The BAMM! class for 2018


Full Course Description:PR09891101819


We believe at Mountain Education, Inc. that peace and confidence in the unpredictable and often unforgiving mountain setting is attained when the visitor knows the environment, what it can do, how it changes, and what that means for safety, has the right skills to overcome the expected challenges, and listens more to the spirit in their hearts than in their heads.

The “mountainmen” of American history developed a relationship with the wilderness. They could hear it in their hearts, they lived and worked in it, and paid attention to what it said, how it changed daily, and respected how joyous and harsh it could be. They were men and women who loved being outside and some made a living out of it guiding and trapping, fishing and hunting, exploring and teaching, or, often times, simply surviving the frontier. Names like Jim Bridger, Marie Dorian, Jedidiah Smith, Mary Fields, Kit Carson, and the Appalachian Trail’s very own, Grandma Gatewood spring to mind.

In the spirit of those who learned to forge a life in and through wildness, we dedicate this unique class. It is intended to make men and women alert and awake to the ways of the mountains so they will be safer, more at peace, and able to hear its song, its spirit, in their hearts. This class sets a foundation of knowledge, skills, and all-around wilderness savvy that will allow you to live in wilderness in confidence and freedom, just like the “Bad-Ass MountainMen” of old!


This course is open for:

  • direct registration,
  • sponsorship* of a hiker to the class, and
  • for public donations* so a needy hiker can attend!

The BAMM! class:

  • Is a 10-hour, 1-day wilderness knowledge and skills course,
  • taught right on the Pacific Crest Trail,
  • four miles in from the Cottonwood Pass trailhead,
  • accessed by the Horseshoe Meadows Road out of Lone Pine, California.
  • Is for all backpackers wanting to maximize their personal safety by gaining wilderness wisdom and learning steep snow and creek crossing skills.

Knowledge and Skills to include:

  1. Steep snow ascent, descent, and traverse skills with Whippet, Ice axe, microspikes, or hiking crampons (to include glissading, boot-skiing/skating, heel-plunge, self-belay, and self-arrest)
  2. Snow types, bonds, daily condition awareness, and travel logistics
  3. Over-snow Navigation principles (how to read a topo map and GPS)
  4. Trail Sign Identification & Discovery
  5. Safe Route Selection principles
  6. Avalanche Awareness & Avoidance
  7. Identifying safe creek crossing locations
  8. Safe creek crossing methods and logistics
  9. Hydrology: know what’s coming against you
  10. Watching the weather: How to know when a storm is coming your way
  11. Wilderness Medical Emergencies, sign & symptoms, and treatment
  12. Emergency Communications for SAR Rescue
  13. PCT/JMT trail details ahead: Discussion of passes and creeks to the north

Here’s how this works: 

  • 200 tickets, or “seats” in the class, will be available for direct purchase or via donations to be given away to waiting applicants on a “first-come, first-served” basis.
  • Ticket priority:
    1. First, direct to hikers applying to attend and intending to buy their own ticket.
    2. Second, direct to sponsors buying for a specific hiker.
    3. Third, via donor’s contributions and allocated to waiting hikers per “1),” above.
  • Tickets do not go on sale until we have 200 confirmed, either,
    1. Course Applications:
      1. Hikers intending to buy their own tickets.
      2. Hikers who have a sponsor buying a ticket for them.
      3. Hikers intending to wait for a chance at the remaining donated tickets.
    2. Pledge to Donate emails:
      1. From sponsors for a specific hiker.
      2. From donor’s contributions into a pool to provide tickets.
        • Anyone can donate to help hikers attend class.
        • Increments of $150 provide a ticket per “1),” above.
    3.  If we do not receive sufficient interest to provide for 200 tickets, the BAMM! class will be cancelled, all parties will be notified directly, and sales will not proceed.
  • Deadline for Applications and Pledges:
    1. March 16, 2018
    2. Mountain Education, Inc. has to confirm the class with the USFS by March 19, 2018.
  • Once we have received sufficient applications or emails providing for the sale or give-away of 200 tickets, the announcement will be made, and ticket sales and donations will begin in the priority listed above.
    1. All tickets not allocated directly to anyone in specific become available to waiting hikers on a “first-come, first-served” basis.
  • Donations:
    1. Are tax deductible, if for the charity or another person’s use and not your own.
      1. Mountain Education, Inc is an IRS 501(c)(3) public charity, ID # 47-1263156
    2. Accomplished
      1. First, by Pledge to Donate email stating amount of pledge or for whom.
      2. Second, only after announcement to proceed. Donate or pay nothing now.
      3. Third, via Mountain Education’s PayPal button under the website’s Donation & Tuition tab.
  • What to do:
    1. Fill out a Course Application at
      1. Course name is: The BAMM! class.
      2. Course date is when you expect to arrive there.
      3. Note somewhere in the application:
        • your PCT start date.
        • who is paying for your class, yourself, a known donor, or that you are waiting for a donated ticket on a “first-come, first-served” basis.
      4. Pay nothing at this point.
      5. Wait for the 200-ticket donation announcement.
      6. Expect confirmation and direction emails along the way.
    2. Send in a Pledge to Donate email to
      1. State where your donation is to go
        • For a specific hiker by name (who has already submitted a course application)
        • Toward providing a ticket for a needy hiker.
      2. State how much you are pledging to donate.
      3. Pay nothing at this point.
      4. Wait for the 200-ticket donation announcement.
      5. Expect confirmation and direction emails along the way.

