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Backcountry navigation - learn to use a compass and a map!

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28802 Rainbow Hill Rd.

Alpine Rescue Team

Evergreen, CO 80439

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Event description


Basic to Intermediate Map and Compass class covering:

  • Topographical maps: What do all those marks mean?

  • How to read map contour lines, general markings, map colors, etc.

  • Understanding and using Universal Transverse Mercators (UTM’s).

  • The compass and its parts.

  • Understanding "magnetic declination," and how to adjust for it with your compass.

  • Route navigation: plotting a point and course on a map.

  • Overcoming obstacles on your route.

  • GPS overview.

  • Translating UTM’s to a map and vice versa, and using with GPS units.

We will begin promptly 6:30 PM.

If you have a GPS unit, feel free to bring it. We will discuss its use.

Please bring pencil, paper and a straight edge.

This course is focused on the use of a compass with adjustable declination and a clear base plate – Orienting/Meridian lines are necessary.

We have a number of compasses for use. However, if you want to bring your own compass, it needs to have an "adjustable declination” setting capability. Also, it needs to be a base plate compass (one that you can see the map through the capsule). Compasses, such as the military Lensatic, are not suited for this course.

If you have questions regarding the compass you have, or want to buy one with adjustable declination, please feel free to contact us, we will help guide you. I have had good luck with Suunto (such as the M-3DL, M-2, and the MC-2G) and Brunton (TruArc-20).

A.R.T. logo

Part of Alpine's inaugural Backcountry Safety Series 2017.


Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

Kids at 10 years of age or older generally do well. Responsible adult is required.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

RTD 's El Rancho Park n' Ride is across the street. Please use our lower, dirt lot - DO NOT block the Alpine garage doors.

What should I bring into the event?

Bring pencil, paper and a straight edge for marking maps (supplied).

If you have a compass that allows you to set declination, bring it with you. We do have a limited number of Suunto M-2D and M-3DL compasses available during the class. If buying a compass contact us first.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

E-mail us at:

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?


Can I update my registration information?


Is my registration fee or ticket transferrable?


Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?


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28802 Rainbow Hill Rd.

Alpine Rescue Team

Evergreen, CO 80439

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