Prep for backcountry adventure with wilderness skills course

Staff reportApril 28, 2013 

Students learn about water filtration options during the 2012 wilderness skills class offered by the Olympia Mountaineers. This year’s class starts May 7.


Participants in next month’s wilderness skills course sponsored by the Olympia Mountaineers will be prepared for hiking in the forests, mountains and trails of the Northwest.

For many people, wilderness travel offers adventure and a chance to see nature’s hidden wonders, course leader Jim French said.

However, without knowing the hazards, proper preparation and backcountry skills, some travelers run into trouble while others fear the unknown and never venture out, he said. The skills course is meant for those who want to learn a safe and practical way to enjoy the outdoors.

Topics to be covered include the essentials of clothing, boots and equipment; preventing injuries; nutrition; conditioning; understanding weather; treating water; animal avoidance; and hands-on map reading and backcountry travel.

Students will have a chance to practice their skills on an outdoor challenge course.

Class participants will need suitable hiking clothing and boots for day hikes, a day pack and the 10 essentials. Those are the basic items experts agree backcountry users need to survive an emergency. The recommended items each person should have are a map, compass, sunglasses and sunscreen, extra food, extra water, extra clothes, headlamp/flashlight, first-aid kit, fire starter and knife.

The course begins May 7 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Friends Meeting House at Priest Point, 3201 Boston Harbor Road, Olympia. The course consists of the one Tuesday evening class, plus two Saturday sessions, May 11 and 18.

The cost is $50 for individuals and $90 for a family of four. Mountaineer members pay $25 per individual and $40 for family of four.

Register at or at 5:30 p.m. prior to the first class.

For information, visit the website or contact French at

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