ORPC 2019


OR how the non-oriental, non-prague and non-climbers enjoyed/survived the Orienteering Run of Prague Climbers (ORPC).

I've been thinking about ORPC for two years, but all the time there was some problem. This year I mentioned it in advance to my friend Maruška, who does not say NO to any challenge and so it somehow turned out that we signed up. Because of my previous trip to the Faroe Islands, I did not solve it at all and only one day before the start I started to find out what it was all about. 

"Can you climb a smooth tree?" Maruška text me and I started to worry.

"No, I never did." Answering and google immediately on how to do it. 

And I know definitely that this race will be interesting. ORPC is a two-stage race. The first stage lasts 4 hours on Friday night and is purely orienteering. The second stage lasts 8 hours on Saturday and it is orienteering, with controls being placed so you need to use your climbing knowledge to climb them. We as amateur casual climbers have no knowledge, so we will improvise. On the start day, we buy a compass and gear, we have never used one, but everything is for the first time! 

At half-past four I am waiting for Maruška in the parking place. Maruska drives responsibly and I google how to climb on a tree and I am lightly stressed by looking at photos from previous years. As always we arrive at the place about half an hour before the start. 

Friday - night race

Change our clothes, set up our tent and start at 20:00! We get a map in our hands. And the first problem comes. Where are we on the map? After about 10 minutes finally (hopefully!) We find where we are and we run. Maruska took the map. 

First check. "Here - one, two, third house and turn right." And we're in the woods. We are lost. We run three times around some people. They must think that we are completely lost. And it is true! But then we finally get oriented and after 30 minutes from the beginning, we find the first check! Uff. Hopefully, it will go better. We are not setting high goals. Mainly survive and not get lost. We find the next three controls in the hill quickly, probably due to the high concentration of fireflies running around. 

So what now? Will we follow the road - a more secure option or cut it through the forest - a very uncertain option for us? We have to take a little risk and so we cut it through the forest! We are where we thought we would be and find 2 more controls! YEAH! We run to the village, the next check is in the middle of the lake. Several pairs are already here and undressing. There's knee-deep water. It takes me a second to decide. We don't have time for this, I tell myself, and to the great surprise of the other couples, I run into the pond to check. It's raining and wet anyway. Quite quickly caught control. We go on and meet two older ladies with a map in their hands. They definitely deserve admiration. They could have been over 70 and they're clowning around at night. So no excuses.

We find the next few controls quite quickly, so what now? Somehow we're doing it and we have about 2 hours more time. We decide to go for some more checks! I notice on the map of strange signs that I evaluate as power lines. Great landmark when running across the meadow in the dark. And there is another pitfall, the check is written go 400 steps to asylum 220 °. I'm lost, I have no idea how to do it, but I have Maruška who learned this in the car. She sets the compass and ... well, we found it. Incredibly. In the ensuing euphoria, we will easily get lost at the boundary stone, but the leadership will take us on the right track again. We find the last check and watch my watch. It's already 23:38! That means we have about 20 minutes to return! But how will we get out of here? We're in the middle of the forest! Fortunately, we have already learned something so we orient the map. "We have to go southeast," I say while pointing to the southwest. It doesn't matter what it is, it's just the direction from south to the right! I hold the compass and run and pray that I run well. To my surprise, we run in the meadow. I don't understand how we hit it. The final sprint to the finish cost us only 2 minutes overtime, which means deduction of 10 points. Even so, it is a success, especially that we have returned! We will celebrate it with 2 beers and we are going to sleep. 

Saturday - day race

It is rainy and the wind blows strongly. What great weather for climbing and running outside! We stay in a tent as long as possible and learn some climbing "staffs". Today it will be during the day, so it will not be about orientation, but rather about getting/climbing controls. We made the rule that we take turns in collecting controls so that we each enjoy some adventure.

Vysmáté na startu

Starting is not as difficult as at night. We already know exactly where we are!  But we don't know how to plan in! There are a total of 90 controls, which are scored differently. We are not the fastest, but in about half an hour we plan the route and set off. We're going in the same direction as yesterday. So the first few checks are easy to find. First, check on a fallen tree. Marušaka begins. She gets on my shoulders and that's it. Relatively fast. Next, check the short rope ladder on the tree, that's cool for me. Another check is on a rock. It's sand and if it wasn't wet, it's fine, but it's hard rock condition. Maruska has to climb up with my assistance. One shoe, the other shoe, we are a well-coordinated team. Keep going. Next one we have to use a compass again. So that's Maruška's turn. We are loading bags with stones on our back and we have to find a total of 4 checks with. 

