This 11-week course includes classroom lectures with demonstrations and four overnight outings covering all the topics you need to learn how to safely enjoy hiking, camping, and backpacking.

Please be advised that while the classroom portion of the WBC requires little physical exertion, the four outings require that participants be in good physical condition and have the ability to hike carrying approximately 40 pounds of weight. It is up to the discretion of the trip leader as to whether a participant’s physical condition is sufficient for the trip.

The 2024 class has reached capacity and is not taking new registrations at this time.

2024 Schedule

Example Curriculum

Week 1 

  • Understanding the Topo Map
  • Conditioning hikes/hike rating system
  • Boots, socks, foot care
  • Sleeping bags and pads
  • Fitness and Conditioning
  • Outings sign-up process

Week 2

  • Intro to Map and Compass
  • The 10 Essentials
  • Tents
  • Monserate evaluation hike overview
  • Stoves and cookware
  • Desert travel

Week 3

  • Map and compass training
  • Car Camp overview/sign-ups
  • Backpacks
  • Car Camp pre-trip meeting

Week 4

  • Evaluation hike results
  • Outdoor ethics
  • Safety and rescue
  • Film: Survival

Week 5

  • Food ideas for backpack menus and preparations
  • Desert Backpack overviews/sign-ups
  • Lightweight backpacking
  • Desert Backpack pre-trip meeting

Week 6

  • Water filters and treatment
  • Weather
  • COL training
  • First aid
  • John Muir and the Sierra Club

Week 7

  • Mountain travel
  • Mountain Backpack overview/sign-ups
  • Bear canisters
  • Snow Camp overview
  • Mountain Backpack pre-trip meeting

Week 8

  • Winter gear layering for Snow Camp
  • Snow Camp overview/sign-ups
  • Expectations for next class: Snow Camp equipment check
  • Snow Camp leader expectations

Week 9

  • Animal Encounters
  • Film: Land of One Season
  • Snow Camp equipment check

Week 10

  • Announcements
  • COL Training

Week 11 

  • Final Activity 
  • Summer hike schedule
  • Staying in touch
  • Other announcements