NSW Rogaining Association

"Your Guide to Rogaining in NSW"


Map  (coming ...)


Report by Team 118 ...

The 12th World Rogaining Championships 2014 took place on the 17th- 18th August in the Black Hills, South Dakota, USA. There were over 480 competitors spanning 22 countries with 176 teams. The Black Hills has many rugged rock formations, gulches and open grassy meadows with tumbling streams and large expanses of pine and fir forests. There were many cabins and tracks.

Over the years, we have developed a good pre-competition routine. We packed our race packs the night before; a raincoat and a 2L bladder each, a first-aid kit plus our head torches and of course the traditional competition food plan; gels, muesli bars, chocolate, bananas and one sandwich each. Then we ate dinner and went to bed early.

In the morning, we ate a bowl of cereal and fruit in our cabin then met up with Mike Hotchkis who was staying at the same lodge as us and went to the event centre. My mum, sister and Debbie, Mike’s wife, were coming to meet us a bit later. It took us about 20min to reach the Event Centre. We had arrived early so we could secure a table as there were already a fair number of people.

Registration opened at 8:30am but the maps weren’t released until 9:00am. We met up with Gill, Joel, Phil, David and Julie and a few other Aussie teams. The map collection and SportIdent tags was efficiently managed as there were about 10 queues with teams allocated by team number. It took very little time to collect their maps then, as usual, it was down to business. The next 3 hours were a frantic planning and studying of maps, writing and rewriting route plans. The briefing was at 11:45am for all competitors and was predominately focused on the flora and fauna dangers that may be met on the course. The main risks were poison ivy and mountain lions, as well as flash floods if there was heavy rain.

Due to the nature of the course layout there were three main egress routes and most competitors were grouped around these. At 12:00pm the siren sounded and the world championships commenced in the usual flurry of activity. The temperature was about 26C and sunny.

It was an easy jog to the first CP#23 where there was a bit of a queue, then a small climb through a recently logged area to CP#32. We collected CP#51 quickly and proceeded onward to CP#61 where we had our first steep climb. On the way we came across a number if unmarked tracks and our first and only electric fence. We moved along the northern contour line to CP#79 passing through fairly dense undergrowth and many large fallen trees.

We climbed up and over the ridge, finding the gully and CP#82 without difficultly. We climbed up the eastern ridge and turned south on a well defined track toward a rocky outcrop. We quickly this was another unmarked and down tracked to a junction with the main track we were looking for. From here it was a quick jog towards CP#71. We found the marked clearing easily and traversed west upwards to the CP which we found in an overgrown shallow gully.

After descending back to the track we headed southwest and met the junior Ukrainian team who were unsure of their location and suffering from the heat. We provided some assistance and advice before continuing on our way. We missed the marked track which we intended to be our attack point and had to approach the CP#70 from the south.

The next two CP, #42 and #78 were straight forward and the terrain easily crossed. As we neared CP#78, we passed another European team that was suffering from the heat. On the way to CP#105, we passed David Baldwin and Julie Quinn going in the opposite way. After CP#105, we changed our route plan as we had intended to reach CP#52 via the clearing and ponds to the east. Instead we went back to the track as it was quicker than going through the tall grass. The downside of this decision was that we were running low on water which we had planned to fill up at the ponds. Luckily we came across an unmarked stream crossing the track. We stopped, filled up and washed our faces. We passed the junction, using the sharp bend in the track as our attack point to CP#50.

The few CP, #45, #54, #29 and #67 were all straight forward and the terrain consisted of pine trees and tall grass with hidden fallen logs. We got to #W2 at about 7:30pm, where we found out about Gill’s team who had had to pull out as one team member was sick. After a quick water stop, we continued on to CP#38 which we had to go around a thick patch of birch trees though we found the CP easily.

