2015 Sniper Adventure Challenge

Thanks to participants of the 2015 Sniper Adventure Challenge!

First off I want to thank all the competitors who showed up and manned up (and womanned up) – the SAC is a grueling course and it was hot and difficult. Congratulations to everyone who participated much less completed the course.

Here is an overview of my take on the 2015 Sniper Adventure Challenge from Competition Dynamics. I participated as an Range Officer this year and hope to field a team next year to compete (yes even after seeing first hand what the course was like)!

Overview of the Snipers Adventure Challenge 2015

From the Competition Dynamics website here is the official description of the event:

The Sniper Adventure Challenge is a Tactical Adventure Race involving: land navigation; practical shooting with long-range rifle, carbine, and pistols – field craft, problem solving, and other related tasks. Two-man teams will be required to navigate at least 25 miles on foot to complete the course. Along the way, there will be a series of tasks to accomplish to gain additional points.

These tasks may include: shooting problems with long-range rifle, carbine, and pistols; problem-solving, physical challenges, field craft, communication, target recognition, memory, and other tasks.

View the list of the rules of the event.

To win the SAC you need to score the most points. 

From CD here is how the event is scored:

 The objective is to obtain the most points while completing the course or within the time limit. The match packet that you get during check-in will detail the point values for completing different parts of the course and what conditions must be “met” in order to receive points. Likewise, it will detail the penalties for skipping or otherwise failing to follow the briefing and meet the objectives. In general, the way to obtain the most points will be to achieve the mandartory checkpoints in order without skipping any; to do well at the shooting stages and challenges; and to achieve as many of the bonus checkpoints as you can.

The teams and individuals are required to bring and carry a lot of gear. Since competitors don’t know what the challenges will entail they need to pack a broad variety of gear to cover most situations they will likely encounter. Here is the list of required gear for competitors:

Team Gear – One Set Required per Team
a.6x 4-foot lengths of 1 inch tubular nylon
b.1x military style duffel bag (will contain items you wanted preplaced at a resupply cache location).
c.1x shovel
d.1x pen type flare launcher with 6 flares. tru-flare recommended
e.1x GPS with batteries (will be sealed by staff along with cell phones – for emergency use only)
f.You may be issued additional items by staff prior to or during the challenge, for example: radio, 24HSAC “passport”
g.At least 6 high-energy “AA” batteries
h.$130 for the radio deposit
i. SPOT personal tracker with tracking enabled. These can be rented for approximately $35/week from a variety of vendors. We will need your SPOT shared URL code 3 weeks before the SAC. SPOT II/Gen2 or SPOT III/Gen3 recommended. Other models may not work well or be compatible with our tracking system. A SPOT that requires another device (such as a phone for bluetooth) is NOT RECOMMENDED.

Individual Gear – To be carried by each team member
a. eye and ear protection
b. 1 poncho/tarp (must be sturdy enough to carry casualty)
c. 1 hydration system, at least 3 liters total
d. 1 (at least) head lamp, tactical light or utility light with extra batteries
e. 1 military-style emergency strobe light – white (emergency use only) – SDU-5/E or MS-2000 or equivalent (the white strobe must have 250,000 peak lumens and a rate of between 40 and 60 flashes per minute.)
f. 1 red flashing strobe bike-type light (to worn in the hours of darkness)
g. 1 reflective belt to be worn on around the rucksack
h. 1 emergency space blanket
i. 1 compass (not digital or a wrist compass)
j. 1 firesteel type fire starter or magnesium block
k. 1 survival mirror
l. 1 pack of water purification tablets or filter
m. 1 whistle (always with you – not tucked in pack)
n. 1 watch set accurately to local time
o. 1 trauma kit, to include at minimum: i. 1 pack of Halo chest seals (2 in a pack)
ii. 1 nasophargyl airway
iii. 1 H compression bandage
iv. 1 combat gauze
v. 1 roll of kerlex
vi. 1 CAT tourniquet
vii. 1 pair medical gloves
If you don’t already have an trauma kit assembled to bring up to spec, we recommend buying one from Dark Angel Medical

