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Wilderness Leadership Course

Who do you consider to be a successful leader? What are the qualities that you look for in a leader? As you progress in your climbing, you may be looking to organize and lead trips yourself. Perhaps you have taken a basic climbing course and are wondering about the next step?
The Course Mission Statement is “To educate participants in wilderness leadership, while underscoring the core values of our community; that of informed active participation, the power of the team, and the camaraderie of mountain travel.”

More than technical skills, managerial ability and logistical planning, wilderness leadership requires an understanding of group dynamics, the importance of careful preparation and effective team communication, and knowing the value and power of group decision making.
In this course, we teach the fundamental concepts and skills needed to plan, organize, and lead an outing in the mountains. Beginning with a review of the literature on outdoor leadership, the course covers trip planning, wilderness navigation, team dynamics, decision making, communication, team building, risk assessment and crisis response. The goal is for students to learn how to build and lead climbing teams comprised of informed, active participants.
Students will develop travel agendas as well as spend time leading the class during the field sessions. While the skills taught in this course are specifically designed to encourage and teach mountaineering leadership, they also work to develop your skills as an active and invaluable climb team member.

Course Requirements

Applicants must have completed the Bushwhacker Basic Glacier Climbing Course or the Backcountry Scramble Course or equivalent. Participants must be comfortable in the skills of snow travel, map and compass, ice axe arrest, and snow camping. The field sessions are strenuous, involving off trail snow travel in the Cascade Mountains.
The course consists of five classroom sessions and four field sessions. Class room sessions are from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.  The location is typically north Seattle.  Also note that there is a graduation night that, while not mandatory, is strongly advised.  Note: Attendance at all class and field sessions is mandatory in order to complete the course. Field sessions may be rescheduled due to conditions.

Cost of the Course

 The cost for the course is $250.

Status of the Course

 COVID-19 update 12/20: Due to the continuing pandemic, the Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person 2021 events and courses through the winter and spring. This includes our 2021 Basic Glacier Climbing course and our 2021 Wilderness Leadership course.

Example Course Schedule (from 2018)
Classroom: Tuesdays, May 29 -June 26th
Field Session I Saturday, June 2
Field Session II Saturday,June 16
Field Session III June 30 - July 1

Header photo graciously donated by Stephen Matera Photography.