Wilderness Navigation Course  Seattle - 2016

Navigation Course

Wilderness Navigation Course

Same as "Basic Navigation" Course - Seattle 2016

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 course.

Would you like to learn how to avoid getting lost? Are you planning to go off trail where good navigation skills are needed? If so then this in-depth navigation course is for you. It's offered multiple times a year between February and November, and it's available to Mountaineers members and non-members.

Recently renamed "Wilderness Navigation" instead of "Basic Navigation", this course is a graduation requirement for other Mountaineers courses including Basic Alpine Climbing, Alpine Scrambling, Backcountry Snowshoeing, and other courses. People who complete this course will receive a Navigation card valid for 3 years.

NOTE: This is not a beginners course.  The field trip includes about 6.4 miles of hiking along with 1,800' of elevation gain, on and off-trail. For those less interested in the rigors of back country and off trail navigation, two other courses may better suit you, the Introduction to Map and Compass offered by the Seattle Branch, and Staying Found, offered by the Foothills Branch. However, those other two courses don't meet the graduation requirements for Climbing, Scrambling, Snowshoeing, etc. This one does.

Sign Up Procedure:
Important note: To fully register and graduate from this course you need to sign up for these 3 separate components...
1) Register for this Basic Navigation Course and pay the course fee.
2) Sign up for an available workshop below. This is a 2.5 hour Workshop on a weekday evening at the Seattle Mountaineers Program Center. You'll be sitting at a table using your compass and maps to solve a complex series of navigation story problems.
3) Sign up for an available field trip below (need to attend after the Workshop). This is a full day Field Trip on a Saturday or Sunday in the mountains near Index, WA. You'll be off trail in the woods using your compass to taking bearings and follow bearings. Carpooling is strongly encouraged because we'll be parking on private land with very limited space, so please specify your carpool preferences when signing up (or edit them later). Then click the link in your Profile to view other students' carpool preferences so that you can organize your own carpooling arrangements.

Reading and Work Assignment (before attending the Workshop):
Prior to attending the Workshop you need to do two things,

1) Read chapters 1-5 of the Burns & Burns book Wilderness Navigation. Mountaineers members get an additional 20% discount when ordering it online from Mountaineers Books as well as purchasing it in person at the Mountaineers Bookstore located in the Seattle Mountaineers Program Center. Please support the Mountaineers by purchasing it directly from the Mountaineers.
2) Complete a homework assignment before the workshop using the required book, required compass and required maps.  This better prepares you for the evening workshop.  Bring this to the workshop and turn it in to the instructor at your table. 

If you still want more to read after reading "Wilderness Navigation", see chapter 5 on Navigation in "Freedom of the Hills."

For more info about this course and the type of compass and maps you need to purchase, please see the Required Equipment page or visit the Seattle Navigation Committee home page.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Wilderness Navigation Workshop - Students and Instructors - Obsolete
Online Classroom
Tue, Sep 26, 2017 -
Tue, Oct 24, 2017
Registration closed Oct 9
6 participants
0 instructors
Online Classroom
Mon, Sep 24, 2018 -
Tue, Oct 23, 2018
Registration closed Sep 21
4 participants
0 instructors
Navigation Activity #1 of 4 - online Map and Compass
Online Classroom
Tue, Feb 26, 2019 -
Tue, Mar 12, 2019
Registration closed Feb 23
4 participants
1 instructor on waitlist
Navigation Activity #3 of 4 - In-Person Workshop - Students and Instructors
Seattle Program Center
Tue, Mar 10, 2020
Registration closed Mar 4
0 participants
0 instructors
Required Equipment

10 essentials and rain gear for the field trip.

Maps and compass for the workshop and field trip:

You'll need to purchase two USGS maps before attending the workshop.  The best local source is the Mountaineers Bookstore, with a 20% members discount.  It stays open late on Wednesdays and it usually stays open later on those evenings when we hold our workshops, but not guaranteed. The required maps are also online at USGS.GOV with the product numbers shown:

USGS Index, 1:24,000, Version 1989. Product Number 106874

USGS Baring, 1:24,000, Version 1982 (1982 Revision of a 1965 map), Product Number 105315

If you download and print a USGS Map on your own plotter, be sure to select the older Index 1982 and Baring 1965 maps, not the new "2014 US Topo". 

You'll need a "Mountaineers approved" compass which you need to purchase before attending the Workshop. Unfortunately you can't share a map or compass 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. Please note that the blue "Brunton O.S.S." compasses are not acceptable.

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.