p. 1 first aid kit, to include at minimum i. anti-diarrhea tablets (6)
ii. electrolyte replacement tabs or rehydration salts (10)
iii. painkiller – Ibuprofen, Advil, etc. (6)
iv. benadryl or antihistamine (6)
v. antacid tablets (8)
vi. decongestant tablets (8)
vii. 4×4 gauze pads (4)
viii. 1-inch bandages (8)
ix. 1-inch waterproof adhesive tape – 3 feet (1)
x. moleskin or blister treatment (5)
xi. needle (1)
xii. tweezers (1)
xiii. 2 oz betadine, antibiotic ointment packets or tube (1)
xiv. scissors (1)
xv. epinephrine – If known ANAPHYLACTIC team member
If you don’t have a first-ait kit already assembled for the basis of your 24HSAC kit, we recommend starting with one of the Adventure Medical Kits (Ultralite) and adding the extra items to bring it up to our spec.

q. 1 ID packet including your full contact info, your partner’s info and any other trip companions, and at least two emergency contacts, and any relevant personal medical information

REQUIRED FIREARMS

a.1x long-range rifle, to be carried by the designated long-range rifle shooter.
b.1x carbine, to be carried by the designated carbine shooter.
c.2x pistols, one to be carried by each team member in a secure holster. See holster rules for acceptable carry setups.
d.all carbine and pistol cartridges must be carried loaded in magazines. At least one magazine for each must be accessible without digging into the rucksack.
e.both long guns must be equipped with slings appropriate for safe carry.
f.note: all firearms will be carried unloaded until directed by a range officer to load

Here is an example of some of the information from the Land Navigation Mission document which you got along with your Map (MCP = Mandatory Check Point, BCP = Bonus Check Point):

MISSION 2

MCP20 465388 4721508
MCP21 465528 4723614

BCP20 462064 4719684
BCP21 465128 4722052

This is a long and difficult event. It ran from around 8am Friday through around 7pm Saturday. That is around 36 hours straight!

Sniper Adventure Challenge 2015 starting line

 

Sniper Adventure Challenge 2015 starting line 2
Sniper Adventure Challenge 2015 starting line gear

 

Period 1 – Friday daytime

The first stage was a pistol stage – which really was a way to thin out the groups so everyone wasn’t bunched up heading up the road.  You had to hit 2 targets and you had 4 shots and both team members had to hit both targets to move on. I think the veterans handled it pretty easy, but everyone who was pumped up and full of adrenaline had a bit more difficult time. After that you had to pick up your cache bag and carry it to the next staging area where it would get taken to another location on the ranch.

Sniper Adventure Challenge 2015 towards staging area

 

After you dropped off your bag – the race was on! Most guys headed up into the “hills” to start hitting the land navigation points.

Into the Hills
Sniper Adventure Challenge 2015 Starting Land Nav

 

Then for the RO’s it was over to the Shooting challenges to wait for an hour for the competitors to start our stages. I was at Stage P1-3 (Period 1 stage 3) which was the first shooting stage. Here are the first guys to make it to my stage (or at least the first ones I got a picture of).

Sniper Adventure Challenge 2015 Shooting Stage P1-3

 

P1-3 had only 3 targets. The teams were designated as (1) carbine shooter and (1) precision shooter. Some guys brought a carbine + bolt gun, and some buys brought 2 AR’s. This stage required the Carbine shooter to engage all targets and could fire as many rounds as needed, but was required to make 1 hit on each of the 3 targets. After the carbine shooter did this – the Precision shooter could use the remaining time (5 min for the team) to attempt 1 hit on each target with only 2 shots per target allowed.

The next stage down from me was a drop gun stage. There was an awesome .338 Lapua Magnum semi-auto from Bill Alexander and Alexander Arms.

Next to it was a (I believe) 6.5 Creedmoor from US Optics with the LR17 (one of which was on the prize table). Both US Optics and Alexander Arms really loaded up the prize table for folks at this event – and I know some of the top competitors walked away with either rifles or optics!

