Wilderness Navigation Course   - Seattle - 2017

Navigation Course

Wilderness Navigation Course

2017 Wilderness Navigation Course - Seattle

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

This is the Navigation Course required to graduate from other Mountaineers courses including Basic Alpine Climbing, Alpine Scrambling, and Backcountry Snowshoeing. People who complete this course will receive a Navigation badge valid for 3 years.

NOTE: This is not a beginners course.  The field trip includes 6.4 miles of hiking along with 1,800' of elevation gain, on and off-trail. For those who don't do any 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 Navigation Course and pay the course fee.

2) Sign up for an available Workshop below. There are two types -- In-Person or Online. <A Workshop must be completed before attending a field trip>

  • The In-Person Seattle Program Center  activity is a 2.5 hour  workshop on a weekday evening. You'll be sitting at a table using your compass and maps to solve a complex series of navigation story problems.  It requires two advance activities
  1. Reading the Burns & Burns book "Wilderness Navigation" in advance
  2. Completing a Work Assignment on pre-trip planning.  
  •  The Online Classroom activity is an "ELearning" computer-based workshop that's provided for those who do not live nearby, have varied work schedules, prefer an online course, or just can't fit into an in-person workshop schedule.  It covers the same material as the in-person workshop, and is typically available over a 4-week period. It also requires reading the  Burns & Burns book "Wilderness Navigation".

3) Sign up for an available Field Trip below, for a date that's after your workshop. This is a full day Field Trip on a Saturday or Sunday in the mountains near Index, WA. Please consider your level of physical conditioning for the field trip. Part of the day will be off trail in the forest using your compass to take bearings and follow bearings.  The final exercise is an off-trail section of about 1 kilometer with brush, large logs, log piles, steep sections, and uneven terrain.  This will be a strenuous outing if you aren't in good condition.  

Compass:
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.  We prefer you have the models with mirrors, but the mirror is not required.

Reading  (for both types of workshops):

  • Prior to attending the Workshop (in-person or online) you need to read 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. 

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

Required EquipmentSee the Required Equipment tab below for more information on the Compass Features and Maps. 

Course Materials:  See the Course Materials tab below for documents and handouts that will be used in the Workshop and Field Trip.  For the in-person workshop, the "Pre Work" must be completed and brought into the workshop. 

Field Trip Carpooling: Carpooling is strongly encouraged to the field trip because we'll be parking on private land with very limited space.  Please specify your carpool preferences in your personal profile. You can view other students' carpool preferences by viewing the roster on the field trip activity page. (The activity page can be found after sign-up under "My Activities" when you click your name on the Mountaineers website)

Navigation Committee Website:
For more info about this course, about our Equivalency Program, about other navigation tools and newsletters, and the type of compass you need to purchase, please see the Seattle Navigation Committee Home Page

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Wilderness Navigation Workshop - Students and Instructors
Online Classroom
Mon, Jan 22, 2018 -
Tue, Feb 13, 2018
Registration closed Jan 19
4 participants
1 instructor
Roster
Required Equipment

10 essentials,  rain gear, and appropriate non-cotton clothing for the field trip.

Maps and compass for the workshop and field trip:

Map: 
You'll need to purchase two USGS maps before attending the workshop.  The best local source is the Mountaineers Bookstore or online at Mountaineers Books with a 20% members discount.  The Bookstore stays open late on Wednesdays and it usually stays open later on those evenings when we hold our in-person 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". 

Compass: 
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.  We prefer the models with mirrors, but it's not a requirement.

For those in the Online Workshop, the "USGS Baring Map with Romer" in the Recommended Books below is what you want. 

For those in the In-Person Workshop, you don't need the Romer. 

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.