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Class Takes Hikers Off the Beaten Path

January 02, 1994

Registration is under way for the Sierra Club's annual Wilderness Travel Course, which begins Jan. 25 in the San Gabriel Valley. The course is designed for outdoors enthusiasts, whether beginning hikers or experienced backpackers, who seek the knowledge and skills to safely explore off the beaten path.

The 10-week course offers instruction in navigation with map and compass, wilderness ethics, backpacking equipment, outdoor nutrition, mountaineering medicine, physical conditioning, winter camping, and safety and rescue techniques. Classroom meetings will include training films, hands-on workshops and lectures illustrated with color slides.

Four trips are scheduled in small groups to practice techniques taught in the classroom.

The first trip will be a 12- to 15-mile one-day conditioning hike up a peak in the San Gabriel Mountains. Two weeks later, students will spend a weekend in the desert at Joshua Tree National Monument for navigation practice and an introduction to basic rock climbing.

Snow travel will be taught in another one-day hike, probably in the local mountains. The final trip will be a weekend snow camp in the High Sierra, utilizing all the techniques taught during the course. Chartered bus transportation is provided for the two weekend trips.

Georgette Schultz-Rieck, San Gabriel Valley chairwoman, said the course is for individuals who enjoy physical activity and want to learn more about the wilderness..

The course can help develop a lifetime interest in wilderness adventure by putting students in contact with others who share an interest in the outdoors. It also introduces students to many other outings, activities and instructional programs sponsored by the Sierra Club, said Schultz-Rieck, an insurance broker and women's backpacking outfitter who has been involved in the course for 12 years.

Fees are $135 for Sierra Club members and $150 for non-members, plus $18 for a textbook. Participants must be age 14 or older, and minors who take the course must be accompanied by an enrolled parent or legal guardian.

Class meetings will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays starting Jan. 25 at Monterey Highlands Elementary School, 400 Casuda Canyon Drive, Monterey Park. Two other sections of the course will meet on Wednesdays starting Jan. 19 in Long Beach and on Tuesdays starting Jan. 11 in Orange County.

Applications are available at mountaineering stores, Sierra Club chapter headquarters and by mail from Pat Johantgen, the San Gabriel Valley registrar, Box 70438, Pasadena 91107-7438. Applicants should send a business size self-addressed stamped envelope. For information, call Johantgen at home (909) 980-1210 or work (213) 726-7333.

The course is taught on a nonprofit basis by certified and experienced Sierra Club volunteers.

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