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Backpacking Development Series: Level 1

  • Price: $4,749.00
  • Duration: See Sample Itinerary

Backpacking Development Series: Level 1 teaches you fundamental backpacking skills using personal coaching from our guides, flexible online lessons, and mountain excursions to prepare you to plan your own backcountry camping trips and confidently go out into the mountains on your own adventures.

Bring a partner(s) and everyone gets 15% off!

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Participant 1

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Overview:

Are you new to the mountains and looking for a solid foundation and some mentorship to help you get started?  Our Backpacking Development Series: Level 1 will introduce you to fundamental backpacking and camping skills with flexible online lessons and provide opportunities to apply those skills during the mountain excursions with coaching from our expert guides.  The program will give you the skills and experience needed to be safe and comfortable exploring the mountain landscape, and to open the door to all the mountain pursuits that follow.

Colorado Mountain School guides teach you the skills needed to backpack around the mountains and camp under the stars.  Our Backpacking Development Series: Level 1 provides a comprehensive, premium mountain experience with a flexible online curriculum, two 5-day excursions at Cameron Pass in Colorado’s rugged Rocky Mountains, and personal coaching from our expert guides.  This program emphasizes the opportunity to glean purpose, passion, and dedication from our time in the mountains.  The mountain excursions include introspective emotional and adventuresome physical activity with abundant opportunities for desirable outcomes.  You will develop physical skills and knowledge, and simultaneously focus on building character and purpose with camping and backpacking being the vehicles for this meaningful time immersed in nature.

Details:

Learn fundamental backpacking, camping, and mountain safety skills from the comfort of your home with 1 month of online curriculum created to be flexible for your schedule and personal coaching from our expert guides. Plan and prepare to apply the skills you learn online during two mountain excursions in the Rocky Mountains with mentorship and coaching from our expert mountain guides. 

Our Backpacking Development Series: Level 1 includes online lessons you can complete at your convenience each week and weekly coaching with our expert guides. We know life can be hectic, so this portion of the program is flexible and designed to easily fit into your busy schedule. The online curriculum provides you with important foundational knowledge that will be applied on our mountain excursions. Weekly coaching will provide you with personalized feedback to help you reach your mountain goals.

In addition to the online material and coaching the program includes two 5 day mountain excursions for a total of 10 guided field days. Enjoy the comfort of the beautiful new Colorado Mountain School Seven Utes Yurt situated in wild Cameron Pass during mountain excursions.  Let us take care of all your food and meals during your stay!  Each mountain excursion builds on the experience you gained from the past excursion, the material from your online lessons, and your personal goals.

Sample Itinerary:

Duration: 1 month of online course material; 2 mountain excursions of 5 days and 4 nights at Cameron Pass, for a total of 10 days in the field

FIRST EXCURSION

Day One: Welcome to the Seven Utes Yurt at Cameron Pass in State Forest State Park. Learn about trip preparation and group travel techniques and go for an afternoon hike in State Forest State Park. Enjoy the comforts of the Yurt overnight with a hot, delicious meal from the kitchen and breathtaking views everywhere outside.

Day Two:  Enjoy the backcountry and learn navigation techniques on a day hike in State Forest State Park. Return to the Seven Utes Yurt for afternoon camping equipment demos.  Enjoy the amenities of the Yurt for another evening.

Day Three:  Review camping principles before launching into the field for the first night of backcountry camping at Lake Agnes or the American Lakes.

Day Four: Learn more camping skills and enjoy day hikes and leisure time in the wilderness.  Spend another night camping at Lake Agnes or the American Lakes.

Day Five: Transference.  Return to the Colorado Mountain School Seven Utes Yurt to debrief the program.  Depart from the Yurt in the afternoon.

Meeting location:

Participants will meet at the 7 Utes Yurt on Cameron Pass, State Forest State Park in Colorado for the mountain excursions.  Participants will meet with the guide via weekly Zoom for weekly coaching sessions. The online portion of the course will be available to you on the Colorado Mountain School website.

Lodging:

Lodging at the new Seven Utes Yurt in State Forest State Park at Cameron Pass is available for you and is included during parts of our 5-day and 4-night excursions.  The 40 foot Yurt is spacious and comfortable with propane heat and a wood-burning stove for especially cold days. Enjoy beautiful mountain views and stargazing from the large deck. The Seven Utes Yurt is located directly off the road next to the Michigan River. There is plenty of parking and access to pristine hiking trails.  The Yurt has a full kitchen with appliances, dishes, and utensils for all our cooking needs, 16 comfortable sleeping cots, and portable toilets nearby.

During mountain excursions you will also camp in a tent in State Forest State Park. Three-season tents and other essential camping equipment will be provided for all participants to use.

