteering course for our younger participants, 3-6 year olds.


ORIENTEERING USA utilizes a color system to designate the technical difficulty of an orienteering course.

WHITE    (Beginner ) - 20-30 minutes mostly on designated trails.

YELLOW (Intermediate) - 20-30 minutes on or near designated trails.

ORANGE (Long Intermediate) - 30-50 minutes on land features further away from trails.

BROWN   (Short Advanced) - 40-60 minutes utilizing contour and land features.

GREEN    (Advanced) - 50-70 minutes utilizing contour and land features.

RED         (Long Advanced) - 60-80 minutes utilizing contour and land features.


Most of our events have a start window of 1.5 hours (10 am-11:30 am or noon-1:30 pm). That means you can start at any time during that window. Course closing time is 1 1/2 hours after the last start, or 1 pm and 3 pm. Even if you don’t finish your course you are required to return before the course closing time.

After you register and receive your SI-card you will punch the "Clear" box, then the "Check" box, found near registration and/or the course start. You will then get your map and punch the Start box. You will punch a box at every Control on your course, then finally the Finish box.

After finishing, take the SI-card back to the results table to download into the computer for tabulation. You will get a paper printout of your time and splits. These will be displayed on a monitor along with all the other participant’s results.  After the meet you will be able to view results on our website and compare splits with others who completed the same course.


Orienteers love to hang around and talk about their experiences on their courses and to compare route choices and tribulations while enjoying refreshments. Orienteers seldom complete a course without at least a few “mistakes” to talk about.


The club offers approximately twenty local events each year. Schedules are available on our website and at our meets. We hope you enjoyed your time in the woods and look forward to seeing you again.

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