WBC Schedule 2024
The Wilderness Basics Course is a concentrated learning experience that starts in January and runs for 10 weeks. Class takes place on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm. Formal presentations start at 7:00 pm. On occasion, class will end at 9:30 pm. We do our very best to adhere to the class schedule. Please note that the schedule is subject to change.
Our Staff and Leaders work hard to provide the presentations, demonstrations, and outings for the course. We strongly encourage students to clear their calendars during these weeks to take full advantage of all class activities and outings.
Students need to complete a timed day hike at the beginning of the course to be able to sign up for trips.
2024 CLASS SCHEDULE
Arrive early to pick up your registration packet. Meet and greet staff. Day Hike instructions and sign‐up.
Lecture Topics: Introduction to WBC Staff & Class Procedures, Footwear, Ten Essentials
Be Prepared! Do some conditioning hikes. Come ready to enjoy and explore!
Car Camp Leader Q & A
Car Camp overviews by leaders and car camp sign-up
Lecture Topics: Warm Climate Clothing, Backpacking Equipment
Car Camp planning meeting with your leaders and group
Lecture Topics: Fitness and Conditioning, Food and Nutrition, Topographic Maps, Backcountry Hygiene
Mountain/Desert Backpack Leader Q & A
Mountain/Desert Backpack overviews by leaders and trip sign‐up
Lecture Topics: Leave No Trace & Outdoor Ethics, First Aid, Animal Encounters
Mountain/Desert Backpack planning meeting with your leaders and group
Lecture Topics: Desert Flora and Fauna, Compass Skills, Water Treatment
Land Navigation Backpack Leader Q & A
Trip Planning Land Navigation Backpack: Overviews by Leaders and Trip Sign‐Up
Lecture Topics: Emergency Sheltering and Fire Building, Weather, Smartphone GPS
Land Navigation Backpack planning meeting with your leaders and group
Lecture Topics: Snow Camp Information, Planning Your Own Outing, Winter Clothing and Equipment
Snow Camp Leader Q & A
Snow Camp overviews by leaders, trip sign‐up and planning session
Lecture Topics: Environmental Illness
Sierra Club Sections
Make Up Outings Leader Q & A
Snow Camp Logistics and Equipment Check. Be Prepared, Bring your Snow Camp Equipment and Clothing.
Make Up Outings overviews by leaders and trip sign‐up.
Lecture Topics: Lighten Your Load, Sierra Club Sections Night
Make Up Outing planning meeting with your leaders and group
Lecture Topics: Bus and Ski Trips, Provisioning for Multi‐Day Trips
Photo Contest Winners
Last Class Bash
2024 Outings SCHEDULE
Jan 20 or 21
Day Hike / Choose Saturday or Sunday
FEB 3 – 4
FEB 10 – 11
FEB 17 – 18
FEB 24 – 25
Mar 2 – 3
Land Navigation Backpack
Mar 9 – 10
Mar 15 – 17
Snow Camp (Tentative Choice of Mammoth Lakes Area on March 15 – 17 or Local Mountains on March 16 – 17)
Mar 23 – 24
Alternate Weekend* (Tentative)
Mar 30 – 31
Only for students who need a trip to graduate. Make Up Outings (Car Camp, Mountain/Desert Backpack, Land Navigation Backpack)
APR 6 – 7
Only for students who need a trip to graduate. Make Up Outings (Car Camp, Mountain/Desert Backpack, Land Navigation Backpack)
*All students are encouraged to participate on the main weekend of an outing. We understand that it may not always be possible and we offer a very limited number of trips on the Alternate Weekend.
2024 SPECIAL EVENTS
May 31 – June 2
TRIP SUMMARIES 2024
The Wilderness Basics Course usually takes place in January and Trip Summaries are posted at that time. Our trips vary in level of difficulty by distance, terrain and elevation.
We encourage you to start your conditioning program early. We invite you to participate in free hikes led by the Sierra Club San Diego. Check out the Sierra Club San Diego’s Hiking Calendar.
OUTING RATING SYSTEM
Hike and Backpack Rating System:
The rating system is a 3-part code describing the difficulty of the outing. The first part, a capital letter, refers to the difficulty of the trip; the second part, a number, states the number of miles that will be traveled (it’s the longest day for a multi-day trip); and the last part, another capital letter, refers to the total elevation gain or loss for the day.
