Backpacking school – Free classes in May

If you dream of going on long day trips or even going overnight in the wildest and most beautiful places, the you might want to attend this free two-day free seminar.

The Inter-Mountain Alpine Club is offering its annual two-day Backpacking School.

This colorful, lively and packed to the gills set of live presentations is a combination of indoor and outdoor classes designed to teach you what you need to know to get started backpacking on your own.

The purpose of the backpacking school is to prepare you for comfortable and safe multi-day backpacking trips. The classes introduce people with little-to-no outdoors experience to a new and exciting hobby. No prior experience in the outdoors is required.

The instructors are veterans – volunteers with years of wilderness hiking and backpacking experience. They offer insights into what you need to know along with the latest in techniques, materials, tools and technology.

Topics include: the essentials, clothing, conditioning, packs, tents, sleeping systems, map and topography basics, compass and route planning, navigation strategy, digital navigation using smart phones, cooking and nutrition, hygiene and water purification, using the Internet, GPS, cell phones, stoves, other gear, first aid, safety, pets, children, and rescue techniques.

The first day is held indoors on Saturday May 6, 2023 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, in the L-102 Lecture Hall at the Student Center on the Columbia Basin College in Pasco. Room capacity is 130 but it is still wise to register ahead of time and get there early to allow time for parking.

The second day is an outdoor hands-on field demonstration of critical equipment at Leslie Groves Park in Richland on Sunday May 7, 2023 from 9:00 AM to 2 :00 PM. There will be several equipment areas and instructors will explain and demonstrate how to use a variety of types of gear. There will also be a first aid class.

The course utilizes The Backpacker’s Field Manual, by Cornell University Professor Rick Curtis, available on line.

The course culminates in an overnight backpacking trip near Mount Rainier.

Students are also recommended to join the Inter-Mountain Alpine Club before the school. Membership will get you access to more information about hiking and backpacking, the numerous scheduled trips, and other events.

The school is free and open to the public. Registration in advance is required as spacing is limited.

Additional information is available at

To register and reserve your place in the class, send an email to You will receive a confirmation by email along with additional guidance on taking the classes.  Students will also receive a copy of the course materials after each class.


May 06 2023 - May 07 2023


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