The shooting stages (Period 1) ran from the starting bell through 4pm, then there was a couple hours of break for the RO’s (competitors were doing Land Nav), then P2 (Period 2) started around dark.

Period 2 – Friday night

I was RO for the “Shelter” Challenge. To pass this challenge you had to make a shelter approx 3′ high and 3′ wide that would keep you dry when crouched under the shelter. The way we tested this was to stow the competitors gear under the shelter and dump a 5 gallon bucket of pond water on the shelter. If the shelter held up and kept the items underneath dry, it passed.

The challenge next to me was to bring a soup can of pond water to a full rolling boil.

Both of these challenges could be completed with anything the competitor carried with them and items that could be scavenged in the local area. It was held adjacent to a livestock pond, so there was drift wood, grass and various items you would find in a field in Wyoming.

2015 Sniper Adventure Challenge Making Fire 1
Here is the only shot I have of the Female team that smoked a lot of other teams!

 

The other two challenges at this station were Crypto & Hooding. Crypto was a cipher you had to decipher to get the points. Hooding was getting hooded, loaded in the back of a truck, disoriented and driven to an undisclosed location from which you had to continue back onto the course.

The fire challenge did have some excitement when one team tried (twice) to light their fire with a pen flare. 

** Service Announcement ** Please if in a situation like this – don’t attempt to use a pen flare to start a fire. ** /Service Announcement **

The competitors were allowed to complete the other challenges during the night, and continue on with their land navigation during that moonless cloudy night.

The RO’s were given a short rest time while a skeleton crew was maintained on fire watch, and for rescues.  Friday night was the time when most of the teams dropped out of the race.

Period 3 – Saturday

Second Place team Murphy Daniel leaving the Low Crawl finish!

Saturday morning bright an early at around 8am Period 3 started. Teams that were still in the race continued their land navigation efforts and the RO’s manned challenges.  I was on the Low Crawl challenge. This challenge used 4 RO’s (1) Starter, (1) Finisher, (1) Spotter and (1) Finder.  The challenge was for the teams to make their way from the Starter at one end of a field to the Finisher at the other end of a field in a creek without getting seen by the Spotter who was stationed midway through the field off to the side. If seen, the Spotter would navigate by radio commands the Finder until the Finder had a visual ID on the team attempting to move unseen to the Finisher.

Only 3 teams attempted this challenge, all 3 made it successfully for full points !

Saturday was the slowest (for the RO’s) of all the periods as most teams had quit by this point. Period 3 ended around 4pm in the afternoon and all the RO’s headed back to the central meeting area. Teams continued to roll in until around 7pm at which time the race was over.

For the teams that completed Mission 3 and turned in score cards, there was one last requirement – the hay bale scramble. They had to complete this with their gear – at the end of a long grueling 36 hour beat-down. My sincere congratulations to any team that made it to this point – you fucking deserve a nice cold beer (give me a shout I will buy).

Team Fuller Steinbach heading towards the Haybale Scramble
Team Fuller Steinbach completing the Haybale Challenge – yep it was timed!
Team Wilson Haizlip completing the Haybale Scramble

 

Finally, the awards!

The #1 finishers with the highest amount of points!

Team Frantz Day – congratulations guys – better watch yourself next year, I am coming for the title :-)!

Second place – and the guys who walked the farthest 48 miles!

Team Murphy Daniel Second Place finishers (also in Dark shades – I see a pattern here)!

 

Third place is team Wilson Haizlip – in the dark shirts!

 

One final thing to point out. To actually “Officially Finish” the 2015 Sniper Adventure Challenge you had to complete in order Missions 1-3. The ONLY 3 teams to officially finish the match were the above 3.

Here are the Top 5 teams:

1. Frantz Day (Official “Finish”)
2. Murphy Daniel (Official “Finish”)
3. Wilson Haizlip (Official “Finish”)
4. Williams Hom
5. Bear Angelos

Here are the Final Scores for all teams:

2015 Sniper Adventure Challenge Final Scores

2015 Sniper Adventure Challenge Final Scores for All Teams
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