Course Format and Dates

The course's overnight field sessions are typically held on a fall weekend.  This may be supplemented with indoor study sessions on some preceding evenings in a Berkshires town location.

The field sessions begin by meeting at 8:00 on a Saturday morning at the Mount Greylock Ski Club.  (Note that the ski lodge is more akin to a backcountry hut, as it lacks running water and electricity.)
Your pack should be ready to go for a two-day/one-night backpacking trip, complete with food and initial water (to be supplemented by naturally available sources, with appropriate treatment).  We will begin the course with an indoors show & tell of the instructors’ packs, followed by a detailed inspection of each student’s pack.  Students who are not sufficiently prepared must leave the course at this point and will receive an Incomplete grade.

Once we are all ready to go, we will spend all the rest of the weekend in the field, learning the following activities by actually doing them (as opposed to just talking about them inside) as a team:
  • navigating and traveling to various destinations, both on-trail and off-trail
  • adjusting travels plans accordingly for current and anticipated weather conditions
  • staying properly fueled and hydrated
  • managing clothing systems for the outdoor environment
  • implementing Leave No Trace ("LNT") principles
  • setting up tents and other sleeping arrangements for the night
  • conducting a missing-person(s) search employing ICS principles
  • rigging mechanical advantage systems with ropework skills
  • providing wilderness emergency care
  • constructing emergency shelters
  • practicing patient extrication/evacuation
We will return to the Ski Club lodge Sunday afternoon for a show & tell of winter travel gear (including practice with emergency sled construction and an overview of some very basic ice axe and crampons instruction) as well as a final course debriefing, concluding by 5:00 in the evening.

You can view -- and encouraged to bring with you -- this comprehensive checklist for all the topics we will cover, and how we will cover (i.e., already covered through the assigned reading and review quiz, already covered through other specific assignments, to be covered via travelling and sleeping in the field overnight, and/or to be covered by specific activities in the classroom or in the field.)

Finally, note that dogs are prohibited.  Also, attendance at the course is restricted to enrolled students. Friends, family, etc., are certainly welcome to join in the many recreational opportunities available to the public at the Mount Greylock State Reservation, but they should not plan on listening in, observing, tagging along, etc. during course activities.