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April 2013 Issue
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Care for your destination

Two routes to Ant Stream Bivouac showing handrails and attack points

Navigating precisely starts with a good plan. By Tane Cambridge

To navigate precisely you need a good plan before you start. If you are unaware of exactly where you are and you’re not quite sure where you are going, there is a good chance you will end up somewhere where you don’t want to be!

The best way to execute a plan is break it up into steps based around a start point and end point, and a route of how you are going to get there. In orienteering, the acronym CARE is used to plan a route from your known location to the destination.

CARE stands for:

Control: The destination

Attack point: A clear obvious feature near the control

Route choice: The way you will go to reach your destination.

Exit: The direction you will go to next after reaching your destination.

Route choices can be easy or hard depending on your ability, strengths and weaknesses. In most cases the easiest route may not be the most interesting or the fastest but it may be the safest, so you should always weigh up your options before setting off.

‘Handrails’ are a good basis for a route choice and are generally linear features you can follow such as a stream or track, but they could also be formed from a series of contour lines such as a spur or gully. Attack points tend to be underutilised and should be a clear, obvious feature near to the destination that you can roughly navigate to. An attack point may be a track junction or a cliff face – it should be easy to distinguish and obvious when you see it.

So before you make a move, make sure you know where you are going and how you  are going to get there!

-Tane Cambridge is a NZ orienteering rep and has competed at several World Orienteering Championships