Mt. Tabor Navigation Practice Course
Do you want to practice your map and compass skills close to home, alone or with a few friends? The Mazamas now have a permanent navigation practice course right here in Portland.
This course will introduce you to the core skills of map interpretation and compass use, taking you on a walking tour of Portland’s scenic Mt. Tabor Park. Along the way you’ll learn a bit of local history, botany, geology, and of course, have a chance to practice navigation skills.
The skills you’ll learn in this field exercise include:
To do the course, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of topographic maps (scale, contour lines, UTM coordinates) as well as compass declination. If you feel you need to brush up in these areas, please review the navigation portion of Freedom of the Hills or other suitable book before doing this exercise. (If you’re not sure if you need a review, read through the course notes to get a sense of how hard/easy it is for you.)
This course was created in 2008 primarily for the Mazamas Basic Climbing Education Program (BCEP) class. However, anyone is welcome to use these materials and try the course. You can do the course on your own, or with a group. It should take between two and four hours to complete the course, depending on your prior navigation experience and the size of your group. An answer key is on the last page, so you can check your work as you go. Instructions are in the text for some of the compass work.
You’ll need to print out two .pdf files from the links below: 1) a map of Mt. Tabor, and 2) the course notes. The map is a rather large file (1.7 Mb) so be patient on the download. This color map prints on a single sheet of 8.5 by 11 inch paper. Please note that this is not a standard 1:24,000 scale USGS map. It has a custom scale, contour interval and UTM grid suitable for this smaller area. If it’s a soggy day, put the map in a ziplock baggie for weather protection.
To read these files, you’ll need Acrobat reader from Adobe on your computer, a free download. Most all computers have this software already, but get it here if you need it.
You’ll need to bring the following to Mt Tabor:
Please adhere to the park’s open hours, don’t trample carelessly over vegetation in order to “stay on course”, and stay off private property.
The course begins at Point 1 on your map –at the middle of the east side of Reservoir #6, on the steps to the inlet gatehouse. The best access to this is off SE 60th Ave.
If you need directions/map of how to get to Mt. Tabor, see the Mazama map pages
If you’re shopping for a compass, a great choice is the Suunto M3. It’s inexpensive, simple, light, rugged, has all the features you need (like adjustable declination) and none of the ones you don’t (like a sighting mirror or a clinometer). Get one from The Compass Store
Printed Thu, May 23, 2013 - 4:42:45 at www.mazamas.org
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