Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course (WTC) 2015 - Kaweah Group In Orange County

  • Updated: October 17, 2015
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

Past the break is a very long quasi chronological sequence of photos following the 2015 Wilderness Travel Course in Orange County with most being specific to Kaweah Group led by myself and Paul Warren along with a staff of extremely hard working volunteers.

For more information on what WTC is and how to take the course see the official site here.  More posts by me can be found here.

This was the 4th year since we split off from the Modjeska Group and formed Kaweah.  This also had the distinction of being the worst year for snow at snow camp since I took the course back in 2008.  This year for the first time most people were camped on dirt instead of snow.  Despite this we managed a good snowshoe race, took advantage of the easy travel to back a mini peak on the second day, and all around had a lot of fun with a lot of great people.

This was also the second and final year we would hold Orange County at the Santiago Canyon College before moving to the Murray Center in 2016.

Other notable events this year included Kaweah Assistant Group Leader Paul Warren heroically struggling through a nasty bout of food poisoning at snow camp.  Due to the fact he was our emergency vehicle he couldn't leave.  The other instructors who were camped with him helped this by somehow trapping a mouse in his ice chest overnight.  (Don't worry, the mouse survived)

Kaweah Class of 2015 on the summit of 4377
The Joshua Tree theme this year was superheroes and the group brought it admirably.

Classroom Sessions

Waiting for students to arrive
Pre class instructor meeting
The main lecture the first part of class

Paul lecturing the Kaweah breakout group

In class navigation practice

Bill Payne explaining the ins and outs of various types of sleeping bags

Tent and stove show and tell night at class 4

Jeff and Gracia grading the class homework

A former student sharing her experience hiking the PCT

Conditioning Hike - Santiago Peak
February 8th, 2015

Checking ten essentials in the parking lot
Departing the Holy Jim trailhead
Starting the trail proper

Summit shot

Post hike pizza
Joshua Tree Weekend
February 21st & 22nd, 2015

Rock skills practice

4377 which we'd be climbing via the canyon to the left

Starting up the canyon

Jeff helping a student up the advanced chimney

Approaching the backside of 4377
Getting dressed to climb 4377

Kristen below the 3rd class section of 4377

Class photo on the summit of 4377
Craig won the award for best costume.  Yes he carried that the entire way.
The DC side
And the Marvel
Modjeska group arriving below
Looking back as Modjeska climbs the crack
Looking down on Indian Cove from the return trail
Plunge step practice / barely controlled descent

Evening fireside celebrations

Sunday morning Paul and Bill cooked breakfast for the entire class
Navigation practice starts with a draw your own top map excercise
And then moves on to hands on map and compass

The hardworking Kaweah staff at the end of the Joshua Tree weekend

Snow Travel Mount Waterman
March 8th, 2015

Meeting pre dawn at the OC park and ride
Staying warm while waiting for the last of the cars to arrive at the parking lot near Waterman

Heading up the hillside in a direct manner
Snow located!

Passing through the Waterman ski area
Snack break near the summit
Gorgonio with snow in the distance

On the way out the road was shut down due to an injury accident
Post trip meal at nearby Newcombs Ranch

Snow Camp Rock Creek
March 20th to 22nd, 2015

Once again Orange County had two buses.  Whitney and Modjeska shared one as they were both going in above Bishop while Kaweah had a smaller bus to ourselves.

Loading the busses in Orange County
Local celebrity Bus Driver Bill was once again our driver
Leaving OC

Everyone enjoying their last meal...before snow camp!
Unloading the bus at the Rock Creek snow park

Heading in along the sadly dry road
Snow covered road not far before camp
Setting up camp at Rock Creek Lake

Kaweah Staff & Students at the end of snow camp
Kaweah staff (minus Gracia who was in the bathroom apparently)
Warm and dry and wearing cotton once again
Post snow camp beer and pizza at the Bishop Pizza Factory

Our now traditional coffee crawl across town
Leaving Bishop
Stuck in traffic coming back in on the 15
Offloading the bus back in Orange County
Graduation at Indian Cove
October 17th, 2015

I don't have many pictures from Graduation this year sadly.  Something about talking too much instead of taking pictures.

We did finally reintroduce new WTC t-shirts after Kristen and I spent a long time working with designers
They were offered in a variety of colors
Graduation food and libation based festivities from the outside

Edd and Bill provided musical entertainment for a good chunk of the night

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