Wilderness Navigation

Navigation skills are as important as knowing how to make a fire…maybe even more so. If you can read a map and compass, you can often get yourself out of many of the dangerous circumstances that can suddenly develop in the backcountry, no matter how well prepared you are.

Today, most people rely on GPS technology to plot their way through city streets, highways, or mountain trails. While a GPS unit is an important navigation tool, it’s not a magic wand. In the backcountry, batteries fail; satellite signals are interrupted. And, if you don’t know how to properly use a map and compass, then GPS positioning and readings will mean very little to you.

We’ve designed our two-day course to teach you the age-old methods of wilderness navigation and how to incorporate these skills with modern technology. The first day of class focuses exclusively on learning how to read a map and compass, as separate tools and in tandem with each other. Each in-class discussion will be followed by practical, hands-on exercises in the field.

On the second day of class, we’ll add a GPS unit into the equation, demonstrating how to best incorporate the satellite data with your map readings. Significant time will also be spent in the field honing your technique.

Rick Wilcox, president of an all-volunteer search and rescue organization in the Mount Washington Valley, has commented:

"The GPS has become an essential tool for search and Rescue. Rick's course was on the money and has become the standard for Mountain Rescue Service."

Whether you’re interested in day trips or multi-day adventures, this course will help you navigate and become more comfortable in the backcountry.

What we provide

Each class is held in Ossipee, N.H. at Owl’s Roost Outfitters and includes instruction; handouts; coffee, tea and doughnuts; and lunch both days. If you’d like to host a group clinic on a particular set of days at your own facility, we can often arrange to travel to your location. For the past couple years, Owl’s Roost has instructed classes at Bosebuck Mountain Camps also.

What to bring

  • Compass
  • GPS unit (not mandatory if you do not own one)
  • Suitable clothing for spending time outside

Price: $275 per person for two full days of instruction at Owl’s Roost Outfitters. The class will be limited to 10 students, and a minimum enrollment is required for it to be held. Should you just need to brush up on your skills, Rick does offer individual instruction at a rate of $25/hour. Reserve today...

I thought I knew how to read a map and compass. Boy was I wrong. Putting this together with the GPS was just awesome.

Craig Taylor - Climbing Guide

I could use my GPS ok, but the course showed me how to do so much more, and I’ve been having a ball ‘Geo-Caching’ with my wife and friends.

Toby Savage - SOLO Instructor