E = Easy: Anyone in reasonable condition can do this trip.
M = Moderate: You must be in good shape, but previous hiking experience is not required.
H = Hard: You should have comfortably done a few moderate trips before attempting this. Look carefully at the mileage and elevation gain.
S = Strenuous: Talk about this trip with the leader. A fast pace or other challenges may be involved.
This is the number of miles, rounded to the nearest mile, traveled (it’s the longest day for a multi-day trip).
A = less than 500 ft.
B = 500 – 1,000 ft.
C = 1,001 – 2,000 ft.
D = 2,001 – 3,000 ft.
E = over 3,000 ft.
U = Unrated
M8C is a moderately difficult day hike which requires going 8 miles (on the longest day for a multi-day trip), and which could climb or descend up to 2,000 ft (in any one day for a multi-day trip).
GEAR: THE TEN ESSENTIALS, EQUIPMENT, and clothing
We encourage all students to either borrow or rent their gear until they get more familiar with all of the different types of equipment available. It is also important to get familiar with your equipment prior to going on a hike/backpack.
Below is a list of the “Ten Essentials”, the items that every hiker should carry in his or her pack at all times, and also other items that we think you should consider bringing on your trips. Please note that there is no absolute list. Every hike brings its own challenges, and may require different types of equipment. But we hope this list will help you think through what you think you may need to have a safe and enjoyable experience.
THE TEN ESSENTIALS
- Navigation (map and compass)
- Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat)
- Insulation (clothing)
- Illumination (headlamp, flashlight)
- First aid kit
- Fire starter (matches, lighter)
- Repair kit (knife, tools)
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (extra water)
- Emergency shelter (rain gear, poncho, space blanket)
eHandouts are uploaded weekly based on the week’s presentations.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU OFFER THE WILDERNESS BASICS COURSE (WBC)?
This course is offered once a year, starting in January for ten weeks. In 2024, the course starts on Tuesday, January 16th.
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WILDERNESS BASICS COURSE (WBC)?
WHERE IS THE WILDERNESS BASICS COURSE HELD?
The course is held at the First United Methodist Church – Linder Hall in Mission Valley. There is also a course held in Escondido at San Pasqual High School. The North County course runs separately from the San Diego WBC and you will need to contact them to get more information about their course.
WHAT TIME DOES THE CLASS START?
The course starts at 6:30 PM every Tuesday night and lasts until 9:30 PM. Formal presentations start at 7:00 PM.
CAN I PRE-REGISTER?
No. However, you may sign up to receive our Registration Reminder email that will be sent out when registration for WBC officially opens. Upon receiving the notification that registration is open, you must access our website to register and pay for your spot in the course. Registration happens online only and will open in December. Please note that signing up for the Registration Reminder does NOT register you for the class.
HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR THE WILDERNESS BASICS COURSE?
Registration opens in December. The exact date and time will be announced. Please visit the registration page to sign up.
HOW IS COVID-19 IMPACTING THE WILDERNESS BASICS COURSE?
COVID-19 vaccinations and face masks are not required.
CAN I USE MY CREDIT CARD TO PAY?
Yes, we accept VISA, Mastercard, AMEX, Discover, PayPal and check through PayPal. Registration is on a first-come basis and after we reach our class maximum of students that have paid, registration will be closed and a waiting list will be created. In the past five years, we have not had space on the first night of class.
IS THE WILDERNESS BASICS COURSE OPEN TO MINORS?
No, the San Diego Wilderness Basics Course does not accept anyone under the age of 18 years old. However, the North County WBC does accept students 14 years old and in their first year of high school with their guardian. Please contact the North County WBC for more information.
WHAT DOES THE WILDERNESS BASICS COURSE COST AND HOW CAN I PAY LESS FOR THE CLASS?
The price for the 2023 Wilderness Basics Course was priced at $350. If you are a Sierra Club member, you will receive a $15 discount on class registration. The discount can be applied in the course registration by providing your Sierra Club member number and using the discount code SCMEMBER or will be provided to students in the form of a reimbursement after class has begun. Become a member.
ARE THERE FITNESS REQUIREMENTS IN ORDER TO TAKE THE WILDERNESS BASICS COURSE?
