Course Description

This is a backcountry trip with camping in unestablished, wilderness campsites. Students will travel either in the San Juans or West Elks Wilderness over moderate distances (2-7 miles/day) Take advantage of this opportunity to learn the skills necessary to enjoy camping and traveling in this beautiful backcountry setting. Be prepared to hike several miles a day over passes and peaks at altitudes over 11,000 feet. And remember— bring your camera! 

Registration opens June 1, 2017

Full Course Description


This is an entirely backcountry course that will take you deep into the San Juan Mountains or West Elks Wilderness. You will spend the first day hiking into the backcountry and will be taught how to properly pack your backpack and LNT techniques for traveling and camping.  As you get higher into the backcountry, you will have the chance to be leader of the day and guide the group using navigation skills your instructors will teach you.  The San Juans and West Elks are both high ranges of the Rockies and participants should be prepared for carrying heavy packs at altitudes of 11,000+ feet. We recommend at least 3 days of acclimation if you are coming from sea level! Proper acclimation, hydration and nutrition are crucial for a successful trip. This course is capped at 12 participants.

Check out our Backpacking Video to get an idea why Backpacking is more than just... backpacking. This video features the Blackridge Wilderness, where we hike for our Mid-fall break trip. Wilderness Based Orientation trips take place in an alpine environment.


Course Paperwork: Students must register through MyWestern after June 1. These documents are provided as reference. Official packet will be sent out upon registration.

WBO Checklist

Equipment List

WBO Medical Form

Wilderness Pursuits Waiver

Information for your Instructors

Essential Eligibility

Commitment to Excellence