Seattle Wilderness Navigation Equivalency

Seattle Wilderness Navigation Equivalency

A way for experienced navigators to gain the Basic Wilderness Navigation badge, which is a requirement to graduate from several other Mountaineers programs.
Wilderness Navigation Equivalency is an opportunity for members who are experienced in the outdoors to gain the Wilderness Navigation badge as well as the GPS and Trip Planning badge. Wilderness Navigation is a requirement for many other Mountaineers programs.
NOTE: Graduates of Wilderness Navigation whose badges have expired can instead follow the Wilderness Navigation Rebadge process.

NOTE: You will be required to instruct students at both an In-Person Workshop and Field Trip. Depending on your knowledge of Navigation and of our course, this may be a significant amount of work to commit to.

How to Apply

It's a multi-step process.

  1. Read the Seattle Wilderness Navigation Course description carefully.
  2. Submit an application to the Equivalency Coordinator  (Click here to apply) .
  3. You will be contacted to schedule a time to discuss your experience and see if you qualify.
  4. Confirmation of your experience will include approval to register for the Wilderness Navigation Equivalency course.
  5. Assist as an instructor in one In-Person Wilderness Navigation Workshop. This is an evening session on a weeknight from about 6:30-9:30. 
  6. Assist as an instructor in one Wilderness Navigation Field Trip. This is a weekend day-trip on a Saturday or Sunday, currently at Heybrook Ridge near Index, WA.
There is homework involved. For #3 and #4, you will be provided with access to the same materials the students have, for your own review and to become familiar with the current course structure and expectations.

Equivalency Skills:

The equivalency skills include the ability to:

  • Identify terrain and cultural features and other information on a map.
  • Describe declination. 
  • Identify elevation using contour lines.
  • Use a compass to Measure and Plot bearings on a map.
  • Use a compass to Take and Follow a bearing in the field.
  • Identify your position using information from a combination of tools (map, compass, altimeter, GPS)
  • Describe other navigation techniques (aiming off, navigating around an obstruction, handrails, etc).
  • Understand the basics (and limits) of GPS use, waypoints, routes and tracks
  • Measure and Plot coordinates using the UTM coordinate system.
  • Describe tools and methods involved in trip planning. 

Need more help or have questions: