Introduction to Wilderness Navigation 

Purpose: Many outdoor activities are dependent upon the ability to travel in roadless areas  with only the aid of map and compass. It is extremely important that search & rescue personnel are expert in this area. This class introduces the student to use of the map and compass in the backcountry, and provides the basic tools for backcountry travel selecting routes & describing locations in a non-urban setting.  

Format: Class room lectures & labs, with field exercise. (8-10 hours) 

Skills emphasized: Map reading & interpretation; use of map scales; declination corrections; symbol interpretation; map care; finding and following bearings with a compass; using a compass with a map; fundamentals of terrain interpretation & route selection; describing your location to others; improvised direction-finding.

Prerequisites: None

Time, Date and Location

Note: In 2013, we are combing this course with Outdoor Skills. Refer to both this and the Outdoor Skills website for directions and gear lists.

Please refer to our training calendar


Driving Directions

Driving Directions to Los Mochos

In-Camp Directions

Meet at Blue Oak North Campground at 8:30am Saturday Nov 9
In-Camp Directions

Weather Conditions

Rancho Los Mochos is in the hills above Livermore and gets cold. One recent winter morning it was 28 degrees F. Be prepared!

Equipment List:
is a classroom and field day, bring a pen and/or pencil.  Course materials will be provided.  Bring a lunch. Expect cold, windy weather, maybe wet?  Dress accordingly!  Bring field lunch items.  Bring a mapping compass with a mirror if you have it.  Leave your lensatic or military-style compass at home, it will only get in the way and slow you down.  We have a limited number of loaners, so this will give you an opportunity to try out our recommended model before you go shopping.  Expect to walk a couple of miles.  Bring your notes and pens and pencils.

Course Director:  Ken Buscho

Send questions and inquiries about this course to, or leave a message on the ESAR Training Status Line at 925-235-0761.