WTS FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. How do I apply for the Wilderness Trekking School?
  2. What gear and equipment will I need?
  3. What is the Refund Policy?
  4. What if I miss a lecture or field day?
  5. What are the prerequisites for WTS?
  6. What if I am afraid to participate in an exercise?
  7. What is the cost of WTS?
  8. Who are the WTS instructors?
  9. Can I waive WTS?
  10. What are the differences between WTS and Backpacking School?
  11. What are the prerequisites for Technical Climbing School (formerly Basic Mountaineering School – BMS)?

1. How do I apply for the Wilderness Trekking School?

Sign up online HERE!  If the class is full, you can add your name to the waitlist, and we’ll ask you to complete the application if a spot becomes available. Flexibility on field days by selecting “Either Saturday or Sunday” will improve your admission opportunity.

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2. What gear and equipment will I need?

We strongly urge you to wait to purchase any new items until after the first lecture night. We also encourage you to borrow or find used gear until you know what best fits your needs. You will need normal hiking equipment, with particular emphasis on the Ten Essential Systems. The first lecture and group meeting and first field day (Dry Land Travel) will include information on gear and how to maximize use of items you may already own. Your instructor team will have a variety of suggestions for you.

Some important required items:

  • Compass:  A rectangular, mirrored compass is required for the course, with a rotating dial marked in 2 degree increments.
    • CMC technical schools require a compass with declination adjustment. WTS does not use this feature, but we encourage purchasing a compass that will meet your future needs.
    • WTS offers excellent versions, with or without declination adjustment, at a discount price of $30 or $40, during the first two lecture nights.
  • Boots:  sturdy enough for off-trail use and waterproof, $90 and up.
  • Daypack with hip belt: recommended size is 30-40 liters or more (minimum 2000 cubic inches), large enough to hold the Ten Essential Systems, $60 and up.
  • Hiking clothes that are not cotton.
  • Rain gear: rain jacket, rain pants, and possibly a pack cover, $20 and up.
  • Emergency shelter for an unexpected overnight: from a closed cell foam pad and plastic bag or tarp, up to a high tech bivy sack, $10 and up. WTS offers a 5’x7’ reflective tarp at a discount.
  • The Ten Essential Systems
  • Helmets and ice axes: WTS will provide for use on the Snow Day.
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3. What is the Refund Policy?

Tuition refund requests must be submitted in writing to the WTS Director via the CMC office. Requests made prior to the date of the first lecture will be processed at 100% of the amount paid less a $10.00 handling fee. No refunds will be made on or after the date of the first lecture.

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4. What if I miss a lecture or field day?

To graduate from the Wilderness Trekking School, students must attend all lectures, post-lecture group meetings, and participate in all required field days.

  • You may receive credit for up to two missed evening lectures by reviewing the lecture’s DVD, available for check out from the CMC office. Check with your instructor about making up small-group instruction materials.
  • You may get credit for missed field days by attending a different group’s field day (if space is available) or a make-up field day. Make-up field days will be held during the current session, subject to instructor availability. Up to two missed field days may also be taken during the next two WTS sessions without charge. If you miss more than two field days without making them up in the current session, you will need to retake the course.  Note – Students will have much more fun and more learning continuity if they are able to do all field days with their assigned group.

Please review the schedule carefully before enrolling to ensure you can fully participate.

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5. What are the prerequisites for WTS?

Admission to WTS is open to current CMC members who are at least 18.

Potential WTS students do not need to possess any previous hiking experience. Although much of the field days is instruction rather than active hiking, you will need sufficient conditioning and stamina to complete at least 3-4 miles on- or off-trail. (You will indicate your hiking level during registration.) The field trips cover a variety of terrain and varying degrees of difficulty in all types of weather conditions.  Be prepared to spend a full day (and many times, into the evening) in the field on every trip.  These trips will start at 6:00 to 8:00 am.

By the end of the course, you will need to have the gear and equipment (Ten Essentials) necessary to support the field trip exercises.

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6. What if I am afraid to participate in an exercise?

There are some exercises during the field trips that may be a little unsettling or uncomfortable until you have some instruction and safety assurances. We ask that you keep an open mind and be willing to try something new. No student will be required to do anything against his or her will.

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7. What other expenses can I expect?

Early Bird registration is $100 for current CMC Members; $120 beginning one week before class starts.

See question 2 above for gear and equipment requirements and costs.

Students are expected to reimburse drivers for their share of the CMC mileage rate of $.30 per mile per vehicle for travel from carpooling locations to the various field day destinations and to share in parking and park fees. Depending on the destinations, this could be a total cost per vehicle of $10 to $30.

Many groups opt to socialize after the field day.

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8. Who are the WTS instructors?

The instructors are all volunteers who wish to share their knowledge and love of hiking. Some have been teaching for many years. Senior instructors have assisted in previous WTS sessions, have been highly rated by students and assistants, and are current CMC trip leaders. Assistant instructors have successfully completed WTS, have been recommended by their instructors, and may also be trip leaders.

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9. Can I waive WTS?

For the sake of safety and integrity, WTS waivers are not granted lightly. You may download and print the WTS Waiver Application Form from this site.

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10. What are the differences between WTS and Backpacking School?

WTS is a prerequisite for Backpacking School as of 2016. WTS teaches you about day hiking, unplanned wilderness overnights, snow travel, and self-arrest techniques. Backpacking School requires the skills and knowledge taught in WTS and provides instruction and experience on overnight and multi-night trips. Please see the Backpacking School website for additional details.

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11. What are the prerequisites for Technical Climbing School (formerly Basic Mountaineering School – BMS)?

Please visit the Technical Climbing School website for more information.

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