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DETAILS: Wilderness Trip Leader Certification (WTHL)
1) to develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes of a competent and comfortable wilderness overnight trip hike leader.
2) To equip trip leaders to be particularly attuned to safety involving proper risk management planning and emergency response for expeditions which are in remote locations. (Hike Ontario defines “wilderness/remote” as a trip more than 2 km from road access).
3) Prepare successful course participants for advanced national outdoor leadership programs.
This program is based on a field trip structure with “learning on the trail”. As an “expedition course” participants will be self contained, carrying tents, food, personal gear and other equipment for approx. 3 hours per day on hilly terrain. Individual pack weight will vary but will be approximately 45 lbs. Much of the emphasis is instructional, generated by the instructor and also the participants in the form of seminar presentations. Included in this delivery method, and as a certification course, is ongoing assessment with participants afforded the opportunity to demonstrate and refine their skills.
The certification issued to the successful candidate is a sanctioned standard and will assist the candidates in leading wilderness backpacking, overnight trips for hiking clubs and community youth groups. In addition, educators, outdoor professionals in the adventure travel industry and aspiring outdoor leaders will find this course particularly relevant.
- Demonstrate superior physical fitness and the ability to move confidently and efficiently when traveling on wilderness trails.
- Present an positive and commanding attitude on safety when leading a group.
- Demonstrate a high of standard of leadership including a positive attitude and facilitation of positive group dynamics
- Show ability to establish effective communication with regard to the hiker’s safety, comfort, and enjoyment.
- Have a proper standard of equipment as required for wilderness hiking trips.
- Model strong environmental protection strategies.
- Plan and provide their own food.
To be eligible to take this course and, thereby become a Wilderness Trip Hike Leader, participants must have completed:
- Hike Ontario Certified Hike Leader course
- Hike Ontario Wilderness Day Hike leader course
- lead in at least five (5) day hikes in remote/wilderness areas (more than 2 km from road access)
- submit a trip log verifying participation in 5 wilderness, overnight backpacking trips
- document a history of camping
- present 2 letters of reference/ recommendation from a recognized authority, (ex: a certified Hike Leader, a teacher, a hiking club, etc.) attesting to the candidates’ hard and soft outdoor skills and particularly their hike leadership skills. (Hard skills involve campcraft eg. fire lighting, cooking, knots, safe site location, first aid in the field, route finding/map and compass etc. Soft skills involve leadership, interpersonal, communication, problem solving, organizational etc. skills)
- hold current Standard First Aid and CPR certificate (Wilderness First Aid recommended).
Required Text: The Backpacker's Field Manual, by Rick Curtis (LINK)
Trip planning, search and rescue, map reading and compass work, building shelters, survival techniques, water filtering, menu preparation, cooking, hygiene, appropriate personal and group gear selection, safe camp layout, first aid, animal safety, conflict resolution, environmental protection techniques, review of Standard Course.
Methods of assessment will require participants to model the appropriate actions, skills, judgement and decisions of a wilderness trip hike leader. In addition, participants will be responsible for the presentation of topics related to the outdoors in a seminar format. This will be done “on the trail”, around the campfire etc.
Location: as appropriate to Hike Ontario or the hosting club or organization.
Duration: ~34 hours; (i) Pre-trip meeting- 2-3 hours, (ii) Trip- Saturday 9:00AM- Sunday 4:00PM (Times are approximate).
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