Planning Curriculum

All of my trips are learning-intensive, regardless of length, location, or the group’s experience level or fitness. Learning occurs at two times:

  1. Beforehand, through the Planning Curriculum, detailed below; and
  2. In the field, detailed on the Field Curriculum page

I’m a firm believer that the most successful trips are planned, not winged. Certainly, you can wing a trip and still be successful. But your odds of success will increase if you are willing to do some planning beforehand, and with boundary-pushing trips it’s probably a requirement.

Participation in the Planning Curriculum is required. It’s is an extremely important part of the experience, and its value is directly correlated to the level of engagement. It’s designed to prepare clients for our trip, and it can be easily replicated and retooled for personal trips afterwards.

Time estimates

  • Plan your personal travel (1 hour);
  • Contribute to the conditions assessment (30 to 60 minutes);
  • Complete a gear list (1 hour if you are a gear expert and can utilize previous gear lists; up to 8 hours if you are new to backpacking and enjoy researching);
  • Prepare your personal daytime snack food (1 to 2 hours);
  • Participate in at least one of two virtual group chats (30 minutes each);
  • Meet or exceed the fitness thresholds for your trip (2 to 10 hours per week, which you probably already do);
  • Create a sample mapset in CalTopo (30 minutes);
  • Download maps to Gaia GPS for offline use (30 minutes); and,
  • Pack your gear and food prior to traveling (2 hours).

Part 1: Administrative

  • Curriculum orientation
  • Group introductions
  • Trip and travel details
  • Virtual meeting dates

Part 2: Conditions assessment

  • Condition assignments
  • Reporting of findings
  • Sharing of an official and accurate assessment

Part 3: Gear selection

  • Personal gear list templates
  • Guide gear lists
  • Demo gear & vendor discounts
  • Client gear list feedback
  • Group gear lists

Part 4: Training & fitness

  • Fitness expectations
  • Sharing of personal fitness regimens

Part 5: Food

  • Daytime/snack calculations and recommendations
  • Breakfast and dinner menus
  • Dietary restrictions

Part 6: Route planning & map making

  • Route planning
  • Recommended map system
  • Create a mapset
  • Download maps & imagery to a GPS app

Part 7: Skills

  • Online tutorials to get a headstart on learning important field skills

Part 8: More admin

  • Emergency preparedness
  • Forms: Health History and Participant Agreement
  • Last-minute weather and conditions updates