Wilderness Navigation Workshop - Students and Instructors

Lecture: Wilderness Navigation Course

Wilderness Navigation Workshop - Students and Instructors - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

The first of two activities to complete the Wilderness Navigation course.

  • For Beginners (Getting Started Series)

Arrive 6:45pm, begins @ 7pm at Seattle Program Center

Click the "More+" button below to read all the important Workshop info!

To sign up:

Before you can sign up for this Workshop as a student, you first need to sign up and pay for the "Wilderness Navigation Course " (the link to that course is to the right).  Instructors do not need to pay.

Please prepare in advance by purchasing your Compass, Maps, and Book as described below. 

This is the In-Person version of the workshop.  


Please arrive between 6:30pm and 6:45pm to check in and prepare your maps with UTM lines. At 7pm the evening's talk will begin and after that you'll begin working through a problem set with instructor support.  The Workshop normally ends around 9:15pm (9:30pm the latest).

* You may benefit from bringing a headlamp and/or magnifying lens.  Depending on where you sit lighting may be less than ideal for detailed map reading.

* You are welcome to bring food to eat during the Workshop.

* Bring a sharp pencil (mechanical pencils work great). 

* Bring paper for taking notes.

Workshop Summary

The combination of readings and exercises cover the following topics:

  •  Map Basics
  • Compass Basics
  • Declination
  • UTM Coordinate System
  • Measuring and Plotting Bearings 
  • The Global Positioning System (in summary)
  • The Altimeter (in summary)
  • Route Planning
  • Pre-Trip Planning
  • Staying Oriented
  • Field Trip Preparation

Reading Assignment: 

You need to read the Burns & Burns book "Wilderness Navigation".  Mountaineers members get an additional 20% discount when ordering books online from Mountaineers Books as well as purchasing it in person at the Mountaineers Bookstore located in the Seattle Program Center. 
If you still want more to read after reading "Wilderness Navigation", see chapter 5 on Navigation in "Freedom of the Hills."

You must complete a  Pre-Work Assignment and bring a hard-copy to the workshop.  It can be downloaded from the Course Materials tab in the course page.  


You need a "Mountaineers approved compass" which you must purchase before attending the Workshop. Unfortunately you can't share a compass or map with a friend of family member during the course. Some local stores might run out of the model you want so it's recommended you buy a compass well in advance. Only specific compasses will be accepted, so before purchasing a compass make sure to read our compass requirements.  


See the Required Equipment tab on the Course page for more information about the required maps. You need two maps ("USGS 7.5' Index" and "USGS 7.5' Baring"). (they'll cost about ~$6.50 each after the 20% discount).  Maps can be purchased at the Seattle Program Center Bookstore, or online through Mountaineers Books website. Please don't borrow maps from a past student since their maps will already have bearings plotted on them. Unfortunately you can't share maps with someone during the Workshop.  

Maps can be purchased just before the Workshop at the Program Center Bookstore no later than 7pm . If you need to buy maps at the Workshop then allow an extra 5+ minutes, so you might want to arrive a bit earlier.  

Rescheduling or cancelation:

Registration for this Workshop closes 4 days before the Workshop.  If you must cancel or reschedule then please do so as soon as you can as there may be people on the waitlist who will gladly take your place.  After registration closes you can make changes by contacting the course leader or by contacting Member Services.



Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

  • Red Marker
    47.685190, -122.263828
    47.6851897 -122.2638282
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Compass with adjustable declination, Burns & Burns Wilderness Navigation book, USGS Baring and USGS Index maps, and a sharp pencil.  Paper for taking notes is optional.

See Course Materials tab and Required Equipment Tab on the Course page for more details on these items. 

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