Wilderness Trekking School (WTS)

Registration for the Fall 2016 session is now closed.  Registration for the Spring 2017 session will open in early January.

Lecture Dates: Tuesdays, Sep 13, 20; Oct 4, 11, 18 (check-in opens 6:30 pm), Foss Auditorium, AMC Golden

Field Dates: Your Choice of all Thursdays: Sep 22, 29; Oct 6, 20; Nov 17; or all Saturdays: Sep 24; Oct 1, 8, 22; Nov 19; or all Sundays: Sep 25; Oct 2, 9, 23; Nov 20 .

Enrollment fee: $100 for all CMC Members until Sep 6, then $120 until Sep 13 or when session is full.

Hiking in Colorado’s mountains is fabulous recreation! Wilderness Trekking School (WTS) is for all – whether you want to bag a few 14ers – OR – just want to enjoy the scenery. WTS is a great introduction to the Colorado Mountain Club and a place to meet new friends. WTS is Colorado Mountain Club’s largest school, a comprehensive course on mountain hiking. Students are all ages, from 18 to 80. If you’re new to hiking, WTS gives you the opportunity to learn how to travel safely – and with confidence – in the backcountry. If you’re an experienced hiker, WTS gives you a chance to review, to enhance your skills, and possibly to fill in some gaps. WTS also fulfills one of the requirements to obtain a Denver Group C hiker classification.

Topics covered include:

• Essential gear, helping you decide what you need to buy and carry

• Off-trail travel techniques, from boulders and talus to tundra

• Map & compass skills, figuring out where you are, navigation and route-finding

• Weather, how to anticipate and handle wind, rain, lightning, and snow

• Nutrition, helping you choose what food to carry

• Handling an unexpected night in the backcountry and a backcountry emergency

• Snow travel and avalanche awareness, handling unexpected snow on the trail, including ice axe training

• Leave No Trace practices

The course consists of five Tuesday night lectures, four field days, a CMC trip, and some homework (yes, really!).  Students are divided into groups of 10-12 people, based on hiking pace, conditioning, and prior experience. Instructor teams consist of a senior instructor and two assistant instructors. Students have the opportunity to learn techniques of safe backcountry travel and to practice in a non-competitive, non-confrontational setting.  Students plan and complete a hike with their field group.  WTS is a great place to learn and practice new skills, make new friends, and become a safe backcountry traveler.

I thought I knew a lot about hiking. Was I wrong! WTS taught me so much more than I imagined.” –WTS Student

Overview and Curriculum

2016 Fall Schedule     2017 Spring Tentative Schedule

Online sign-up  (Note – You will be asked to log into CMC.org at the bottom of the linked page.)

WTS Student Application Download for mail or in-person


Student Manual

Photos of WTS in Action!

Instructor Photos

WTS Committee Contacts

Testimonial – Don’t Leave Home Without It

Denver Post article – 4/24/12

WTS Waiver

Wanted: WTS Instructors

Instructor Forms

Poetry Corner



Follow CMC Denver at @HikingDenver
Follow Colorado Mountain Club at @ColoradoMtnClub

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