Wilderness Navigation Workshop - Students and Instructors - Obsolete

Lecture: Wilderness Navigation Course

Wilderness Navigation Workshop - Students and Instructors - Obsolete - Online Classroom

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

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • For Beginners (Getting Started Series)

Online Classroom -- Your login to the online system will be emailed on the first day of the course, and you'll have four weeks to complete the course.

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 Online  version of the workshop.  


 This is the Online version of the workshop, intended for those who do not live nearby, have varied work schedules, prefer an online course, or just can't fit into the in-person workshop schedule. However,  some people are better suited for the in-person course.  Please consider your ability to work independently and  set aside the time you'll need to complete this course (It takes approximately 3-5 hours, not including the reading time). 

On the start date, you'll receive an email with a link to the online system. Once you begin this Online version of the workshop, we prefer you stay with the online version.  A volunteer instructor will be assigned to help you, to answer questions, etc.   You may work the modules in any order and  you must complete at least 90% of the online modules prior to your scheduled field trip.    The system requirements are listed in the Course Materials tab of the Course Page.

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 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") which can be purchased just before the Workshop no later than 7pm (they'll cost about ~$6.50 each after the 20% discount). If you need to buy maps at the Workshop then allow an extra 5+ minutes, so you might want to arrive a bit earlier. 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. (The maps are now available online through Mountaineers Books.  See below.)

Rescheduling or cancelation:

This workshop runs for a 4-week period.  If you decide to switch to another workshop, please notify your assigned instructor.  If you wish to cancel,  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 Member Services.

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.

Trip Reports