Wilderness Skills - Olympia 2016

Day Hiking Course

Wilderness Skills

The two all-day-Saturday workshops (First Saturday and Second Saturday) required for this course are open to students of all skill levels interested in hiking in the Pacific Northwest. Students planning to take Alpine Scramble, Basic Climb and Backpacking course please read the BOLDED info below.

Wilderness Skills is designed to prepare area outdoor enthusiasts for hiking or (to a lesser extent*) backpacking in the forests, mountains and trails of the Pacific Northwest. The course is offered twice each year - once in the winter and once in the spring, and includes two 8 a.m.-5 pm Saturday workshops. These include extensive hands-on and outside activities.

Anyone may register for the Wilderness Skills course. It is easier to take the course by completing the two workshops one right after another, but students may complete the first workshop in the winter and the second in the spring. To graduate students must complete both workshops (First Saturday and Second Saturday) AND report via email that they have completed a hike or backpack.

*FYI - Beginning 2016, the planned overnight elements of Wilderness Skills have been moved into the Backpacking course offered each spring. Essential skills for day hikes and unplanned overnights continue to be taught in Wilderness Skills and are not repeated in the Backpacking course.The Wilderness Skills workshops must be completed before beginning the Backpacking course, but students may register for the Backpacking course before completing Wilderness Skills. 

SCRAMBLE AND BASIC CLIMB STUDENTS  - FOR COURSES STARTING FEBRUARY 2016 WILL BE REGISTERED BY THEIR COURSE CHAIRS  FOR WILDERNESS SKILLS. Please contact your AS/BC course leader with any questions about this process. AS/BC students must complete both Wilderness Skills Saturday workshops before their Alpine Scrambling or Basic Climb course begins. The two Wilderness Skills workshops are offered on consecutive Saturdays shortly  before the AS/BC courses begin. AS/BC students don't have to report that they have completed a hike or backpack; AS/BC course chairs will document this for them after their first AS/BC field trip. 

BACKPACKING: Students may register for the Backpacking course whenever they wish, but must complete BOTH  of the Saturday workshops BEFORE their Backpacking course begins.  The two Wilderness Skills workshops are offered on consecutive Saturdays shortly  before the Backpacking course begins (and also earlier in the year).

CONDITIONING HIKING SERIES:  Wilderness Skills is useful but not required for the Olympia Branch Conditioning Hiking Series, both Wilderness Skills Saturday workshops are offered on consecutive weeks in the Winter and the Spring. 

Below are the Wilderness Skills agendas for the two required Saturday workshops. Exact times and minor elements of the content may be adjusted before each course begins.

First Saturday

7:30 a.m. Instructors setup and student registration

8:00    Welcome and overview

8:10    Getting started with the right compass

8:20    Day hike equipment: the 10 essentials and more

9:20    “What’s in your daypack?” introduction

9:25    An unplanned overnight with what was in his daypack

9:45     Break/setup for small-group table presenters

9:50    Four daypacks - winter, summer, lightweight, & scramble/climb

10:50  Staying Safe and Healthy in the Backcountry - Injury Prevention and Response to Illness

11:30  Nutrition – Foods for healthy meals on the trail

12:00   Working Lunch – about nutrition of course (bring a lunch to eat at our tables)

12:30  Wilderness Ethics

1:10     Break

1:15    Safe water – Learn about and use chemicals, UV & filters

2:15    Backcountry Navigation – Maps and Compass

4:40    Preparing for the Outdoor Workshop - Things needed, questions and comments

5:00     End of day


Second Saturday

7:30 a.m. Instructors only setup

8:00    Check in for groups, one-to-one review of 10 essentials and other gear, questions

8:30    Intro to Outdoor Workshop and preparation for challenge course

8:40    What could go wrong? Hazards of the Backcountry

9:10    Hands-on with shelter, fire, stoves, first aid kits, animal protection and sanitation 

12:00   Break

12:05  Backcountry Navigation Refresher and Exercise  

1:00    Challenge Course

4:30    Ways to play - other courses, clinics, seminars, events and activities 

4:45    Course evaluation and closing

5:00     End of course

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
RETIRED Wilderness Skills Jan 30
Olympia Friends Meeting House
Sat, Apr 30, 2016
Registration closed Apr 30
20 participants
19 instructors
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Olympia
Sat, Feb 2, 2019
Registration closed Feb 2
33 participants
18 instructors
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Olympia
Sat, Feb 1, 2020
Registration closed Feb 5
16 participants
9 instructors
RETIRED Wilderness Skills Jan 16
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Olympia
Sat, Jan 26, 2019
Registration closed Jan 26
19 participants
18 instructors
Online Classroom
Sat, Jan 16, 2021
Registration closed Jan 14
29 participants
Field Day
The Olympia Center
Sat, Jan 28, 2023
Registration closed Jan 26
45 participants
7 instructors
Required Equipment

The course leader will provide the required equipment list for the second Saturday workshop. For the first Saturday workshop please bring clothes for standing outside and an lunch to eat during our short working lunch.

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.