Wilderness Survival 2023
Are you prepared to deal with an unexpected night out? This 2.5-day course covers essential survival skills for hikers and snowshoers traveling in the backcountry of SW British Columbia. The training includes an evening Live Zoom class covering trip planning, hazard recognition and avoidance, emergency kits, survival psychology and navigation skills. During the practical overnight session, you will build your own emergency shelters and spend the night. After you experience a night out in the local mountains with minimum survival gear, you’ll have the confidence to deal with any situation!
- Online Pre-course learning
The Wilderness Survival course includes an Online Pre-course that is approximately 1 hour of self-paced learning. This will be completed in our Virtual Classroom, with an access link emailed to you after registering for your specific course date.
Live Zoom class session
In addition to the Online Pre-course material and the Practical Field training, each Wilderness Survival course includes an essential Live Zoom theory session held on a mid-week evening from 7-9 pm prior to the overnight practical field training. During this Live Zoom session, you will meet your instructor and other teammates on the course and cover all the trip planning, logistics and have an opportunity for questions and discussion. Additional Theory is covered as well during this session, to ensure you are best prepared for the 2-day overnight session.
Practical Field-based training
On the field day, you will meet with your group at the pre-arranged trailhead at 9:00 am. The actual location and timing of the first day will depend on the weather, time of year, location preference of the participants, and other factors. The location and final logistics for each Field Training day will be determined on the mid-week Live Zoom session.
The overnight session is spent in an area that will take between 2-3 hours of hiking to access. This allows the group to work on navigation skills, wilderness travel techniques, and group management strategies while approaching the overnight site. Once at a suitable location, you will learn and apply the skills and techniques needed to plan and prepare for an unexpected night out, including:
- shelter construction
- fire building
- emergency signaling
- animal awareness and strategies
- minimalist camp craft techniques
- basic Wilderness First Aid skills
- emergency communication strategies
Each person will be able to build their own shelter and start their own fire, and then spend the night in their own shelter!
On Day-2, the group will spend the morning working on wilderness travel techniques and navigation skills. During the afternoon you will head back to the trailhead for a full wrap-up and debrief. The course is scheduled to end between 3:00 - 3:30 pm on Day-2, however in some cases, the choice is made to finish earlier (i.e. bad weather, etc.)
The first evening classroom session for the Wilderness Survival course will be held online via a Live Zoom class. Students can participate from a location of their choice
Required for the Zoom session:
- location with the ability to access the internet for 2+ hours
- ideally a location with few distractions or background noise
- device with camera and audio; laptop or desktop computers are preferred, but mobile devices will work as well
- ensure your device is fully charged and/or plugged in
- check audio and video before you join
- If your "screen name" is a nickname or you are using someone else's computer, please identify yourself to the instructor
- If you are a group of 2 or more people on the same computer, please let your instructor know who is on your call.
- be ready to take some notes
- have any questions prepared and ready to discuss
Overnight Practical Field session
The 2-day overnight practical field session is usually conducted in the Squamish and Sea to Sky Region, though may also be held on Mt Seymour or other local wilderness areas.
The final decision on a location for the field session will be made with the group, during the evening Live Zoom theory session. The actual location and timing of the trip will depend on the weather, time of year, location preference of the participants, and other factors.
- Please note: All Canada West Mountain School Wilderness Survival courses include a live Zoom session held from 7-9 pm. This Zoom session is typically held on the Thursday prior to the course, though specific dates and times may vary.
The first evening classroom session will run from 7 pm till approx. 9:00 pm. This session will thoroughly cover all aspects of Wilderness Survival, including preparing emergency kits, incident response measures, risk management strategies, and will also serve as preparation for the field session.
The field session will be a 2-day overnight trip into a forested wilderness area. On the first day, you will meet with your group at the pre-arranged trailhead at 0900. The hike into the training site is usually short (about 2-3 hours max.). You will spend the day working on skills such as shelter building, fire construction, emergency response, mental preparedness, and incident management. That evening you will spend the night in your newly constructed emergency shelter (tents will be available for back-up in case of poor weather conditions).
On day-2 you will head out for a day hike in the surrounding area to practice navigation skills, route finding, First Aid, and other emergency skills such as using signaling devices, etc. You will return to the trailhead at around 3:00 pm on Day-2. After a short wrap-up and question session, the course will finish between 3:00 and 4:00 pm.
- Gear List - Wilderness Survival Gear List
- Pre-trip Planning PDF - Wilderness Survival Pre-Trip Planning
Complete the required Waiver and Medical disclosure form in advance of the field session. Click on the link and navigate to your specific course and date:
- Canada West Mountain School Waiver and Medical disclosure form
Review the CWMS cancellation and transfer policy:
- Canada West Mountain School Refund/transfer Policy