How Is COVID-19 impacting the Wilderness Basics Course?

The Wilderness Basics Course is a program of the Sierra Club San Diego. The National Sierra Club has granted the Chapter to offer the Wilderness Basics Course in 2022. Please note the following: all staff, leaders and participants of the Wilderness Basics Course must be fully vaccinated and wear facemasks when indoors. Chairs will be spaced 3 feet apart. Hand sanitizer will be made available.

How often do you offer the Wilderness Basics Course (WBC)?

This course is offered once a year, starting in January for ten weeks. In 2022, the course starts on Tuesday, January 18th.

Where can I learn more about the Wilderness Basics Course (WBC)?

Visit the home page on our website where we have a video that provides you with an overview of the course and outlines the various course activities. For more detailed in class information, please take a look at the schedule.

Where is the Wilderness Basics Course held?

The course will be held at the Scottish Rite Event Center in Mission Valley. There is also a course held in Escondido at San Pasqual High School. The North County course runs separately from the San Diego WBC and you will need to contact them to get more information about their course.

What time does the class start?

The course starts at 7:00PM every Tuesday night and lasts until 9:30PM.

Can I pre-register?

Yes you can. Registration opens in December. You may register online. Prior to December 6th, you can sign up for the registration email reminder.

How do I sign up for the Wilderness Basics Course?

Registration opens on December 6th, please visit the registration page to sign up.

Can I use my credit card to pay?

Yes, we accept VISA, Mastercard, AMEX, Discover, PayPal and check through PayPal. If you need to pay by cash, you will need to wait and sign up on the first night of class. Registration is on a first-come basis and after we reach our class maximum of students that have paid, registration will be closed and a waiting list will be created. In the past five years, we have not had space on the first night of class.

Is the Wilderness Basics Course open to minors?

No, the San Diego Wilderness Basics Course does not accept anyone under the age of 18 years old. However, the North County WBC does accept students 14 years old and in their first year of high school with their guardian. Please contact the North County WBC for more information.

What does the Wilderness Basics Course cost and how can I pay less for the class?

The 2022 Wilderness Basics Course is priced at $285. If you are a Sierra Club member, you will receive a $15 discount on class registration. The discount will be provided to students in the form of a reimbursement after class has begun, as we are unable to process this via registration on the website. Become a member.

Are there fitness requirements in order to take the Wilderness Basics Course?

Yes, this class requires a solid base of physical conditioning, because you will be carrying a backpack weighing anywhere between 30-40 pounds for three of the four outings. Before our first campout, we will have a mandatory day hike at Iron Mountain in Poway. The hike is roughly 1 3/4 - 2 miles with 600 feet elevation gain/loss. We require all students to complete the hike from the parking lot to the saddle (where the sign appears at the T-intersection) in 50 minutes while carrying 15 pounds in your daypack. If you need more time than 50 minutes, we will strongly encourage you to take more time to further condition and return for class next year. To condition for the class, we recommend that you hike two to three times a week. You should aim for hiking 2 - 2.5 miles per hour, carrying 10 pounds in a daypack while being able to hold a conversation, then increase the difficulty and time you hike. Don't want to train on your own? If you want to start hiking with others, sign up for the Sierra Club Outings Newsletter or check out the Meet Up group. If you have any questions about conditioning or the above, please feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What if I do not complete the Wilderness Basics Course the first year; will I still graduate?

No, you will not graduate. All classes and outings must be completed for you to receive a graduation certificate. We will be offering outings on alternate weekends and make up trips in April if you missed an outing. If you do not complete the course the first year you are welcome to register and pay to take the class again to complete any trips you have missed.

How many outings are there?

There is one short day hike up a local mountain and four overnight trips. We have a Car Camp weekend outing, a Mountain/Desert backpack weekend outing, a Land Navigation backpack weekend outing, and a Snow Camp backpack weekend outing.

What if I attended WBC 2020 and our final outings were canceled due to COVID-19?

An email will be sent out to all 2020 WBC students with registration details and you will have 1 week to register prior to the course being open to the public. You will also receive a discounted price for the 2022 course.

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