The Wilderness Instructor Course is designed to prepare outdoor leaders with the necessary tools to lead courses and expeditions in technical and non-technical terrain. This course is used to train instructors in the outdoor leadership skills required of a Summit Adventure instructor. The course is also open to individuals seeking professional development to transfer to other programs in the industry. Whether instructing for Summit Adventure or for another organization, this course equips future leaders with the skills and knowledge to lead with confidence in backcountry environments.
The course takes place in the southern Yosemite region of the Sierra Nevada. This type of terrain provides a perfect setting to facilitate backcountry leadership skills. The Wilderness Instructor Course curriculum focuses on both technical and non-technical leadership. Technical leadership training includes topics such as mountain travel, top-rope site management, backcountry judgment and decision making, orienteering and navigation. Non-technical leadership training topics include lesson planning, group dynamics, spiritual leadership, faith-based discussion leading, small group facilitation and communication.
This course also includes an ongoing evaluation process designed to allow the student to set specific goals throughout this time of instruction. The students will receive feedback on their progress during and after their field experience.
- Backcountry navigation
- Technical rock skill development for institutional settings
- Facilitation skill development
- Independent travel
- Expedition planning
The following is an outline of what an Instructor Course can include but is subject to the discretion of the instructors.
Day 1: Arrival
You will arrive in Bass Lake, California, where you will be welcomed by a Summit Adventure instructor and the other students. There will be a brief orientation. The afternoon will be comprised of course planning and logistics related to the expedition.
Day 2: Introduction/Beginnings
Each day typically begins with a time of devotion and reflection we call “Focus.” Teaching topics may include instructor judgment, expedition planning and soft skill development.
Day 3: Rock Site Introduction
After a “Focus” time, the day will focus on introductions to the rock climbing and the technical systems that are involved in a Summit Adventure course. Other topics may include soft skill techniques such as the leading of activities and facilitation.
Day 4: Rock Site Continued
The activities will continue to focus on preparing instructors to lead in discussions as well as in technical scenarios such as climbing and rappelling.
Day 5-9: Wilderness Travel
The next phase will prepare individuals for wilderness travel. Groups will typically travel three to six miles per day gaining skills and learning techniques along the way. Students will receive a “mid-course check-in and evaluation.” At this point in the course they may help lead “Focus” times and help out in other leadership capacities.
Day 10-11: Final: Student-led Expedition
Students will plan and implement an independent travel section where they will work with instructors to coordinate two days of travel depending on the skills and techniques they have gained so far.
Day 12: Course End
Students will return to Bass Lake where they will celebrate their accomplishments and receive a certificate upon completion. The necessary course wrap-up will take place before a hearty lunch is enjoyed. Students will return home following lunch.