Intro to Hiking Course

I have been hiking, backpacking, scrambling, mountaineering and back-country skiing for over twenty years. During this time, I have amassed an incredible amount of skills, techniques, hints and tips that have (knock on wood) kept me safe this entire time.

I am also a Trip Leader, which means I routinely organize and lead hikes and backpacks. While on these trips, I kept getting feedback like – “Oh, I didn’t know that.” Or, “Huh, so that’s how you do that.” What surprised me was that these comments were coming from people with a lot of hiking experience. It finally dawned on me that I have an immense amount of knowledge and skills. I try and pass along as much information as possible when I’m out with people, but there is nothing quite like a condensed course to solidify the basics, and hone your existing skills.

Each course has two parts. First is an in-class presentation, complete with my Hiking 101 Workbook, exercises, and a variety of clothing and gear to play with.  Second is a hike with me, Alisen, to learn practical skills like situational awareness, basic navigation, proper hiking techniques (skills for going up and down steep slopes), and how to deal with injuries.

Hiking 101 Workbook:

The Course comes with a 17 page booklet and covers the following:

Hiking Course Workbook

  • Mountain Culture – trail etiquette, cooperative trail usage, and environment (garbage, wildlife, etc.)
  • Pre-Planning – how to choose a guide book, find an appropriate hike, choosing your partner, weather checks, choosing a start time, etc.
  • Pack your Day Pack – hands-on display of various day pack and sizes, what to include (and exclude!), and how to pack for comfort and efficiency.
  • Hiking – orientation, GPS, and progress tracking. Tips on when to turn around.
  • Efficient Trail Pace – concepts discussed in booklet, but is taught on the trail.
  • Clothing – hands-on display of clothing from your feet to your head. Also discussed is fabrics, weight and layering choices.
  • Gear – hiking boots (how to choose the right footbed for your feet), poles (different materials, weights and uses), gators, micro-spikes, and phone-based hiking aps (how to use as an AID and not rely on).
  • Safety – being self-sufficient, group size, first aid kits and training, animal avoidance (I prefer to never use my bear spray), ELTs (like SPOT), and rescue management.
  • Food – how to choose quality, filling foods that will keep you going throughout the day and not weight a tonne. I also discuss water, and how to stay hydrated without carrying 4 litres.

Day Hike with Alisen

The hike is picked and planned by the course participants during the classroom session. We take into consideration everyone’s fitness and experiences levels. While on the hike, everyone takes a turn being the leader, setting the pace, and making trail navigation decisions.

HIking Course

Alisen (top centre) with one of her many “Intro to Hiking” class graduation hikes.

Booking the Hiking Course

If you have a group or organization that would like to take this course, then please contact me to set up a time and place to teach the classroom portion. The hiking day will be determined in the classroom.

Class sizes are between 4 and 20 people. If it is a large group, hiking days can be split up into smaller groups depending on fitness and experience levels.


Trip Reports

I have a growing library of trip reports from my hikes, scrambles and backpacks. You can browse these to select a hike for your Intro to Hiking Course.

Adventure Presentations

I also have a variety of Adventure Presentations that are suitable for larger groups. These are great for getting people excited about the upcoming hiking or skiing season, or if you’re doing the route, they are excellent info sessions.



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