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WILL THIS BE WINTER OF OUR LEARN-TO-TENT? WILDERNESS COURSE OFFERED.

Byline: Keith Lair Staff Writer

The Sierra Club's rites of winter can help backpackers year-round.

The club's Angeles Chapter will offer its annual Wilderness Travel Course beginning Tuesday in the San Gabriel Valley. The course, which features 10 classroom sessions and four trips, is considered a must for beginning backpackers or for those who would like to learn outdoor skills.

``We're trying to teach people how to tread safely in the wilderness,'' club spokesperson Jan Nissly says. ``We want people to know the proper things to do.''

The class will cover mountaineering, desert travel, conditioning, rock techniques, navigation, wilderness medicine, back-country hazards, safety, nutrition, clothing and equipment. It will be held the next 10 Tuesdays at the Bella Vista School in Monterey Park at 7:30 p.m. The school is located at 2410 S. Findlay Ave., just north of the Pomona Freeway.

In addition, there will be two single-day trips and two overnighters. Participants will take part in a day-long, 15-mile hike that will feature an elevation change of 4,000 feet, Feb. 3 or 4, a Feb. 17-18 trip in which participants learn rock-scrambling techniques, a March 3 or 4 snow hiking trip, and a March 16-18 camp-out and trail-blazing trip to the Sierra.

``Some people are afraid of the big drop-off (on the hiking trails) and some people are absolutely terrified of sleeping in the snow,'' Nissly said. ``Some people find the rock climbing daunting and others are not afraid of any of it. This class is a good introduction to becoming a more serious outdoors person. We're teaching techniques. You'll learn rock skills, but you won't become an expert.''

The course does not include instruction in the use of ropes, ice axes, cramp-ons or other climbing aids for rock climbing and snow travel, and the aids will not be permitted during the course.

The class, which costs $190, is open to Sierra Club members and nonmembers, although nonmembers must pay an additional $15. It regularly draws about 200 participants, of which 20 percent are non-club members.

Graduates will be able to lead future Sierra Club outings. However, in order to graduate, students are required to attend all 10 class sessions and all four outings. After completion of the course, two additional experience outings must be completed. Both must be overnight backpacking trips that include cross-country travel, and at least one of the trips must mean reaching a peak.

Information: (213) 387-4287.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 11, 2001
Words:405
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