wilderness knowledge, skills & safety training

“Why” and “How” Explained from our Experience unto your Experience = Wilderness W.H.E.E.E!

News Feed

Our thoughts on current trail conditions, certain hiking topics, weather and any other streams of thought we may have on hiking and the wilderness experience!

When doing something is normal to you, you’re not likely to question why, until you realize that it isn’t for most people. Dec 11th, 2023:

When doing something is normal to you, you’re not likely to question why, until you realize that it isn’t for most people. All of my life, I’ve been able to accomplish physical acts that most can’t aspire to because their bodies simply weren’t up for it, like: -...

Thru-hiking in the rain…seriously? Dec 9th, 2023:

Thru-hiking in the rain...seriously? Why? It's more fun to be warm and dry and not worried about lightning, slipping on a rock or in the mud and falling, or getting lost in your hurry to reach some distant destination. I love the weather, but never forget that it can...

Leather Boots – Breathable?, Sept4th, 2023:

Leather Boots - Breathable? You have heard many a story, since Gore-Tex arrived into the hiking footwear market back in the ‘80s, that leather boots do not “breathe.” From a practical standpoint, is this true? Let’s start with creating a baseline awareness of what’s...

Waterproof-Breathable, the old-fashioned way!, Aug 24th, 2023:

Waterproof-Breathable, the old-fashioned way! Leather is waterproof by nature of its smooth surface, but once abrased or cut, water can soak through and, regarding boots, get your feet wet over time. So, after you get your new pair of smooth-out, Limmer hiking boots,...

Patience can accomplish a lot of things, Aug 16th, 2023:

Patience can accomplish a lot of things. I have said in the past that I've taken two models of these traditionally-made leather hiking boots fresh out of their boxes at the Kennedy Meadows (south) trailhead and never got a blister. Yes, that actually did happen...but...

Donation based Wilderness school

Mountain Education, Inc. (MEI), is a Nevada non-profit corporation and a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service (ID# 47-1263156) operating as a Wilderness School that has been teaching people how to safely backpack year-round since 1982. We have all the classes, videos, and Google Meets to answer your questions about short or long-distance backpacking and offer practical skills classes so you can learn by doing.

While much of our instruction can be easily accessed from your own laptop, we will soon be offering in-person outdoor classes, as well. We feel that we can reach and teach you best by keeping concepts simple, ideas brief, classes small and personal, and instruction demonstrated unto clarity right beside you out on the trail.

Since we are a public charity, all this is available for your edification because of free-will donations and non-profit offerings. We would like to share freely “of our Experience unto your Experience,” but everything, these days, has a cost. We choose to not utilize outside advertisers to subsidize our operation, as we like to maintain our presentation to be as clean, uncluttered, and unobtrusive as possible, thus, all of this school’s budget comes directly from our happy hikers!

Please consider supporting Mountain Education’s mission of providing free wilderness safety instruction by making a donation today.

founder & educator: Ned tibbits

Mountain Education’s Founder and Educator, Ned Tibbits, has been exploring the outdoors for his entire 65-year life. His family loved car-camping and when he was still in diapers you could find him crawling around in campground dirt exploring bugs, logs, and pine cones. Throughout his childhood, he learned to sleep in cavernous, canvas tents whenever not “sleeping out under the stars.”

Ned started backpacking in the Sierra once he was old enough – eight years old – by attending the Bob Mathias High Sierra Boys Camp for a month every summer for the next seven years. He fell in love with hiking, camping, trapping, campfires, swimming and diving in High Sierra lakes, cross-country exploring and peak-bagging, bouldering, and powdered hot chocolate. This was his start with learning-by-doing, or what is called, these days, “experiential learning,” and is his preferred method of teaching to this day….

our why

Ned got the idea for Mountain Education while on his thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail back in 1974 when he was only 17 years old:

“I was camped on the snowy side of 10,000-foot Mt. San Jacinto in Southern California, one night, when I heard distant voices through the twilight of the evening. This really surprised me, as I thought that I was all alone up there! I hadn’t seen any other footprints in the snow all day.

“I followed the voices out into a snow-covered meadow under a cold, starry sky and found five college-aged kids dressed in shorts, tee shirts, and tennis shoes huddled together for their lives. They were lost, without map, food, water, shelter, or extra clothing, and freezing to death. Some were so hypothermic they couldn’t talk, others couldn’t walk, and none knew what to do or how to get back to their cars.

“Though I hadn’t come up the trail they needed to go down, I knew where it was, so I took them there and wished them farewell. On my way back to my tent, I thought, ‘This is crazy! People are so eager to go for a little hike that their lack of planning and preparation for current conditions puts their lives at risk!’

“After I got back to my tent and was sliding into my nice, warm, down sleeping bag, I decided, ‘Somebody has to create a wilderness school to teach these people how to stay safe and make wise decisions in the mountains! This is too beautiful a place in which to die!’”

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

– Confucius

mission & purpose

To teach aspiring hikers what they need to know and do in order to have safe, fun, and personally rewarding outings in our awesome wilderness heritage!

We believe that, if people know what they’re getting into and understand that the fun and pleasure they seek favors being prepared, they’ll be able to stay out longer and reap the rewards of a protracted wilderness relationship! Historically, wilderness emergency medical response teams (like Search & Rescue) have discovered that, when the uninformed public hastily “heads into the mountains” with blind hopes for rest, relaxation, or adventure, their quests have usually resulted in some degree of calamity. We don’t want that!

By teaching people 1) How to have a safe and fun life in the wilderness and 2) Why our Experience encourages them to take and do certain things and actions, their Experience of that wilderness life goes so much better! Hence, our motto,

“Why” and “How” Explained from our Experience unto your Experience = Wilderness W.H.E.E.E!

learn safe & wise travel techniques


highlighted digital courses

Our Digital Classes allow you to learn at your own pace from the comfort of your own home. Check out some of our featured topics below.

River Crossings

What to look for in a ideal river crossing and when not to cross.

rescue beacons

What’s out there, why are they important and how they can be used.


Why boots, crampons and more.


What to eat in the backcountry.


Routefinding and how to read topos.

Instructor history & Experience

  • Urban & Rural Paramedic
  • USFS Wilderness Ranger (Sierra National Forest)
  • Volunteer & Professional Ski Patrol (Lake Tahoe, CA)
  • Sheriff’s Department Volunteer Search & Rescue (Lake Tahoe, CA)
  • National Outdoor Leadership School,  Wilderness EMT
  • Community College Adjunct Instructor, Emergency Medical Technician
  • MEI Wilderness Instructor, 40 years
  • Federal Emergency Manager, FEMA
  • Pacific Crest Trail, 1974
  • Continental Divide Trail, 1980
  • 4-month, 5,000-mile bicycle-camping, Europe, 1979