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Home » Classes » CMC Classes and Schools » Wilderness Trekking School


Wilderness Trekking School (WTS)


Wilderness Trekking School (WTS) is for all – whether you want to bag a few 14ers – OR – just want to enjoy the scenery and wanting to make new friends in the CMC.  Students are all ages, from 18 to 70+. If you’re new to hiking, WTS gives you the opportunity to learn how to travel safely – and with confidence – in the backcountry. If you’re an experienced hiker, WTS gives you a chance to review, to enhance your skills, and possibly to fill in some gaps. WTS also fulfills one of the requirements for a Denver Group C hiker classification and for taking Backpacking School.

Topics covered include:

• Essential gear, helping you decide what you need to buy and carry

• Off-trail travel techniques

• Map & compass skills: orientation, navigation, and route-finding

• Weather: how to anticipate and handle wind, rain, lightning, and snow

• Nutrition and hydration

• Handling an unexpected night in the backcountry and a backcountry emergency

• Snow travel and avalanche awareness

• Leave No Trace and other conservation practices

• Also: Safety, Wildlife, Teamwork, Knots

The course consists of five Tuesday night lectures, five field days, and some homework (yes, really!). Students are divided into groups of 10-13 people, based on preferred field day, with consideration for hiking level and age. Instructor teams consist of a senior instructor and two assistant instructors. Students have the opportunity to learn techniques of safe backcountry travel and to practice in a supportive environment. Students plan and complete a hike with their field group.

Time Required:

Students must attend all lecture nights and field days to complete the course. Lectures are approximately 1 hour, followed by 90-minute group meetings. Field days vary in duration but are at least 6-8 hours plus transit time and social stops. Most students report 2-3 hours per week in addition to class and field days for reading, homework, gear acquisition, and trip planning.  STUDENTS FREQUENTLY UNDERESTIMATE THE ADDITIONAL TIME REQUIRED.

Upcoming WTS Schedules:

Click here for latest schedules