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Wilderness Studies

How do you prepare for the rigorous physical requirements of high elevation adventure? Strength and endurance are key, but are only part of a more complex equation. How do you prepare for changes in altitude, exposure, diet, etc.? How do you mentally prepare? Learn from others and share what you know about training in advance for outdoor adventures.
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Wilderness Studies

Postby Tollermom » Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:34 am

I discovered that Lake Tahoe Community College has a Wilderness Studies program. They have credited classes in several topics. Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Water Rescue, Avalanche, Ultralight Backpacking, Mountaineering, Wilderness First Aid, Leadership, Map/Compass. You name it, they have it.

I signed up for the Map/Compass/GPS because the 2 hour long class I took at REI was pathetic using an over-photocopied map of Timbuktu (literally!) and a lesson in triangulating the stairwell from our desk in the class/storeroom in Reno. This class at LTCC is two weekends long (32 hours) of some lecture and mostly field work. I'm really excited to learn the skills that will give me confidence to try some of the lovely cross-country/off path trips I see reported on HST. It will also give me confidence to venture out more on my own.

I live in Nevada but there was a bill passed that if you went to high school in CA for three years and graduated, you qualify for in-state tuition rates! This class will cost me just $58 instead of $300 in tuition.



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Re: Wilderness Studies

Postby rlown » Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:25 pm

you don't need the class confidence, but a good approach. you won't get lost. Pick your targets and go with it. It's actually fun.

Even if you do get lost, you will find your way. Just relax, look at your map, or GPS and go. If you think you're lost at the end of day, hunker down and rest. Tomorrow is a new day.

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Re: Wilderness Studies

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:50 pm

Rlown wrote:
you don't need the class confidence, but a good approach. you won't get lost. Pick
your targets and go with it. It's actually fun.

Even if you do get lost, you will find your way. Just relax, look at your map, or GPS
and go. If you think you're lost at the end of day, hunker down and rest. Tomorrow
is a new day.



Do what you (Tollermom) needs to do to build your self confidence. Each one
of us are unique beings, and what works for one, may not work for another. If the class
environment allows you to achieve the freedom to roam in the Sierra, then great.
Looking forward to hearing back from you after you've put your classroom experience to
use in the back-country.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Wilderness Studies

Postby rlown » Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:40 pm

Never said the classes weren't a good idea. but also practice for when the batteries fail. Experience builds more confidence on what you learn in your class. One exercise would be to turn off the GPS and do it the old fashioned way with a map.

It's not as hard as you think.

Which classes are you going to take?
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Re: Wilderness Studies

Postby k9mark » Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:50 pm

The one item that has been around for centuries and wont fail due to batteries or cloud cover, or whatever is the good old fashioned compass. Learn to use it and be proficient in it before you even think about GPS. To me GPS is a crutch people use instead of good ole navigation with map and compass which won't fail. Unless of course your in SAR, or calling in artillery rounds and air strikes, then by all means get yourself a GPS. :lol:
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Re: Wilderness Studies

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:54 pm

Although you can learn to "read a map" on your own, trial and error, sufficient to find your way in the wilderness, a good class is worth the money and effort. Maps and cartography are complex subjects and if this interests you, then it adds a lot of richness to your wilderness experience. Similar to knowing the details of flora and fauna. Geologic cartography is very interesting. Certain rock terrain have characteristic topographic line traces. I also find the knowing the various map projections very interesting. The history of map making is fascinating! Classes that incorporate on ground experience along with theory are particularly good. Looks like you found a great resource! Thanks for letting us know about this.
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Re: Wilderness Studies

Postby k9mark » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:57 pm

Here's a little tidbit I learned in the military many many moons ago, and I would suspect they will teach you this in class too. In the northern hemisphere, take your watch and point the hour hand towards the sun. Halfway between it and 12 will be south. :)
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Re: Wilderness Studies

Postby rlown » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:02 pm

that's good to know, i guess. In the Sierra, i'm thinking if you can't figure out N/S, you have bigger problems. :)


still nice to know. maybe i should carry a watch again. with hands...

the other way is to put a stick in the dirt and mark the shadow and then after 15 mins mark the other end and it gives you an E-W line. then, N-S is obvious from there.

All works well until the storm and then you should be in your tent. :)
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Re: Wilderness Studies

Postby Tollermom » Thu May 01, 2014 7:33 am

Raising my hand here for my ignorance of innately knowing directions in the Sierra. Hence the field class in map, compass and GPS. I really only use my GPS for tracking my miles and would not rely exclusively on it for finding my way. It will be nice to learn how it is intended to work, though. I went hiking a couple years ago on one of the Charity Valley trails from Blue Lakes Road with a group of people, several who were in the Sierra Club and a couple who were hike leaders. We were headed towards Grover and sort of lost the trail in one of the rocky ravines and even tho we had maps and compasses, not ONE of us could really figure it out. Sad. That left me desiring to get the skills. We'll be using Nat Geo map 803 for the Lake Tahoe Basin and Wilderness Navigation:Finding your way using Map, Compass, Altimeter and GPS by Burns.
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Re: Wilderness Studies

Postby Tollermom » Wed May 21, 2014 7:21 am

The class was a success! Learned to account for declination (although I would just set my compass and leave it). Triangulation makes much more sense when you can actually stand on a rocky peak and shoot bearings on familiar areas, then lay it on a map. We did several team orienteering routes with coordinates given by the other team and hidden on post-it notes under rocks..alternating bearing degrees on the compass and UTM coordinates on GPS. Pretty cool class. Looking forward to pulling out the map/compass and exploring.
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Re: Wilderness Studies

Postby maverick » Wed May 21, 2014 9:11 am

Great Tollermom! Hope this allows you to gain more confidence, which in turn allows
you to expand you limits when in comes to backpacking or any other outdoor adventures!
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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