Wilderness Safety, Navigation & Survival Skills

Wolf Journey Book Cover - Artwork by Joanna Colbert

Wednesday, July 6, 2022 Workshop from 9:30-4:30 in Puyallup WA

The primary goal of this workshop is to prepare participants to lead hikes and other outdoor programs, as well as hike alone in the wilderness.  We will start by getting onto the same page regarding:

Then, if you are already an expert navigator, this class will give you great teaching tools for use when hiking with novices. If you are “navigationally challenged,” then we hope the simple way we teach these skills will open a world of understanding for you in the wilderness.

Instructor Chris Chisholm summarizing the 30 points of nav.

Top 10 Lostproofing Skills: The most important skill for lostproofing is awareness. In fact, some people say there is no such thing as being lost, just in being unaware, so we will practice skills to improve your spacial recognition including wide-angle vision, expanded hearing, and new ways of walking appropriate to various environments, among other skills such as reviewing the 10 Packing Essentials and risk management tips shared from our Search & Rescue background,

Top 10 Orienteering Skills: You will be amazed by some of the incredible ways to find north-south-east-west in order to walk in a straight line toward your destination on a map. One of our favorite is floating a leaf in water, and placing a pin on the leaf. Amazingly, it points to magnetic north. We’ll demonstrate that, and some other ways to orient yourself to the cardinal directions in city and wilderness, from GPS to the stars.

Keeping up with the teenagers on an orienteering challenge:)

Top 10 Navigation Skills: There are some very important skills to learn in order to negotiate your way through nature without map or compass. For instance, do you know how to follow the contours of a hill in order to stay above thick brush and away from steep cliffs? How about lining up landmarks in order to go straight? We’ll talk about these skills and practice others as allowed by time and location.

Map & Compass Field Training: No matter whether you have GPS or not, the crux of these skills is understanding map and compass. Our method of using map and compass should allay your fears, even when it comes to contour lines and magnetic declination. We are going to transition to a big, near-by commuter parking lot to practice navigating withi compasses, as well as we helping you test to see if you are “right or left dominant” because when walking in nature, most people continually veer left or right when they actually want to go straight. Key to navigating in nature is learning how to compensate for your dominance.

Resources & Questions: As you can tell, we really pack in the knowledge, so we allow wiggle room at the end of class to review skills that you wanted to cover more deeply. Please join Chris & Kim after class to review experiences, browse resources, discuss feedback, and brainstorm ideas for the future. Email or Call us at any time with any questions and requests.

Materials Needed:

– All the 10 Essentials a safe hiker or any leader should bring, plus hats, warm clothes, proper footwear, and rain gear as necessary for the outdoor portion of class.
– Notebook plus Pencil & Red/Blue Pen if at all possible for good highlighting of map contour lines. If you have a terrain map of the class area with contour lines, or can print a map with contour lines from the Google Maps “terrain” option, please bring that as well.
– Orienteering Compass if possible, but please note that “surveyor’s compasses” and other non-map-compasses won’t work. If you don’t have a hiking compass yet, try online, or cheaper sports stores for last-minute purchase, and we may have the following recommended compasses for sale at class, including: the Rothco Orienteering Compass Item #337 for learning in the $10-$15 price range, or the Brunton 15TDCL Compass if you want to go up to the next level in the $35 price range for precise mirrored sighting and adjustable declination, the Silva Ranger 515 Compass at about $45, or the patented Suunto “global needle’s unique ability to handle tilts up to 20 degrees makes it perfect for hikers that don’t want to break their stride. Not having to level the compass exactly makes it easier to take an accurate reading while you’re still moving along the trail.”

Even the youth who accompany experienced parents can figure out our nav methods which cut through complexity and lead to success!

To get a jump-start on the skills we cover in this class click here for our blog post on the subject and to practice these skills in depth, check out our summer kids camps, our overnight youth camps and adult expeditions covering navigation skills.

For more training and active events to practice your navigational, map and compass skills, we recommend the following:

The Tacoma Mountaineers annual navigation class and weekend practice series in Western Washington.
Cascade Orienteering Club which has introductory to advanced events almost every weekend in the Puget Sound area. Experience not necessary, instruction available at the start, and courses for all skill levels.  Practice your navigation skills and discover the sport of orienteering!
MerGeo which puts on endurance navigation events on larger maps with less detail, in more rugged areas. These endurance-length navigation races are popular as a team event and often done at a hiking pace. Using only map and compass, it is up to you and your team to find as many checkpoints within the stated time limit as you can! Events range from 2 to 10 hours (and sometimes 24!) and take place in rugged, beautiful venues across Washington State.

Cost & Registration Options

Cost is $95, and $90 per additional friend/family member registering together in advance. Or register for all 3 workshops running this week for $265 per person.

Credit/Debit Card Registration Option: Call us at 425-248-0253 and we will take your registration securely over the phone.

Or use Zelle and “send money” to our email address with a note on names, phone number, age of any minors, and any allergies or health restrictions we should know, and we’ll get back to you with any additional information we may need.

Or register now using PayPal:
Participant Name(s, and ages of any minors enrolling with you)
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Or email us to be put on our our list for the future. We always keep your information absolutely private, and will never share it. Have you ever attended one of our programs before? Please review us on our Better Business Bureau, Facebook, Yelp &Google pages.


Who are the instructors? Kim & Chris Chisholm lead all workshops.

What ages can participate? Workshops are designed for adults, but youth may enroll with a parent/guardian.

Can we get a refund if we cancel? Our refund policy below only offers credit for future programs if you cancel, such as if the recorded online format doesn’t appeal to you and you prefer attending future programs in-person. Our official refund policy states that deposits ($100 for day programs, $200 for overnight programs) are not refundable unless we don’t accept your application. If you cancel for any reason, you may receive a full credit good through the following calendar year on appropriate and available programs listed on our schedule, although an additional deposit is needed to secure your spot in the future program. If a program you sign up for is canceled and not rescheduled at a time you can attend, you may receive a full refund except in cases of natural (weather, geologic, wildfire, etc) disasters, epidemics, grid failures, government shutdowns, conflicts or curfews, or other unforeseen emergencies making it unsafe for staff and/or attendees to reach or use program locations, in which case all payments made will be held by us without expiration date for your future use in appropriate/available programs of your choice. Reasons include the expenditure of funds (property rentals, advertising, materials, admin staff time, etc.) long before programs take place, i.e. deposits make it feasible for Wolf Camp to schedule programs in the first place, but our mutually understood agreement is that Wolf Camp will run the program at the safest available time in the future. Finally, no refund, nor credit, is given if a participant is asked to leave a program for inappropriateness as determined by our kids, youth and adult agreements for participation.