General Description

(This page provides a general description of the Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club's Score-O events. The information here is general and may or may not apply to any specific event. Please see the individual event webpage for details of your specific event.)


The Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club periodically offers a course called a Night-O. The Night-O is very similar to a Score-O with one main difference - darkness! During a Night-O, participants take up to a given amount of time to search for controls indicated on a pre-printed orienteering map. The twist is that participants navigate to the different control locations AT NIGHT! And yes, if you're curious, you'll need to bring a headlamp, flashlight, or another device that will allow you to navigate in the dark.

Navigation for a Night-O is intentionally a little easier than daytime navigation. Controls are placed in more obvious locations on the map. The controls are assigned different point values based on the distance they are located from the starting point and on the navigation difficulty. Participants are not required to follow a set course but instead try to maximize their point total through their own route choice.

The Night-O control locations are designed to offer navigation challenges for orienteers of all abilities. There are plenty of lower-point controls located closer to the start line that provide easier navigation challenges for beginning orienteers. Intermediate and advanced orienteers are challenged by controls located in more difficult locations further away from the start.

Scoring for the Night-O is based on point values assigned to the different controls. Controls assigned a number 10-19 are worth 10 points. Controls 20-29 are worth 20 points. And so on. The points available for any given course varies. The Score-O courses are often set so that it is physically impossible for the most advanced orienteers to visit all available points. In this case, higher scores are obtained by those selecting the more efficient route.


Results for the Score-O are separated into the following categories:

  • M (open male)
  • F (open female)
  • TM (all male team)
  • TF (all female team)
  • TX (mixed male and female team)


The Night-O schedule varies with the time of year. The schedule is based on the time the sun sets on the day of the event.
Check-in/Registration Those who pre-registered for the event need to check-in before starting the Night-O. Those who have not pre-registered can do so at this time.
Pre-Race Briefing We usually will conduct a pre-race briefing to warn participants of dangers they might encounter on the course.
Mass Start To ensure that everyone runs the exact same course with the exact same light conditions, the Night-O events have a mass start.
Finish The finish time depends on the assigned length of the event. Once the finish time is reached, participants arriving after this time will receive a 10-point penalty for each minute they arrive after the deadline.
Finish + 15 minutes DNF Time
Participants arriving more than 15 minutes after the finish time are marked as "DNF" (Did Not Finish).

What to bring:

Whistle Mandatory for all. Available for purchase for $1
Compass Mandatory for all. Available for purchase for $1
Illumination Device Each participant is required to travel with a headlamp, flashlight, or other device that will illuminate their travel route.
Spare batteries/spare flashlight It goes without saying that you won't be very happy if your headlamp or flashlight batteries fail while you're in the middle of the open desert. We strongly suggest you bring spare batteries that will fit your specific device.
Water There will be water at the start/finish . We may also have one or two water stations on the course. However, you are strongly encouraged to bring your own water bottles or a camelback.
Sturdy hiking shoes and
Long pants
You will encounter cactus, cat claw, and loose terrain.