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Courses | Committee | Documents

The Tacoma Mountaineers Wilderness Navigation Course consists of two evening workshops and a full-day field trip at The Mountaineers' Irish Cabin property (located near the Carbon River entrance to MRNP). Course participants have required reading and homework assignments and a final exam. Introductory GPS information is covered in the second workshop.

This course provides an introduction to skills needed to navigate safely while participating in outdoor activities. During the course you will learn to relate features on a topographical map to your surroundings, use your compass to determine bearings to objects in the field, use a map to determine your location and desired direction of travel. Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a navigation card valid for three years.

Basic Navigation certification is required for graduation from several courses including Alpine Scrambles, Basic Climbing and Winter Travel.

Controlled Risk: Participants must be aware that the navigation field trip has some degree of risk. The course involves travel through steep rugged terrain with fallen trees, slippery logs, rock and swampy areas adjacent to streams. Rain, cold and possibly snow may create challenging conditions.

Required Text: Mountaineering, The Freedom of the Hills, 8th Edition --or-- Wilderness Navigation by Burns & Burns, 2nd Edition is required for the course. If you are registered or planning to register for other club courses, purchase Mountaineering, Freedom of the Hills. It is the standard text for many Mountaineering courses. Both books are available at the club bookstore for a 20% discount. Either book may also be found at other booksellers.

Clothing and Equipment: Note---A mirrored sighting compass is required at both lectures and the field trip. The compass requirements are found in the Navigation Manual. Review the required features before you purchase a compass. Participants in the field trip should have rugged boots that can keep their feet warm and dry. Standard mountaineering clothes (wool, synthetic - NO COTTON), adequate rain gear, plenty of food and water, a backpack and the 10 Essential Systems need to be carried. If you are not familiar with the type of equipment needed, contact the navigation chair for more information.

Homework Assignment (prior to the first workshop): A homework assignment is required to be completed before the first workshop. The Pre-Workshop Homework and the Navigation Manual are available for viewing and printing. If you do not have email or ability to download these files, contact the committee records person and a copy will be mailed to you. Students must have a copy of either Mountaineering, the Freedom of the Hills or Wilderness Navigation by Burns & Burns to do the homework. Bring the completed homework , text (Mountaineering, Freedom of the Hills or Wilderness Navigation by burns & Burns), pencil, ruler and the approved compass to the workshop. If you have trouble reading fine print, a small light and magnifying glass may be helpful.

Eligibility requirements: Course participants must be at least 14 years of age. 14-17 year olds must complete the parental permission form and already be accepted in a Tacoma course requiring navigation or be interviewed and accepted by the committee chair. The course has a limit of 40 students and if necessary, priority is given to Tacoma Mountaineers enrolled in courses requiring navigation as a prerequisite for graduation, followed by other club members in a similar situation.

Navigation Course Fees: The course fee is $55 for members and $85 for non-members. The course fee includes the topographic map used in class, handouts and a student field trip booklet. The fee is paid with a credit card when you register online.

How to Register: Check for classes here

You may also register by contacting the Records person and completing the required paperwork by mail.

Club members and non-members must have a signed and dated Release and Indemnity Agreement on file at the Mountaineers main office to participate in this course.

CourseStart DateSign-Up
Basic GPSCheck Back Fall 2014
Basic NavigationApril 1 - 12
Basic NavigationApril 22 - May 4
Basic NavigationSept. 10 - 20

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Navigation Committee
Chair Rick Finkle
Co-Chair Scott Schissel
Past Chair Michael Baker
Secretary Michael Guio
Librarian Susan Rowe
Librarian Anne Corley
Leader Kevin DeFields
Field Trips Gary Zink
Instructor Brian Looper
Instructor Steve Frank

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Pre-Workshop Assignment
Navigation Course Manual
Compass Requirements

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