The Course

Three Decades of Quality Instruction.  For three decases (and previous decades operating as a different course (known as Basic Mountaineering or BMTC), experienced Sierra Club instructors have taught wilderness skills to thousands of Southern Californians . Each year we instruct several hundred students in small groups with a very high instructor to student ratio that provides plenty of one on one instruction. These small groups remain together for the duration of the class, building a true sense of camaraderie among the students. For many, WTC provides not only valuable skills and knowledge, but also lasting friendships.

Take the first step towards a lifetime of wilderness adventures. Sign up today for the Wilderness Travel Course. It just might change your life!

Classroom Instruction: During the course, you can expect expert classroom instruction in the following areas:

  • Navigation techniques using map and compass
  • Gear selection including the “must have” ten essentials
  • Clothing selection for various environs from desert to mountains
  • Conditioning tips to help you prepare for your adventures
  • Minimum impact camping to insure that you protect the areas you visit
  • Safety issues while traveling in the desert or mountains
  • Basic wilderness first aid to handle common ailments and situations
  • Backpacking food that is light, packable, nutritious, and enjoyable

Hands-On Outings: You will also receive hands-on field instruction in both desert and mountain locations that cover the following skills:

  • Field navigation exercises in real world situations
  • Determining the best off trail routes
  • Basic rock maneuvers and techniques
  • Selecting and setting up campsites
  • Reading snow conditions to avoid avalanche danger
  • Use of snowshoes in winter travel (snow shoes are provided by the WTC)
  • Building of emergency shelters
  • How to make water safe to drink
  • Putting Leave No Trace principles into practice

Safety: Gain the knowledge and skills to be safe in the backcountry

  • Protect yourself from nature’s dangers
  • Stay warm and safe in extreme weather conditions
  • Travel safely in snow
  • Understand high altitude acclimatization
  • Learn from highly-experienced instructors

Maximize Your Dollars: Invest your recreation money wisely

  • Minimize your expenses by learning to buy the right gear
  • Discover inexpensive weekend getaways
  • Receive low-cost training and experience from a respected organization
  • Receive discounts from outdoor retailers

Challenge and Adventure: Attain new summits of your own potential

  • Experience the freedom of the wilderness
  • Leave the trail and the crowds behind
  • Learn basic rock scrambling at Joshua Tree
  • Feel the rush from summiting High Sierra peaks
  • Backpack with confidence

Fun and Friends: Share fun times and make new friends

  • Meet new hiking partners
  • Explore secluded mountain lakes
  • Share stories and food around the campfire

Comfort: Learn to travel, eat, and sleep more comfortably in any climate

  • Keep your feet warm and comfortable
  • Eat appetizing meals when backpacking
  • Understand the many fabric types
  • Lighten your pack
  • Sleep comfortably in the wilderness
  • Stay Warm in snow
Sierra Club Members Non-Members
Early Application Discount Fees
Ends December 15th, 2024
$450 $485
Standard Course Fees $465 $500

*Price does not include compass or Freedom of the Hills textbook.

This course does not include instruction in the use of ropes, ice axes, crampons or other climbing aids for rock climbing and snow travel, nor is the use of such aids by students permitted during the course.

Sierra Club-Angeles Chapter operates under permit from the Inyo National Forest.

Non-discrimination statement:

“In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible State or local Agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information is also available in languages other than English.

To file a complaint alleging discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at, or at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provided in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (a) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (b) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (c) email:”

 USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.”