Yes, this class requires a solid base of physical conditioning, because you will be carrying a backpack weighing anywhere between 30-40 pounds for three of the four outings. Before our first campout, we will have a mandatory day hike at Iron Mountain in Poway. The hike is roughly 1 3/4 – 2 miles with 600 feet elevation gain/loss. We require all students to complete the hike from the parking lot to the saddle (where the sign appears at the T-intersection) in 80 minutes while carrying 15 pounds in your daypack. If you need more time than 80 minutes, we will strongly encourage you to take more time to further condition and return for class next year. To condition for the class, we recommend that you hike two to three times a week. You should aim for hiking 2 – 2.5 miles per hour, carrying 10 pounds in a daypack while being able to hold a conversation, then increase the difficulty and time you hike. Don’t want to train on your own? If you want to start hiking with others, sign up for the Sierra Club Outings Newsletter or check out the Meet Up group. If you have any questions about conditioning or the above, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com
WHAT IF I DO NOT COMPLETE THE WILDERNESS BASICS COURSE THE FIRST YEAR; WILL I STILL GRADUATE?
No, you will not graduate. All classes and outings must be completed for you to receive a graduation certificate. We will be offering outings on alternate weekends and make up trips in April if you missed an outing. Please note however that there are no make up trips for Snow Camp. If you do not complete the course the first year you are welcome to register and pay to take the class again to complete any trips you have missed.
HOW MANY OUTINGS ARE THERE?
There is one short day hike up a local mountain and four overnight trips. We have a Car Camp weekend outing, a Mountain/Desert backpack weekend outing, a Land Navigation backpack weekend outing, and a Snow Camp backpack weekend outing.
WHAT IS THE REFUND/CANCELLATION POLICY?
We understand that there are times when you may register for a course such as WBC and then life gets in the way. Here are the options to cancel and receive a refund:
Before the first class: If we have a waiting list and can fill your spot with a paid registration, we would be happy to do so and refund your registration fee, minus a $25 cancellation fee. You must let us know that you’d like to cancel by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you on our cancellation list. We must receive your cancellation notification by the Thursday before the first class (January 11, 2024).
After the first class: If you have a sudden, unexpected medical condition that can be verified by a medical doctor’s documentation prior to the second class, we will be able to provide you with a refund, minus a $25 cancellation fee. We will not be able to provide refunds after the second class. The WBC book, compass, and UTM grid will have to be returned before receiving your refund.
LEARN MORE ABOUT WBC AND START TO GET IN SHAPE FOR THE COURSE!
Are you interested in learning more about the Wilderness Basics Course? Want to start hiking to get in shape? We offer a number of conditioning hikes through the Sierra Club San Diego. Please visit the Sierra Club San Diego’s Hiking Calendar. Look for “WBC Conditioning Hike” in the title.
NORTH COUNTY WBC
WHICH LOCATION? SAN DIEGO OR NORTH COUNTY CHAPTER?
There are two WBC locations/courses within San Diego County and this website is for the San Diego WBC. Both courses are sections of the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club and are very similar. The major differences between the two courses/organizations are listed below.
The San Diego WBC meets in San Diego City, at the First United Methodist Church (Linder Hall) in Mission Valley, and the North County WBC meets in Escondido at San Pasqual High School.
The San Diego WBC is capped at 150 students.
The North County is capped at 90 students.
With more students and leaders, the San Diego course typically has 15-20 trips to choose from for each outing weekend, the North County course has 5-8 selections to choose from.
The North County course has a more intimate class size.
With about 150 students, the San Diego Course is a great way to meet people.
Outings have been coordinated between the courses to take place on alternate weekends to ease demand on equipment and outing locations.
18+ for San Diego WBC, 14 and in 9th grade for North County with a guardian.
The San Diego Course is a little more expensive due to the location costs.
The San Diego course offers online registration with a discount for active Sierra Club members. The North County course also has online registration through the Escondido Adult School.
Unfortunately, due to the overlapping class dates, you have to pick one course or the other. The courses are separate and you cannot switch class sessions or outings between the two courses to make up for anything you missed.
If the North County Course is more convenient for you, you can find their information at: http://wbc.sierraclubncg.org
First United Methodist Church (Linder Hall)
2111 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, CA 92108
During the class meeting prior to your trip, your leader will coordinate where and what time to meet.
Consider carpooling with other students to minimize the impact on the environment.