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Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course on 06/15/2009 15:54:14 MDT Print View

This past weekend, June 12th - 14th, our six member team consisting of four students and two instructors set out into the Gallatin Mountain Range of SW Montana to learn the principles of Lightweight Backpacking during Backpacking Light's Wilderness Trekking School course, "Wilderness Skills I, Lightweight Backpacking".

BPL's course was taught by Mike Clelland! and Sam Haraldson. The four students were BPL members, Bruce, Gregg, Dave, and June. Level of experience ranged from 30 years backpacking to some without much experience, but with lots of ambition.

The course focused on teaching more than trekking and involved one day in the classroom followed by two days of hiking and outdoor learning sessions. Over the course of the two half-day and one full-day of hiking we only covered about a dozen miles but interspersed that with lessons in ultralight backpacking gear, bear bag hanging, proper shelter pitching, hygiene, hiking tempo, foot care, water treatment, cooking gear, and much more.

Clelland and Haraldson, as well as a half-dozen other guide/educators will be offering more courses throughout the summer if you find this interesting check out BPL's offerings at:

backpackinglight.com/school

A map, and visual profile of the trip can be found at:

http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=242909

Photos from the trip are as follows:

Post-trip gear and food weighingSam - self portraitMike Clelland! and Sam HaraldsonRequisite ultralight backpacking group photo
Bridger Mountain Range from Chestnut RidgePCT method of bear baggingPCT method of bear baggingGregg sets up his Backpacking Light spin tarp
Sam - self portrait with StickPicSam - self portrait eating spring beautiesGreggGregg and Mike
BruceJune and DaveOrchidSam and Bruce
Lion's Ridge shuttle busJune writes down her initial gear weightsOur group food ready for weighingMike makes coffee

Edited by sharalds on 06/16/2009 11:04:39 MDT.

Kerry Rodgers
(klrodgers) - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course on 06/16/2009 08:46:05 MDT Print View

Looks like an awesome team in a beautiful place. Who knew there were trees in Montana! (I always imagine that ridge-walking photo in one of last year's trip report postings.)

Nice pink jacket, Sam!

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course on 06/16/2009 10:05:35 MDT Print View

Montana has lots of elevation so depending on the time of year (i.e. how much snow there is) the good places to hike will vary. This early in the year there's still lots of snow up in the high country so we tend to stay lower where there's vast forests.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course on 06/16/2009 10:15:39 MDT Print View

I want to know why Mike C! isn't doing the pack pose. I'm 99% sure it's because all the TP he was carrying weighed him down.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course on 06/17/2009 08:29:07 MDT Print View

Ha! Chris, that is hilarious. Thank goodness no pictures of alternative means of waste management.

I am doing this next year, no question.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course on 06/17/2009 11:27:57 MDT Print View

Thanks for posting. Something like this or the other classes is still on my list, but not sure when it will be reality with young kids. Looking forward to feedback from the participants.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course on 06/17/2009 11:37:06 MDT Print View

This definitely looks like a great experience. Mike Clelland! doesn't look nearly as intimidating as I imagined him.

Kerry Rodgers
(klrodgers) - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: Re: Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course on 06/17/2009 12:12:34 MDT Print View

Mike C! looks much more intimidating in this video. The album version is so good, I cannot wait to see it live. Certainly worth the price of a WTS course.

June Burkhart
(mrsburkhart) - MLife

Locale: Midwest/Sierras
"Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course" on 06/18/2009 13:09:25 MDT Print View

Tom,
I took this June 12-14th session of this 3-day course (WS1 Lightweight Backpacking) with my spouse, and I highly recommend it. Especially if you have time constraints or don't want to be away from family for too long, the 3-day (long weekend) course format is perfect. They are having the next session in July and another one in August.

Greg Hounsell
(mudman) - M

Locale: Western Canada
Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course on 06/19/2009 09:09:12 MDT Print View

As one of the lucky participants, I can truly say that WS1-LWB (June 12-14) was an incredible learing experience and the short format proved to be ideal for an introductory level course. I have finally seen the light!

Thanks again to Mike, Sam and BPL

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: "Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course" on 06/19/2009 10:38:31 MDT Print View

June...good point, although I don't think that's what she has in mind. Some of my 3 kids might enjoy it quite a bit, however.

June Burkhart
(mrsburkhart) - MLife

Locale: Midwest/Sierras
"Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course" on 06/30/2009 08:58:22 MDT Print View

Tom,
While you could certainly take this course with your spouse as I did, or consider taking it with one of your kids, what I was trying to say was that the short format 3-day course is great for those who can't be away from family/kids or work for long enough to take the longer format courses (which sounds like might be your predicament). Not everyone can get away for a week to take a longer course, but most anyone could squeeze in a long weekend. This 3-day, long weekend length course covered an amazing amount of material and skills in the short time - more than I was expecting going into it. The short format allows a brief time commitment, yet gives you a great introduction to lightweight backpacking techniques. Its amazing how much the 3 days spent in this course June 12-14 did for our packweight for our upcoming JMT hike!

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Wilderness Trekking School - Lightweight Backpacking Course on 06/30/2009 09:04:10 MDT Print View

I think Greg, June, and the other students would agree that the three day length of course is enough to get some serious lessons/teaching in. The element lacking from the short course however is the hike. In trying to demonstrate as many techniques and skills as possible we are limited to the amount of ground we can cover.