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Course Details

Become an expert at trek planning – whether you need to quickly plan an overnighter or meticulously plan a complex, off-trail expedition – we’ll walk you through every step.

In this self-paced online video course, you’ll learn to plan routes, forecast weather, evaluate terrain, use digital mapping tools, evaluate gear decisions, determine route difficulty ratings, and plan food requirements.

Plan your next dream trek – and be confident that you’ll be safe, comfortable, and have a backcountry experience that will last a lifetime!


  • 9 hours 41 minutes (16 videos)

screenshots from videos in the trek planning masterclass

Course Curriculum

Module 1

Introduction to Trek Planning

20 minutes • An overview of the course and description of the trek planning process.

Module 2

High Level Route Planning

35 minutes • Using digital tools to understand the landscape and scoping route opportunities.

Module 3

Intermediate Route Planning

30 minutes • Mapping route options, evaluating their difficulty using quantitative analysis, how to compare options, and predicting the time and energy requirements for completing routes.

Module 4

Detailed Route Planning

40 minutes • Fine-tuning route options using different digital mapping tools and techniques.

Module 5

Environmental Forecasting

30 minutes • Evaluating climate and predicting weather using both predictive and historical models.

Module 6

Terrain Assessment

35 minutes • Evaluating ground cover, slope angles, and terrain difficulty using different types of digital mapping tools.

Module 7

Equipment & Supplies

60 minutes • Using route, environment, and terrain to inform equipment decisions.

Module 8

Planning for Inclement Conditions

30 minutes • Considerations for hiking and camping in inclement conditions, including snow, rain, wind, cold temperatures, exposed terrain, and biting insects.

Module 9

Hygiene & Hydration

50 minutes • Hygiene and hydration science and equipment/skills practices for extended treks in remote environments.

Module 10

Food & Nutrition

25 minutes • Calculating energy requirements from the route plan and predicting nutrition needs; strategies for minimizing food weight.

Module 11

Zirkel Wilderness Case Study: Trip Planner

35 minutes • Using the Trip Planner App to plan a remote mountain trip from start to finish. This case study is for a week-long trek with extensive off-trail travel for young and inexperienced hikers, and addresses terrain analysis for safety and travel efficiency in detail.

Module 12

Sherman Range Case Study: High Level Planning

20 minutes • An extensive case study of a fastpacking trip plan – Part 1 of 5 (high-level route planning).

Module 13

Sherman Range Case Study: Intermediate Route Planning

45 minutes • An extensive case study of a fastpacking trip plan – Part 2 of 5 (intermediate route planning).

Module 14

Sherman Range Case Study: Detailed Route Planning

60 minutes • An extensive case study of a fastpacking trip plan – Part 3 of 5 (detailed route planning).

Module 15

Sherman Range Case Study: Environmental Forecasting

40 minutes • An extensive case study of a fastpacking trip plan – Part 4 of 5 (environmental forecasting).

Module 16

Sherman Range Case Study: Gear & Supplies

40 minutes • An extensive case study of a fastpacking trip plan – Part 5 of 5 (gear and supplies).