With high spirits we jogged down the track towards CP#73, passing another team on the way who must have thought we were completely bonkers as we were laughing our heads off at some forgotten joke. Upon reaching the track junction we stopped and put on our head torches, as it was nearly dark. A short but steep climb up the ridge led to CP#73. After an easy find, we headed back down to the track and continued upward to the next track junction.

Here we decided we would have our first break and some dinner, as it was now 8:30pm and dark. We settled with our backs to a log and had a sandwich each on the side of Custer Peak, which was the highest point on the course. It was very nice to get the pressure off our feet! We took the opportunity to review our progress and what the next 6hrs had in store. So far the route had gone to plan though we were a little behind our anticipated time.

After 30 minutes we continued up the track towards the peak before descending to CP#104 which we found easily. We followed the spur down and then along a track to our next attack point. The creek to CP#77 was heavily overgrown and the CP location misleading but we were able to locate it after only a short delay. We relocated to the nearest track which we essentially followed towards CP#83.

From here we descended north between two out of bounds areas to a road, which we followed for 250m before coming upon a creek and an intersection of two main sealed roads. This was not as per the map and caused us some confusion. After 30 minutes of taking cross bearings and scouting each of the roads we worked out the correct route to take. At this point we were accosted by a ‘native’ who was anxious we were roaming about with head torches at midnight. We were able to placate him without being shot, although we were sure he thought we were mad!

We continued up the road to CP#49 and fortunately we found it without much difficulty. We repositioned ourselves on the track and kept going until we came across the third bend where we left the track to CP#24. We took a westerly bearing to the track under the powerlines. We came out to the slight bend in the track and went north to CP#86 to what was marked as the end on the map but made a fatal error in judgement in not counting our paces as the track did not end. We proceeded to walked up and down the hill but none of the terrain matched the map. It was about 2am and although we refused to sleep, I decided that we should lay down for a bit and go through the map again. We found a nice spot under a pine tree and laid down for 20min. After our time was up, we got up again, feeling sort what refreshed and went back up the hill. We came across another team who knew that the map was incorrect so we decided to join forces and searched the nearest gully. Somehow we managed to find CP#86 and it so happened that the other team was going the same way we were.

We took another westerly bearing and hit CP#66 head on. It was refreshing to have someone else to talk too other than each other. We climbed to the ridge line and followed it through thick undergrowth for what seem a very long time, going over more knolls than were on the map. Finally we hit CP#94. We then decided it was quicker descending straight down the steep slope to the track. We made quick work of that and when we reached the bottom it was 5:30am and starting to get light.

We left our new friends and continued down to the main road where we jogged along to #W1. We refilled our bladders and then followed the west road until we hit the creek junction that run parallel to the road. By now it was fully light. We climbed up the gully to CP#72 and found it easily. The next two CP, #34 and #84 were straightforward and the terrain wasn’t too bad. After CP#84 we headed up to the track junction and followed it until we got to the gully at which point we climbed up to CP#62. Then we descended steeply to the track below and followed it west. It was a long, hot, steep climb to the saddle above CP#102.

We were confident the CP was 200m down the gully but upon reaching there we couldn’t find it. We searched either side for a further 100m spending another 30min but couldn’t find it. We later discovered the CP had been placed up a very indistinct runoff. Time was getting short so we decided to head back to the HH, collecting CP #90, #22, #30 and #25, all of which were found easily and quickly. We came upon a few unmarked tracks heading in our direction which assisted our pace. As we got closer to the HH, a number of other teams converged with us as we run up the last 400m hill to the finish.

As the blue finishing arch came into view, we pushed ourselves a bit more until we crossed the line! The next few minutes past in a blur as we clocked off, had heaps of photos taken and were reunited with our support crew, my mum and sister, who were flying the Aussie flag!

Our results were; 28th in Mixed Open out of 76 teams and 68th Overall out of 179 teams. As the youngest female to compete, I was happy with our result, the fact that we didn’t sleep and only had an hour break in total!

Rochelle Duerden