Cunningham Falls

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October 4

Pre-registration required; there is NO day-of registration.

Charcoal PlatformWelcome to the fourth edition of Platformpalooza, which is "an orienteering celebration of that rare in our area but nevertheless humble remnant of the era before fossil fuel dominance, the charcoal platform" (a grassier than usual for this event Scottish examplar of this trace of human impact on the landscape is pictured to the right). Thanks to course setter Michael Dickey, course stats and comments are below for the seven courses (white through blue).

Speaking of collecting fees, we believe the park levies a per vehicle entry fee - $3 for MD residents, $5 for out-of-staters. These fees may have increased. If a ranger states the park is too crowded to enter and tries to turn you away at the gate, since we have a permitted event, you can tell the ranger on duty you are attending our event in order to be let in.

Note: to avoid excessive crowding at the start of the event, the first 2 hours are now broken down into 15 minute check-in windows. If you select a 15 minute check-in window, please check-in sometime during your assigned window - do not show up in advance and mill about the registration tables since that's exactly the type of crowding we are working hard to minimize. Thanks for helping us all stay safe!

Other notes:

  • Pets are allowed in this park
  • Reminder: there is no water on the course, so bring your own if you wish
  • The size of a group orienteering together on a course must be no more than 4 individuals (juniors and adults combined)
  • If you're bringing a total of over 8 people, after you've registered & paid online, please email the Event Director to aid in planning
  • NEW! There is no planned, on-site beginner instruction, but beginners are encouraged to watch relevant videos such as this one created by QOC's instructional guru David Onkst
  • For more information on how our events are run in line with our COVID-19 guidelines, feel free to peruse the details in the announcement for the first event of our season here


Cunningham Falls St. Park, Manor Area (Classic)

RegistrationAdvance pre-registration (with payment) is required via this link. For this event, registration will open at noon on Monday, Sept. 28, and will close at 6pm on Saturday Oct. 3 (the night before the event).
Who's registered? Check by clicking here. Sorting by column is possible too - just click on the column name.
Start TimesParticipants will register in advance for a specified 15 or 45 minute check-in window (including map pick-up), starting at 9:45am until the final window from 12:45-1:30pm. Each 15 minute window will be limited to 15 "starts" (solo individuals or groups) and each 45 min. window to 45 starts.
ScheduleSunday, October 4
10:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Event Director:Dagmar (Dasa) Merkova
Course Designer:Michael Dickey
Location Details

Cunningham Falls St. Park
Manor Area
Google Map

From US-15, 11 miles north of Frederick MD and 2.7 miles south of Thurmont, turn west onto Cunningham Falls Park Rd. After entering the park, keep following the road around to your left, past the parking lots, playground, visitor center and aviary, then park in the large parking lot at the bottom of the incline south of the aviary. Registration will be in the pavilion near the northeast corner of that parking lot.
Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 2708
Yellow 2.79014
Orange 421511
Brown 3.317510
Green 5.128510
Red 6.338512
Blue 7.749515
Course NotesClassic

This map has been updated considerably since our first event here, but it still does not have the level of detail that most of our maps do. There are boulders and rootstocks that are not yet mapped, but the ones that are mapped are there. We've updated the map with some features that competitors are likely to see, but there will be features that you may come across that are not mapped. Some mapped vegetation is based on field checking, but most is still based on LIDAR data; green areas are generally accurate, but some types of vegetation that result in slower running don't show up on the map.

This is steep and rocky terrain; even areas that are mapped as open and runnable will not be as fast as most of our maps. Courses are a bit shorter than normal, but this is not an event to move up a level.

Yellow course notes: The yellow course duplicates much of the White course but has two sections that while they include easy to follow linear features may be a bit more challenging than most of our yellow courses. Those sections are controls 5-6-7 and then 9-10-11. It will be worth understanding the mapped linear features and paying attention to them.

Emergency services volunteers will be stationed on the mountain near two separate locations that are marked on the map. There are controls near both locations and emergency personnel will be located near those controls. Participants are encouraged to carry a cell phone. The telephone number to call in case of an emergency will be printed on each course map.

Entry FeesIndividual Entries

Note: juniors = under 21

Club Member, adult Club Member, junior Non-Member, adult Non-Member, junior
$10 $5 $20 $5

Group Entries

Participants are welcome to orienteer together as a group (up to the maximum for that event; usually 4). Each member of a group is charged their individual rate as shown above, up to a group total of $30 (maximum), and each receives a map. A group receives one epunch. Individuals or groups desiring to compete on a second course after completing their first can do so for a reduced fee of $2/map subject to approval at the event by the Event Director.

Important Notes
  • If you wish to become a QOC member you should join online in advance via this webpage (which also explains the member benefits). Membership is completely optional.
  • Most of our events use an 'epunch' timing chip for electronic timing. Individuals or groups without their own epunch will be loaned one for that event. Loaned epunches that are lost incur a $40 replacement fee. Epunches (also known as SI-cards or finger sticks) can be purchased from online vendors as described here.
  • Former QOC members who have let their membership lapse pay non-member fees.
  • Compasses are available at no charge, but if lost incur a $15 replacement fee.
  • Please provide collateral (such as car keys) when borrowing a compass or epunch.
  • Free beginner instruction is always available - just ask at the registration table. While COVID-19 policies are in effect, please check out instructional videos online such as this one in lieu of in-person/at-event instruction.