All Upcoming Dates and Locations:

  • September 6, 2022 - October 5, 2022 - Backpacking Development Series: Level 1 - State Forest State Park, Colorado
  • August 1, 2022 - August 31, 2022 - Backpacking Development Series: Level 1 - State Forest State Park, Colorado

The first steps toward your backpacking and camping objectives:

  • Personal clothing and equipment selection
  • Packing your backpack
  • Setting up your tent
  • Planning and timing for day trips and overnight excursions
  • Camping and cooking techniques
  • Minimum-impact travel techniques
  • Basic Navigation skills
  • Introduction to Mountain Physical Fitness 

Prerequisites:

None

Preparation:

You should be prepared to hike a maximum of 6-8 miles per day during the excursions, yet some days will be less. Of course basic physical fitness and training will make the experience more enjoyable.

Time:

~10am-6:30pm during excursions

Duration:

See Sample Itinerary

Maximum Ratio:

6:1

Minimum Age:

Please call to register participants under 18
Experience Level

Beginner, Intermediate

Activity Level

Moderate

Duration

Multi-Day

Category

Fundamental Mountain Skills

Includes:

  • Trained and/or certified guide
  • Essential group camping equipment including tent, cookstove, cook pots, and water filter
  • Food for meals during mountain excursions
  • 1 month of online course curriculum, 3 weeks of weekly Zoom calls with your CMS guide, and two mountain excursions at Cameron Pass lasting 5 days and 4 nights.
  • Use of outlined CMS group camping equipment during the mountain excursions.

Excludes:

  • Backpack, clothing, and personal equipment like a sleeping bag and hiking boots
  • Snacks
  • Gratuity
  • Rescue Insurance
  • Trip Insurance
  • State Park fee
  • Expenses due to unforeseen circumstances outside the control of Colorado Mountain School

Item Description Quantity Example Purchase At Rent At Equipment Type
Backpack: 20-40 liter

Packs smaller than this tend not to be able to carry the necessary amount of equipment and clothing.

1

CAMP M3 30L

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Equipment
Backpack: 35-50 liter

Packs smaller than this tend not to be able to carry the necessary amount of equipment and clothing.

1

CAMP M4 40L

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Baselayer Bottoms

Synthetic or Merino Wool, Lightweight or mid-weight are recommended.

1

Men: Rab Forge Leggings
Women: Rab Forge Leggings

Rab

Clothing
Beanie or Fleece Hat

Should cover the ears and fit under a helmet. Hats with fluff balls on top do not fit under helmets.

1

Filament Beanie

Rab

Clothing
Bowl, mug, fork, and spoon

Personal utensils

1

Sea to Summit Delta Camp Set

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Compass

Used for navigation and orientation. A compass with adjustable declination is preferrable.

1

Silva Ranger CLQ

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Face Mask – PPE

Should be made with at least two layers of fabric. Your mask needs to cover your nose and mouth without large gaps. The mask should have ear loops or ties so you can adjust it. Look for a mask with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the mask to fit the bridge of your nose and prevent your glasses from fogging.

2 Clothing
First Aid Kit

Your guide will have an emergency First Aid Kit. You should bring a small kit including blister prevention and care products such as a role of athletic tape and Moleskin. Your kit should also contain a few Band-aids, some Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Hardshell Pants

These should be non-insulated pants with ankle cuffs wide enough to fit over your ski or ride boots.

1

Men: Rab Khroma Kinetic Pant
Women: Rab Women’s Khroma Kinetic Pants

Rab Stores

Clothing
Headlamp

Load with fresh batteries. Critical for hiking before sunrise and great to have in the pack in case you are caught out after dark.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Hiking Shoes

You can use walking shoes, running shoes, hiking shoes, or hiking boots. It’s your call!  You should aim to try footwear walking, hiking, backpacking, and then camping to learn about what works best for you. You will hike no more than roughly 5-7 miles per day during the mountain excursions.

1

Men: La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

Women: La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX Women

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Laptop

Useful for navigation courses, including hiking and ski tour planning.

1 Optional
Lightweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Worn against the skin and is considered a “wicking” layer that facilitates the movement of moisture away from the skin and through the layers. Hooded base layers add extra versatility.

2

Men: Rab Forge LS Tee
Women: Rab Force LS Tee

Rab

Clothing
Lightweight Gloves

Synthetic; Thin gloves used when hiking the early morning approach. Belay gloves can suffice if full-fingered.

1

Rab Vapour-Rise Glove

Rab Store

Clothing
Lip ScreenSPF 15 or higher.

Non-SPF rated lip balms can actually increase your chances of getting burned.

1

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen Lip Balm

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Long and Short Sleeve T-shirt

Cotton or Synthetic and Merino Wool; Bring a variety of short-sleeve or tank tops, and a few long-sleeve. Synthetic shirts are not required, but many prefer the feel and quick-dry performance. If your program includes crack climbing, a long sleeve cotton shirt adds a layer of comfort.

