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Introduction to Backpacking
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Contact us for specific dates. Hut or tent based available.

Group Size
1 instructor to 6 participants
Skill Level
Beginner to intermediate, route dependent

Introduction to Backpacking

Learn from an experience local guide how to travel and camp in the alpine wilderness, experience the joy and freedom...

Hike with a professional guide who can teach you tricks around your pack, setting up camp and locating yourself on the map.  Enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of carrying all your belongings on your back to tenting in the rugged mountains of the West Kootenays.  Backpacking trips range from easy to advanced programs and range in length from two to five.

We offer a number of backpacking locations for this course, the site selected will depend on student prior experience and trail/weather conditions, visit our favourite trails page for inspiration.

Easy Low Elevation & Shoulder Season

Fry Creek Canyon, Pilot Bay Penisula, Slocan Lakeshore & Beatrice Lake

Moderate Alpine Hikes

Kokanee Glacier Chalet & Glory Basin, Gwilliam Lakes & Lucifer Pass, Monica Meadows & Starbird Pass, Whitewater Canyon & Pass, Alps Alturus & Marten Mt.

Moderate Plus Alpine Hikes

Gimli Ridge & Mulvey Basin, Lyle Basin & Mt. Brennon, McKeen Lakes & Wooden Peak, Mt.Loki or Heart Lakes, Around Silverspray or Woodbury Cabins

The complete itinerary is somewhat flexible and will vary depending on participant needs, weather, conditions and course location and travel times to trailhead.

Below is a sample itinerary for a four-day program. Skills sessions covered include pacing and walking tips, navigation (maps, compass and GPS skills), preparedness, safe route selection and more.

Day 1: Pre-trip meeting 5 PM in Nelson (2 hours)


  • Welcome, introduction, goals & agenda, waiver.
  • Review of the planned itinerary and current conditions
  • Gear & meals check; a session on packing strategy


Day 2 Hike into remote mountain hut or backcountry camp location


  • early morning meet a predetermined location or trailhead
  • 3-7 hour hike to base camp, varies on trail difficulty
  • set up tents, evening meal, campsite skills session


Day 3 Explore alpine meadows, pass or summits


  • early camp breakfast
  • day hike from base camp
  • evening meal, navigation & maps session


Day 4 Hike out


  • early camp breakfast
  • small morning hike & camp pack up
  • 3-7 hour hike out & return to town, debrief, course close


Programs are from beginner to advanced.  Guests are responsible to self evaluate their skills as groups need to be matched together based on prior experience and ability.

Good physical fitness and ability to carry a pack is required.  Please contact us to discuss your background and what kind, of course, would suit you best.

Our backpacking programs occur in the Valhalla Mountains, Goat Range, Selkirk and Purcell Mountains near Kaslo, Slocan City, Nelson and New Denver.

Contact your guide by phone or email the week before for meeting location. Your guide will do a two hour briefing and packing demonstration the night in Nelson.

Due to the higher elevations, proximity to dominant winds and weather conditions, mountain weather is difficult to predict. It is most often worse than the weather in the surrounding valleys and can change quickly as it is really hard to predict for more than 24hrs ahead.

In summer you expect temperatures to be from 10 C to 28C in the day while overnight temperature can drop dramatically in the high alpine, even below zero. Temperatures are much colder at higher elevations, even in the summer. It is not uncommon to have overnight freezing temperatures in the alpine, outside a mountain hut or near a backcountry camp.

It is always an interesting challenge to know exactly what you are going to get, therefore is important to be flexible with timing and not too attached to a particular goal or objective. Be prepared by bringing all required items, this ensures you will be dressed for all variations as temperatures, wind, precipitation.

  • Pre-course planning support
  • Fully certified ACMG hiking, alpine Guide or mountain Guide services
  • local knowledge experience in the area
  • Alternative plan based on current conditions
  • kitchen equipment, tarps, group tents
  • hut fees
  • Park permits and Liability Insurance
  • Emergency response plan
  • Group safety equipment

Services NOT included:

  • 5% GST tax
  • dinners & breakfast meals on the trip, available for $45/night
  • if applicable,  national park wilderness passes ~$10/night
  • personal clothing, overnight equipment, hiking boots *see equipment list for more details
  • personal lunch & snacks
  • travel to meeting location and accommodation prior to field portion trip
  • gratuities
  • trip interruption, cancellation insurance or medical insurance
  • additional costs incurred if changes made to itinerary due to weather

How experienced do I need to be?

On this backpacking program will benefit from previous hiking experience.  Good physical fitness is a must, comfort and experience with carrying a pack are very useful.

Is it safe?

On all backcountry programs, we provide you with fully certified IFMGA / ACMG Mountain, alpine and hiking guides. This gives you the highest safety standards in the industry. While it is impossible to eliminate all the hazards, our guides will maximize your experience and greatly minimize the risks involved.

Can I rent some of the equipment needed during the programs?

On the overnight tenting programs we offer participants access to hiking or camping equipment at no extra charge, however, you are welcome to bring your own.  This includes hiking poles, tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, stove, pots. Contact us for specifics and availability.

Where can I rent/buy climbing & outdoor equipment?

Here are a few outdoor stores in Nelson that supply good service and quality outdoor equipment and gear rental, please ensure you rent gear well in advance.

Rivers Oceans and Mountains 354-2056
Valhalla Pure Outfitters 354-1006

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