Apply Here!

Course Schedule:

  • Daily, 8am – 6pm, except for two days every two weeks for resupply.
  • The BAMM! class will start after the Horseshoe Meadows Road (HMR) opens to the Cottonwood Pass trailhead and ends when the snow/creek dangers on the PCT/JMT are manageable (mid-July?) or after we have taught 200 students (limited by the USFS).
  • We do not know when the HMR will open for 2018.
    • If you have paid for the class and arrive before the road opens and before we can get there (due to weather), you will be refunded.
    • All BAMM! class registrants will be notified by direct email of opening day.
  • The class will run for two weeks at a time, then take a weekend off, and go another two weeks, and so on. The course schedule will be emailed to each registered student and we expect the class to run to June 27. Subject to change with notice.

Cancellations & Refunds:

Your class date is your best guess when you’ll arrive at Chicken Spring Lake. We understand that a person’s hiking schedule changes along the way, so keep us posted. When you arrive at the lake, we will check your name off the course roster. The last day of the BAMM! class will be June 27, 2018. Get there by then!

  1. Any cancellation on your part must be emailed to us more than two weeks before your last emailed expected arrival date or you will not be eligible for a full refund. Cancellations within two weeks out will not be refunded.
  2. No show, no refund.
  3. Cancellation emails must be sent to
  4. If you miss the class because you got there before we could, you will be refunded.
  5. If you miss the class because we were gone out on a 2-day resupply (every 14 days per USFS rules), wait for us, otherwise you will be considered a No-Show.
    1. We will let all registered students know the date of the first class and when we will be out on resupply so you can adjust your schedules to match ours.
  6. If we have to cancel, you will be refunded.

The link to our general Cancellation Policy is below and at the top of the Course Application. Please review this and it.

Cost:  $150

Bring:  SAC/CSL checklist. This is a “suggested” gear list. We will try to work with what you bring. Some gear like certain shoes and traction devices simply can’t do what we teach.

*Donations given are eligible for tax deductions. Mountain Education, Inc. is a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, ID # 47-1263156.


BAMM! Itinerary for the day:


You are attending this SAC clinic because there are safety hazards ahead that you need to prepare for.

  1. The day begins at 8am at the bench on the west side of the lake. Bring listed gear and clothing.
  2. You will have breaks between Discussions and Skills Trainings, so bring a sit pad and lunch.
  3. You can take notes, if you wish, but no audio/video recording.

The Morning Program 

Skills Training:  Steep snow techniques (full suits, gloves, hood, SA tool, poles, tractionIMG_1603 devices)

  • Ascent: switchbacks, toe-in, self-belay
  • Traversing: edging, cutting steps, kicking/scratching
  • Descent: heel-plunge, traversing switchbacks, boot-ski/skate, glissade
  • Self-Arrest & crampon use


Discussion:  Snow

  • Types of snow
  • Snowpack composition & bonding
  • Daily changes & logistics
  • Weather sign: What’s going on above you
  • Wilderness Medical Overview (signs/symptoms, treatment)
  • Wilderness Emergency Medical Response (patient care, SoS, coordinating with SAR)


Afternoon Program:IMGP3558

Discussion:  Topo map and GPS reading skills

Skills Training:  Following a snow-buried trail (afternoon hike)

  • Trail sign identification & discovery
  • Safe route selection principles
  • Avalanche awareness & avoidance


Discussion:  Creek Crossings

  • Hydrology, S.T.O.P., and timing
  • Selecting safe creek crossing locations
  • Safe creek crossing methodsDSCF1578

Skills Training:  Creek Crossing methods


Discussion:  Trail details ahead

Apply Now!

Cancellation Policy

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