After each check, I look forward to the next one that is waiting for us again. Each control is different and unique. A check-called via ferata looks interesting by name. We are running under the tree. There are too many people. The tree can be about 15 meters in length and there are stretched ropes up to the crown. Great. Three guys are climbing. It rains and glides. Well, we will skip that one otherwise we'd be waiting for eternity. We'd better wait for another one. There is a ladder of the ropes on a branch about 8 meters high and then one has to get some control. We stay in a queue. I'll take a seat (carabiner on the loop) into which I click. I'm sure up there to be sure I do. After a branch of two, four, and my ass somehow get to check. Hooray, it's clicked. Reinforced adrenaline quickly go back without being secured.  I was faster than the others before me. Great, and we are again on our way. 

We run around the checks at the rocks. It's wet, it's raining for a while, this isn't worth it. We give up control on the rocks even if they are worth a lot, we have to train it next time. We have to find other checks according to the photos, quite simple for me, waiting on the spot and Maruška orbiting a rock with pictures in her hand. Well, as I say, we are a well-coordinated team. The next stop is refreshment, I don't even know what was there, just know that I drank a lot and ate a lot! We earn bonus points on the slackline. While our legs are shaking that we can barely stand on it, we will take a few quick steps forward and fall, but fortunately, it counts! Strengthened and well-tuned we are going to another nearby check. Oh no. A rope ladder, perhaps my curse. The first ladder is 5 meters from the ground perpendicular upwards, the next is at an angle upwards another 5 meters and the last is a lot of sagging another 5 meters up. There are a couple of pairs in front of us and up there are 2 people. One girl got stuck there, and the boy climbs behind her to give her a rope and she goes down. Rescue mission. And damn we're considering what's more advantageous tactically. Finally, wait. I'm on it. I have 2 carabines and loops. The first 2 ladders are fine. The third ladder is high enough and slack. I click on the ladder and the rope next, at least I will use what I learned in the tent in the morning. A few steps is fine, but then the ladder turns with me and I hang under the ladder. Dripping water on me.

I was pull-up. I saw my friend running under the tree. God, I will die here. I can't look like a pancake. I'll climb up. My hands are freezing. One carabine got stuck in my ladder and can't be removed. I don't give a damn to her. I still hang under the ladder. I'm dropping my gloves. They're totally wet. Now click to check. I almost dropped the paper, perhaps not. Clicked. Now what. How will I go down? I no longer have the strength. I hang under the ladder, I have no idea how to get over it. My hands no longer hold, so I hold my elbows and knees, like a snake wrapped around a ladder. I'm sorry about the people waiting downstairs. I can not anymore. I want to cry. My friend is running down again. I clench my teeth and move on. Uff, I'm on the first branch. Well, finally, I'm free. The other two ladders are easy. Maruska is also glad that I am down. I had to be crazy long there. I apologize to the waiters and we run, no time! This was hell.

Maruška leze pro kontrolu

Good thing is that´s Maruska´s turn now. Control is upon a fallen tree approximately 7 meters high.  Today I have ladders and Maruška trees and rocks. It's pretty high. Maruška, an experienced mountaineer, does not take a loop. Why? She is cautiously shifting and successfully catching control. We run again for a while. Oriental in the day is really much easier. I don't know why Maruška and I run only races during the night. Next check. A branch and a rope hanging on it. Hmmm, how? I could try to pull Maruška up. We try, but unsuccessfully. After all, the rope is dynamic. So what now? Maybe that would work with the loops. I'm going to make one loop and put there feet and another and sit in it. Great. It works! Quite fast it goes up. This is an experience! We continue to run other controls are again somewhere on the trees or at heights, but it does not cause us any problems. But then it starts to get dark. Since we had a start later in the morning, we will run part in the dark. And we realize that it's not good. We have to find the bunkers and because of the darkness and fog, we can't even see 2 meters in front of us. We are a little scolded that it is not fair, but what can be done. We have an hour and a half to finish. We run to the pond. One more asylum check. Go 300 steps. Then another sign. Go 200 steps.

Then the next 150 steps. It got pretty long and we're running around the field! Although we go exactly under Maruška's leadership and it takes insanely long! All right, pond and then hurry back. The check is called: Dry foot. Control is in the middle of the pond. So what now? Maybe there should be a rope, and we should pull. It's dark and we don't see anything. There is no time to search. I undress in a flash and go into the water. Brrrr. This is an ice room. I barely breathe. I swim to check. It's like the North Pole! Get dressed quickly. We only have 30 minutes. We're running. But we don't know where. We must cross the meadow. We run as if it were life. Too bad we only took one headlamp. Or maybe lucky to have at least one! The headlamp shines in front of me and we see eyes. Cows. Never mind continuing running. Perhaps we do not disturb them much. We think we are going in the right direction, but we have no idea where we are on the map. Or are we off the map? We don't know. Finally, we reach the main road and along with it, we run to the finish. We are terribly late, we have lost too many points for late return, but we don't mind! It doesn't matter the order, but the fact that we enjoyed it, that we overcame it and that we did not give up! It was a fantastic experience that, according to the huge bruises all over the body of the rope ladder, I will remember for a long time. But I'm looking forward to next year anyway!