1

Rab Mantle Tee

Rab Store

Clothing
Midweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Adds extra warmth and protection from the cold and wind without creating a moisture barrier as a jacket would. Having at least one base layer that is hooded adds versatility, protecting the neck and ears from cold winds.

1

Men: Rab Filament Hoodie
Women: Rab Filament Hoodie

Rab

Clothing
Neck Gaiter

“Buffs” are quite versatile in their uses. They can be used as light beanies, neck warmers, and can offer face protection from the cold wind or sun.

1

CMS Neck Gaiter

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Personal Care Items

Medications, glasses or contacts, feminine products, etc.

1 Optional
Personal Toilet Kit

At minimum, bring a small Ziploc with toilet paper. Consider bringing a travel sized package of hand-wipes. Idealy, purchase, or for free from the RMNP Backcountry office, bring a “Rest Stop.” The Rest Stop, known as “Blue Bags” in the Pacific Northwest, or the “Wag Bag” in other areas, are poop-in-a-bag systems that include toilet paper and a sanitizing hand wipe.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Sleeping Bag (10° to 35°)

Down or synthetic sleeping bag is acceptible.

1

Rab Neutrino 400

Rab Store

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Sleeping pad

Insulated air mattresses or foam are ideal. Uninsulated air mattresses are not recommended.

1

Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Smart Phone App

There are a plethora of apps that assist in navigation. These apps use your phone’s GPS functions and can work in the mountains offline.

1

Avanet; Gaia Maps; Topo Maps

Optional
Smartphone

Great for taking photos and videos. Smartphone batteries tend to shut down in freezing temps – keep your phone in a warm inner layer. A tether is ideal in the mountains to protet against dropping your phone.

1 Optional
Snacks

An assortment of snack bars, gels, or trail mixes.

1

Made in NatureThrive Tribe

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Softshell and Fleece Jacket

Water-resistant, windproof, yet it “breaths,” which means it allows moisture to move through. Hoods are ideal. There are multiple thicknesses of Softshell jackets. A lightweight or medium-weight jacket is preferred. Fleece jackets are acceptable.

1

Men: Rab VR Summit Jacket
Women: Rab VR Summit Jacket

Rab

Clothing
Softshell Pants

Softshell material is stretchy, wind-proof, water-resistant, and resists abrasion. Mid-weight is recommended and light-weight pants can work for warm days. Typical thin, nylon “hiking pants” are generally not tough enough.

1

Men: Rab Sawtooth Pants
Women: Rab Women’s Sawtooth Pants

Rab Store

Clothing
Sports Bra

Provides support and allows for full range of motion

1

North Face Beyond the Wall

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Sun Hat

A billed hat to keep the bright mountain sun at bay.

1

Rab Skyline Cap

Rab

Clothing
Sunglasses

“Wrap-Around” style sunglasses with 100% UV Protection.

1

Julbo Shield

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
SunscreenSPF 30 or higher.

Travel size.

1

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen SPF 50

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Synthetic or Down Puffy Jacket

Fits over all other layers and is worn at breaks and on really cold days. Synthetic puffies are more durable, are easily laundered, and dry out quickly if wet. Down puffies are lighter weight, pack smaller, and provide exceptional warmth, but once wet, they stay wet.

1

Men: Rab Electron Pro Jacket
Women: Rab Electron Pro Jacket

Rab

Clothing
Synthetic or Merino Wool Socks

Wool and synthetic blends are great for long days on the trail. “Ski” and “Snowboard” socks are especially useful when warmth is desired.

2

Point 6 AT Hike Light Crew

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Toiletries

Bring enough for the trip. Toothpaste; brush, floss, deodorant, lotion, eye drops, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.

1 Optional
Trash Bag

Lining the inside of your pack with a heavy duty trash bag will keep the contents of your pack dry on rainy days.

1 Optional
Trekking Poles

Adjustable and without powder basket.

1-2

CAMP Backcountry

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Optional
Water Bottles

1 liter bottles are the standard. Bladders such as Camelbacks and Platypus are acceptable for above freezing temps, but only in conjunction with another bottle. Bladders are not acceptable during sub freezing temps. Sports drinks are also acceptable.

2

Nalgene, Hydro Flask

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Water Purification Tablets

Iodine or Chlorine-based treatments; To keep packs light in the summer during early morning approaches, your guide may suggest only carrying a liter or two of water, with the plan to refill during the day at a stream.

6 tabs/day

Aquamira, Potable Aqua

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Waterproof Shell Jacket

Non-insulated, Gore-Tex, Dermizax, Event, or other waterproofing system is required. Mostly, this jacket sits in the bottom of your pack and comes out when the weather gets nasty with precipitation. This jacket should fit over all other layers.

1

Men: Rab Khroma Cirque GORE-TEX Jacket
Women: Rab Women’s Khroma Cirque GORE-TEX Jacket

Rab

Clothing

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