ERTH 189, Wilderness Skills




Jeffrey Johnson (MSEC Room 348; 575 835-6398;

Peter Mozley (MSEC Room 350; 575 835-5311;



The objective of this course is to teach a variety of basic wilderness skills, outdoor safety, and orienteering techniques to facilitate enjoyable and effective geology field excursions.  In the process we plan to have fun exploring New Mexico’s rivers, mountains, and geology.

Meeting Times and Class Format:

Lectures and hands-on activities are scheduled for 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Wednesdays in MSEC 202.  This course will be front-end-loaded, meaning that most of the curriculum will be delivered prior to November.  Proposed curriculum, subject to change, is outlined in the schedule below.

Weekend trips are an integral part of the ERTH189 learning experience.  For the Fall 2010 Semester we have two overnight (Saturday night) fieldtrips and three one-day weekend excursions. Note that although activities may be subject to change due to weather, etc…, the dates for field trips are fixed.


This course is pass / no credit, with a passing grade that is contingent upon participation in all field trips and class lectures.  If you can’t attend a specific meeting you must arrange your absence with the instructors in advance.

Course Materials:

Required reading will be assigned from Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills by the Mountaineers Press, Seattle.  You are not required to purchase this text, but reading assignments will be scanned and disseminated that are relevant to the weekly meetings.

Students attending this course will need to have (or acquire) some basic outdoor camping equipment including cold weather clothing, backpack, and sleeping bags.  Limited items may be available to lend.  Required camping items will be discussed in our first meeting.  Group camping gear, including tents, stoves, and transportation and specialty gear, including rock climbing or rafting equipment, will be provided.

Course Fee:

A fee is charged to defray costs associated with vehicle maintenance and transportation to field trip sites in E&ES departmental vans.  Any excess funds will be used to purchase communal foods for camping trips, however some camping food purchases will be the responsibility of students.


Outdoor trips will be conducted in a manner with safety as the highest priority.  Nevertheless, wilderness and transportation hazards will be present that could result in significant injury to participants.  In order to limit liability for instructors, department, and university we require completion of a student waiver acknowledging the inherent risks associated with this course.  Students under 18 years of age must have a parent/guardian approve of and sign off in their participation.