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Backpacking Development Series: Level 2

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  • Duration: See Sample Itinerary

Backpacking Development Series Level 2 introduces backpacking and camping in addition to valuable teamwork, leadership, risk management, and navigation techniques, using personal coaching from our guides, flexible online lessons, and mountain excursions, to provide you with the skills you need to plan your own backcountry trips and lead the way on mountain adventures with friends or on your own!

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Overview:

Our Backpacking Development Series builds the skills and confidence needed to backpack around the mountains and camp under the stars. Level 2 of the Backpacking Development Series provides a comprehensive, premium mountain experience with a flexible online curriculum, three 5-day excursions at Cameron Pass in Colorado’s rugged Rocky Mountains, and weekly personal coaching from our expert guides. The course emphasizes the opportunity to glean purpose, passion, and dedication from our time in the mountains. You will develop physical skills and knowledge, and simultaneously focus on building character, leadership, and purpose with camping and backpacking being the vehicles for this meaningful time immersed in nature. The mountain excursions include introspective emotional and adventuresome physical activity with abundant opportunities for desirable outcomes. By the end of this course you will have all the skills you need to plan and enjoy your own journeys in the wilderness.

The mountains are an exceptional classroom for personal transformation and lessons in leadership.  Our Backpacking Development Series Level 2  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.  You will learn about navigation, the mountain environment, risk management, and teamwork skills needed to be safe and comfortable exploring the mountains.  This program will give you the skills, experience, and assurance you need to safely and confidently lead the way on future backpacking trips and to open the door to many further mountain adventures and pursuits that will follow.

Details:

Learn fundamental backpacking, camping, and mountain safety skills from the comfort of your home with 2 months 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 three mountain excursions in the Rocky Mountains with mentorship and coaching from our expert mountain guides. 

Our Backpacking Development Series Level 2 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 calls will provide you with personalized feedback to help you reach your mountain goals and embrace a leadership role in your future mountain pursuits.

In addition to the online material and coaching the program includes three 5-day mountain excursions for a total of 15 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: 2 months of online course material; 3 excursions of 5 days and 4 nights, for a total of 15 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 before camping equipment demos in the afternoon.  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 the American Lakes.

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

Detailed Itinerary for August 1, 2022 Course 

Aug 1st – 5th: Online Curriculum- Welcome to the Backpacking Development Series
Aug 6th – 10th: First Excursion- Hiking and Camping at The Seven Utes Yurt in State Forest State Park
Aug 11th – 26th: Online Curriculum- Approaching the Mountain- Backpacking and Camping Essentials
Aug 27th – 31st: Second Mountain Excursion- Backpacking in State Forest State Park at Cameron Pass
Sept 1st – 16th: Online Curriculum- Stewardship, Leadership, Safety Strategies, Mountain Environment, and Navigation
Sept 17th – 21st- Final Mountain Excursion- An incredible through hike backpacking experience connecting Cameron Pass with Estes Park

 

Meeting location:

Participants will meet at the Seven Utes Yurt on Cameron Pass, State Forest State Park in Colorado for the first and second mountain excursions.  For the third mountain excursion, participants will meet at the Colorado Mountain School Lodge in Estes Park where cars may be left.  Then a shuttle van will deliver participants to the Seven Utes Yurt at Cameron Pass.  Participants will meet with the guide via Zoom for weekly coaching sessions. The online portion of the course will be available to you via logging on the Colorado Mountain School website.

Lodging:

Lodging at the new Colorado Mountain School 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 and Rocky Mountain National Park. 3-season tents and other basic camping equipment will be provided for all participants to use.

Lodging at the CMS Lodge in Estes Park is available for one night or more at the end of the final mountain excursion. Our Lodge is located at 341 Moraine Avenue in downtown Estes Park.  Shuttles run from our doorstep to and from Denver International Airport.  Visit Estes Park Shuttle for more information.  Our Lodge carries historical significance as the first National Park Service headquarters for RMNP.  Our heated bunkhouse is upstairs from our classroom and features 16 single beds in three rooms, as well as several bathrooms, hot showers, linens, a full kitchen, wifi, and a lounge with games and a ping-pong table. Spend your evening socializing, and enjoy waking up in the morning rested and relaxed. Located only blocks from downtown Estes Park, you can easily walk to almost any place in town.

All Upcoming Dates and Locations:

  • No dates found

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
  • Mountain Physical Fitness Plan
  • Minimum-impact travel techniques
  • Basic Navigation skills
  • Risk Management and Mountain Environment
  • Communication, Leadership, Partnership, Teamwork
  • Body temperature regulation
  • Water filtration techniques
  • Self care and teamwork in the mountains
  • Camping stove techniques and fuels
  • Group travel and pacing strategies

Includes:

  • Trained and/or certified guide
  • Essential group camping equipment including tent, cookstove, cook pots, and water filter
  • Food for meals during mountain excursions
  • 2 months of online course curriculum, weekly coaching with a guide, and three mountain excursions at Cameron Pass each lasting 5 days and 4 nights
  • Shuttle from Estes Park to Cameron Pass and the use of outlined CMS group equipment during mountain excursions

Excludes:

  • Backpack, clothing, and personal equipment like a sleeping bag and hiking boots
  • Snacks
  • Gratuity
  • Rescue Insurance
  • Trip Insurance
  • State and National Park fees
  • 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 Syncrino Leggings
Women: Rab Syncrino 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 Syncrino Base LS Tee
Women: Rab Syncrino Base 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 Ascendor Light Hoodie
Women: Rab Ascendor Light 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 Trucker Logo 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 Mythic Alpine Light Jacket
Women: Rab Mythic Alpine Light 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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