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. As an extreme example, I spent six months planning the Alaska-Yukon Expedition, which then took another six months to actually complete.

Your participation in the Planning Curriculum is required. This is an extremely important part of the experience, and the value you get from it is directly correlated to the level of your engagement. If you take the attitude that the course begins when you arrive at the trailhead, you will not be taking full advantage of this opportunity.

Communications and information sharing

Members of the group will communicate via Google Groups. Groups is like an email list, but it also has a web interface  that is similar to an online forum and that hosts all previous communications, which is great if you registered late and missed early announcements.

To pool information, the group will also use Google Drive, which features cloud file storage, file sharing, and collaborative editing. Imagine Microsoft Office files hosted in “the cloud” by Google servers that be accessed simultaneously by you and others that have the correct permissions. Most importantly, we will use Drive to conduct an Environmental and Route Condition Assessment, to create our Gear Lists, to coordinate personal travel, and to reserve demo gear.

Groups does not require a Google account; however, an account is necessary to access the web interface. Drive requires a Google account. Therefore, if you do not already have a Google account, you will need to create one.

Approximate schedule

It takes about 8 weeks to complete the Planning Curriculum, at a casual pace. However, if a trip fills early, we may start the curriculum more than 8 weeks out, especially if I am traveling for events and other trips prior to our trip. The itinerary below is meant to be a rough schedule, i.e. it probably will not be followed exactly.

Week 1: Administrative

  • Personal introductions
  • Trip schedule
  • Personal transportation

Week 2: Environmental & Route Condition Assessment

  • Condition assignments
  • Report condition findings

Required reading:

Week 3-4: Gear selection & gear lists

  • Personal gear list templates
  • Guides’ gear lists
  • Client gear list feedback
  • Group gear

Required reading:

Week 5: Training

  • Fitness expectations

Week 6: Food

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

Required reading:

Week 7: Route mapping

  • Route vision & creation
  • Mapset creation & printing

Required reading:

Week 8: Last-minute odds-and-ends

  • Emergency preparedness
  • Questions regarding gear, supplies, or logistics
  • Weather update
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