Backpacking Course With Summit Adventure

Outdoor Leadership Training Course | May 29 – June 6

Want to become an outdoor guide and learn the skills necessary to instruct in the backcountry? Or do you just want to have an epic experience outdoors and grow in your leadership skills? Are you eager to experience an extended expedition in the Yosemite Wilderness? Want to camp under a sky full of stars, swim in alpine lakes, learn how to rock climb and test your mountaineering skills? All of these things and more you’ll experience on Summit Adventure’s Outdoor Leadership Training Course.

This course is designed for adults ages 18 and up who want to lead in an outdoor setting. The. course will equip you with both hard and soft skills necessary to become an outdoor instructor. All Summit instructors and interns are required to complete this course. However, the expedition is open to anyone interested, whether you want to work in the outdoor industry or not! We have had participants of all ages and backgrounds.

The course will take place in the southern Yosemite region of the Sierra Nevada. We will explore the Yosemite Wilderness, Ansel Adams Wilderness and Sierra National Forest. Students will experience the beauty and the challenge that the mountains provide. Experience forests of Ponderosa pines, granite cliffs, alpine lakes, snow-capped mountains & the milky way stretching the full expanse of the night sky. Our experienced instructors will lead students through a variety of wilderness experiences, while training students how to lead groups themselves.

This course puts an equal emphasis on the student’s spiritual formation and outdoor leadership skill development. Upon completion of this course, the student will gain confidence in a group of his or her peers. Each student will be provided with the opportunity to lead the group. Students will also demonstrate their comprehension of the curriculum as they practice backpacking, navigation, camping, cooking, climbing, and rappelling skills.

Outdoor Leadership Course Elements

  • Backcountry navigation (map & compass)
  • Outdoor living
  • Rock climbing
  • Rappelling
  • Basic mountaineering & snow travel
  • Spiritual formation
  • Daily devotionals
  • 24 hour solo time
  • Discussion & dialogue
  • Leadership exploration & development
  • Practice facilitating and leading


Please email your instructor at tom@summitadventure.com with any specific questions about the itinerary or course.

Day 0: Arrival and Preparation

Students arrive at Bass Lake by 5pm the day before the course. Transportation is provided from the Fresno airport to the Summit base that day, if needed (included in course). If your arrival is outside of that timeframe, we can accommodate but at an additional cost. Shortly after introductions, the Summit staff will provide basic instruction on packing packs and what to bring for our 9-day trek. Students will learn basic trip preparation details and logistics including food pack etc.

Day 1: Departure

By 10am we will leave the Summit base, head to the trailhead, and hike about 30 minutes to our campsite for the next few days. On the first day we will review basic outdoor living skills – setting up shelters and picking a site, cooking and basic self-care in the backcountry.

Days 2-3: Rock Days & Rappel

Students will have the opportunity to step a little farther outside of their comfort zones by attempting to scale some of the Sierra’s fine granite at our climbing and rappelling sites. During this portion of the trip, students will learn all the hard and soft skills necessary to set up and facilitate rock climbing and rappelling adventure components. These are essential skills to master to become an outdoor guide.

Days 4-6: Wilderness Travel

The next phase will prepare individuals for wilderness travel. Groups will typically travel five to ten miles per day gaining skills and learning techniques along the way. These skills include cross-country navigation using a map and compass, group facilitation, risk management, decision-making etc. Students will receive a “mid-course check-in and evaluation.” At this point in the course, students may help lead “Focus” times and lead in other capacities.

Day 7: Solo Time

Students will spend 24-hours on their own in a time for personal reflection, contemplative prayer and journaling to take advantage of the solitude the wilderness provides. Often, we provide the students with simple prompts to guide them, especially if this is their first time experiencing solitude.

Day 8: Leadership by Example (Student’s Final)

Students will work with instructors to plan and implement a two-day independent travel section; their itinerary will vary depending on the skills and techniques they have gained so far. This serves and the student’s “Final” to test the skills they have gained over the last week.

Day 9: Home

Students will return to Bass Lake where they will de-issue their gear, shower, and enjoy a hearty meal before departing for home. Transportation will be provided to the Fresno airport if needed.


Early Bird



Register before March 1, 2024

Pricing is all inclusive except airfare

Standard Rate



Register before April 1, 2024

Pricing is all inclusive except airfare

Last Minute



Register before May 14, 2024

Pricing is all inclusive except airfare

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