Backcountry Navigation 1

Backcountry Navigation 1
Backcountry Navigation 1
Sunset on Mt Shasta in California
Skier arcing a turn on Mt Shasta
Skier making a turn on Mt Shasta in California

The ability to navigate accurately is the most important skill for anyone heading into the mountains. If you are an aspiring mountaineer, backcountry skier or just love to recreate outdoors, knowing how to use a map and compass is an essential skill.

This land navigation course is great for people of all experience levels. It is designed for those who have never used a map and compass to navigate in the wilderness as well as for folks that just want to brush up on their skillset. 

On the course we’ll discuss the basics of land navigation utilizing an “Old School” map and compass.

You'll learn:

  • Basic Route Planning
  • Map Scales
  • Grid System and Grid References
  • Map Symbols
  • Contour Lines and basic interpretation
  • Use of the compass to take bearings from a map
  • Walking on general compass bearings
  • Identifying large features on a map and then finding them in the surrounding area
  • Hand Railing large features
  • Macro or large area navigation techniques
  • How to re-orientate yourself if you do get lost


There are no prerequisites for this program.

    Backcountry Navigation 1
    Backcountry Navigation 1
    Sunset on Mt Shasta in California
    Skier arcing a turn on Mt Shasta
    Skier making a turn on Mt Shasta in California
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Backcountry Navigation 1
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Sunset on Mt Shasta in California
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Skier arcing a turn on Mt Shasta
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Skier making a turn on Mt Shasta in California


    Available Dates

    December 11-12


    See sidebar for prices.




    Shasta Ski Mountaineering Gear Guide

    Gear Guide / Packing List


    Backcountry Touring Gear

    Alpine Touring Skis or Splitboard - Light to Midweight Setup with “Tech Bindings”

    Alpine Touring Boots or Splitboard Compatible Boots; Scarpa F1

    Ski Poles - Lightweight, Adjustable Poles with Baskets; BD Expedition 3 Poles

    Climbing Skins - Mohair Mix is Best; Black Diamond GlideLite Mohair Mix,

    Ski Crampons - Specific to your Skis/Board; 

    Ski Strap - Voile Ski Strap or Similar

    Avalanche Gear

    Avalanche Beacon - Digital Avalanche Transceiver; Black Diamond Guide Recon BT

    Avalanche Shovel - Collapsible, Aluminum Shovel; Backcountry Access BT2 Shovel

    Avalanche Probe - Quickdraw Style Probe; Backcountry Access Stealth 300

    Head and Neck Layers

    Sun Hat - A Baseball Hat; Blackbird Mountain Guides Logo Hat

    Sunglasses - Dark Lens Glasses with Side Coverage; Julbo Shield

    Goggles - Ski Goggles with a Storm Lens; Julbo Aerospace Reactive

    Warm Hat - Lightweight Warm Hat that Fits Under Your Helmet; 

    Neck Gaiter - Light to Midweight Neck Gaiters; Buff or your favorite Face Masks 

    ***These Are Required as Covid-19 Face Coverings


    Upper Body and Hand Layers

    Long Sleeve Base Layer - Lightweight, Synthetic/Wool; Patagonia SunHoody

    2 Insulating Top Layers - Light to Midweight Insulation Layers; Patagonia R1 & NanoAir

    Puffy - Midweight Down or Synthetic with Hood; Patagonia Fitzroy or similar

    Hardshell Jacket, Hooded - Waterproof, Light, Gore-Tex, NOT insulated; Arc’Teryx Alpha FL

    Light Gloves - Light to Mid Weight for Warm Temps; Flylow John Henry Gloves, BD Tour

    Midweight Gloves - Mid to Heavy Weight for Cold Conditions; BD Legend

    Sports Bra - Wool/Synthetic

    Lower Body and Foot Layers

    Socks - Midweight Wool/Synthetic; Darn Tough Via Ferrata

    Underwear - Wool/Synthetic

    Long Underwear - Wool/Synthetic “Long Johns”;  Patagonia Capilene Air

    Softshell Ski Pants - Breathable, Weather Resistant Pants; OR Trailbreaker II

    Vented Hardshell Ski Pants - (Conditions dependent) Waterproof Pants for Extreme Weather

    Food and Water

    Water - For a full day in the field

    Food - Snacks and Lunch food for a full day in the field

    Other Essentials

    ☐ Sun Screen (SPF 30 minimum)

    ☐ Lip Balm (with SPF)



    First Aid/blister Kit

    Chemical Hand Warmers

    Hydration System - Flexible Water Bladder with Hose; Hydrapak, Camelback, Platypus


    Group Gear

    Blackbird Mountain Guides will supply all of the group gear for the trip, including:

    ✔ Guide’s First Aid Kits

    ✔ Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)

    Know Before You Go


    Truckee / North Lake Tahoe



    Technical Difficulty ⚫⚪⚪⚪⚪

    This program is meant for people with no ski mountaineering skills or experience other than ski touring. You will be expected to be able to ski advanced to expert terrain in variable conditions.

    Difficulty ⚫⚪⚪⚪⚪

    Participants should be comfortable hiking on trails with light packs for a short distance.

    Trip Length

    Autonomous Online Course (3hrs)

    1 Day in the field

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