Wilderness Trekking School (WTS)

Includes 5 evening in-person small group meetings, 5 streaming video lectures, and 5 field days (see Curriculum and FAQs for full details).

Please note that these website pages have been transferred to cmc.org, and will not be updated.

The class has started, and registration is closed. Registration for our Spring 2023 session will open in mid-February.

CMC covid protocols are detailed HERE.

Please review the schedule carefully before enrolling to ensure you can fully participate.  You can make up only one field day.

In-person Group Meeting Dates: Tuesdays: Sept 6, 13, 27; Oct 4, 18 (check-in opens 6:30 pm), American Mountaineering Center, 710 10th St, Golden, CO  80401

Your choice of one of these field day groups:

  • Thursday groups meet Sept 15, 22, and 29, Oct 20, Nov 17;
  • Saturday groups meet Sept 17 and 24, Oct 1 and 22, Nov 19;
  • Sunday groups meet Sept 18 and 25, Oct 2 and 23, Nov 20;

Enrollment fee: Early Bird registration is $150 before August 30 for current CMC Members; $170 on and after that date (class will probably be full well before then).

Wilderness Trekking School (WTS) is for all – whether you want to bag a few 14ers – OR – just want to enjoy the scenery. WTS is a great introduction to the Colorado Mountain Club and a place to meet new friends. WTS is Colorado Mountain Club’s largest school, a comprehensive course on mountain hiking. Students are all ages, from 18 to 70+. If you’re new to hiking, WTS gives you the opportunity to learn how to travel safely – and with confidence – in the backcountry. If you’re an experienced hiker, WTS gives you a chance to review, to enhance your skills, and possibly to fill in some gaps. WTS is a requirement for a Denver Group C hiker classification and is a prerequisite for Backpacking School.

Topics covered include gear, map & compass, weather, nutrition and hydration, backcountry emergency, travel techniques and avalanche awareness, Leave No Trace, and more.

The course consists of five Tuesday night in-person group meetings, five field days, five streaming videos, and weekly homework (yes, really!). Students view the videos and read the WTS Manual and related materials on their own, coming to the meetings prepared with their questions and contributions. Field days are outdoor education, typically travelling on trail for five or more miles. Students are divided into groups of 8-11, based on preferred field day, with some consideration for hiking level and age. Instructor teams consist of a senior instructor and two assistant instructors. Students have the opportunity to learn techniques of safe backcountry travel and to practice in a supportive environment. Students plan and complete a hike with their field group. WTS is a great place to learn and practice new skills, make new friends, and become a safe backcountry traveler.

Note: If you are unable to commit to this schedule and its team-based approach, you might consider taking Day Hiker School, which is a hybrid online and in-person modular approach to covering the same material. Details are at: Day Hiker School (cmc.org)

I thought I knew a lot about hiking. Was I wrong! WTS taught me so much more than I imagined.” –WTS Student



2022 Fall Schedule  2023 Spring tentative schedule

Online sign-up – Be sure to read all of the above info before signing up (Note – You will be asked to log into CMC.org at the bottom of the linked page.)

Student Manual and Learn More articles

Photos of WTS in Action!

Instructor Photos

WTS Committee Contacts

Testimonial – Don’t Leave Home Without It

Denver Post article – 4/24/12

WTS Waiver

Wanted: WTS Instructors

Instructor Forms

Poetry Corner



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