Mentored Backpack Leaders' Course - Foothills - 2024

Backpacking Course

Mentored Backpack Leaders' Course - Foothills

Earn your backpacking leaders' badge via a group experience with other aspiring leaders. The course will include: an online lecture and hands-on leader training in the field via "Small Instructional Groups" (SIG). Experienced backpacking leaders will walk you through the process of becoming a badged leader and support you as a mentor on a trip that you lead.

This course will be organized around groups of up to four (4) aspiring backpack leaders, with each group/SIG having an experienced leader/mentor.  The course will take place from April through June (to allow everyone to be ready to start leading trip this summer). This course include two elements that need to be registered for as part of enrolling in the course:

  • An introductory zoom lecture that will cover the policies, processes and expectations involved in being a Mountaineers backpack leader as well the particularities and requirements of this course.  This lecture will be on Wednesday, April 10th, from 7:00-8:30 PM
  • One instructional backpack trip with your leader-mentor and up to three (3) fellow students (aspiring backpack leaders).  See trip options below.  Students can request a trip, but may need to be flexible on the date and location in order to accommodate all students.

 In addition to the two set course elements shown above, student/mentees are required to participate in two more backpack trips to complete the course.  In one, the student will assist (be the Assistant Leader) on a trip led by a fellow SIG member. The second trip they will be the Primary Leader in charge of planning, posting, communication, vetting and trip leading with the advice and support of their mentor.  The SIG's Instructor/Mentor will accompany each Mentee/student as they lead their trip (this is referred to as a Mentored Trip). These trips will be "open trips'--where all Mountaineers members that qualify are allowed to participate.   The trip allowed size will be a minimum of eight people--including the leaders.  All members of the SIG can participate in any of these trips if they desire.  To summarize, students will need to attend  a minimum of three backpack trips total in this course. One instructional trip with their SIG, one as an Assistant Leader and one as the Primary Leader doing their Mentored trip.  

In addition to the three backpack trips listed above students who want to earn a Backpack Leaders Badge will need to complete:

  • The Wilderness First Aid Course 
  • A Navigation Course (either Staying Found for on-trail navigation or Wilderness Navigation for off-trail navigation) 
  • The New Hike, Urban Walk and Backpack Leader Seminar (an evening online interactive lecture)

These three items are completed outside this course and are offered frequently throughout  the year. However they do fill up fast as they are required for leaders' badges in multiple Mountaineers activities.  The New Hike, Urban Walk and Backpack Leaders Seminar should be completed before the student leads their mentored trip and the other two courses need to be completed by  Sept. 1st of this year--hopefully earlier so you can gain your badge and begin leading some trips this summer.  

An application is required and subsequent permission granted to join this course (see and use the "Application Required" tab on the right side-bar).  Applicants need to demonstrate basic backpacking proficiency and have completed at least two Mountaineers backpacking trips.  Please state in your application your explicit interest in this course.  I will review the applications and then reach out to each applicant.  General questions emailed to me are also welcome.

Trip leading with the Mountaineers has been a really great experience for me.  My hope is this course could be a gateway for others taking up this most important service to our Mountaineers community.  Rob

Note:  This course is sponsored by the Foothills Branch--Backpacking Committee and is intended for those backpackers that desire/are planning to lead backpack trips through our branch.  If you have a preference to lead for/or clear affiliation with another Mountaineers Branch, please contact that branch regarding training options there.  

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

Ten essentials

All necessary overnight gear  and other gear for the terrain and conditions necessary for their particular trip.

Course Materials

There are no materials for this course.