TCS Navigation 1 - VIRTUAL (Nav1)

Navigation Course

Navigation 1

Navigation Level 1 VIRTUAL is the online course replacement for CMC Technical Climbing School Navigation Level 1. The short name for this course is Nav1. Once you are registered and have paid for Nav1, there is no need to re-register even though you may take multiple months to complete the course.


[Pay no attention to the calendar date associated with this event; there will be no actual class or meeting on the date listed. This CMC calendar entry will be shifted forward monthly to allow ongoing registrations under the same calendar entry. If you read thru the following course description and have more questions, please check the calendar first Weds of each month for Nav Info Session.]

Navigation Level 1 VIRTUAL is the online course replacement for CMC Technical Climbing School Navigation Level 1. The short name for this course is Nav1. Once you are registered and have paid for Nav1, there is no need to re-register even though you may take multiple months to complete the course.

The Nav1 course syllabus is provided below in the Details section.

The Nav1 course is available to any and all CMC members with no pre-requisites. Nav1 itself is a pre-requisite for students pursuing TCS Alpine Climbing School certification. Nav1 is also a pre-requisite for Nav2, which was released in spring 2021 (in delivery format similar to Nav1). CMC members may take Nav1 and follow it with Nav2 regardless of whether you are planning to pursue ACS certification. It is recommended that you not register for Nav2 until after you have completed Nav1.

You may enroll in Nav1 at any time and there is currently no requirement for speed of completion. The price for enrollment is $75. Like most other CMC courses, you will be required to sign a general liability waiver.

The Nav1 course is comprised of the following components:

Part-A. Pre-recorded content (5-6 hours) delivered online and self-paced via learning management platform at This part may be accessed at your convenience and requires you to use a computer with internet access and speakers. You are encouraged to access course modules or suggested reading material as many times as needed to gain a firm grasp of the content. (If you buzz through the recordings and move on to the field day, you are cheating yourself and you may be depriving other students of the best possible experience during the field day. Be thorough and move forward when you are ready. Also remember you may return to this Nav1 course content any time so long as your CMC-Schools account remains active.)

Part-B. Self-study and practice of core competencies (1-2 hours). This is a general homework assignment which you may conduct in outdoor settings of your choosing. When you're feeling confident in your understanding of the material, move on to the next step.

Part-C. Online interactive group webinar (1 hour) for Q&A and logistics planning (pertaining to field day). This is a group session conducted via Zoom conferencing software. You will need a computer with internet access, microphone and speakers. You'll actually have to register for the field day under Part-D, and with that you'll find out when the webinar will be conducted. The webinar is attended by the same students and instructors who will be with you on the field day. Generally, the webinar is conducted on a Weds or Thurs evening at 7pm MT,  2-3 days prior to the Saturday field activity. Instructors will track participation.

Part-D. In-person group field day (6-7 hours). Each field day will be posted as a separate trip on the CMC calendar. Use the password received in Part-A to enroll in the trip and the associated webinar. Instructors will track participation and report course completion to CMC office.

(There's a quick summary section further down that runs through the above in a couple sentences; read that and hopefully it will make sense.)


After registering for the course, a couple of things will happen. Please allow 1-2 weeks for the following to occur:

- an online account will be activated on learning management platform, You will receive a notification via email when your account has been setup.

- a packet will be mailed to the home address you entered during registration. This will contain printed maps and handouts for your use throughout the course and beyond.

If the preceding two actions are not completed in a timely fashion, please contact CMC Office for follow-up.

There is recurring open informational session for Q&A regarding CMC Nav1/Nav2 courses. Attendance at this session is entirely optional, and is open to any CMC member who is interested in learning more about Nav1/Nav2 classes in general, as well as for registered students who have questions or feedback regarding Nav1/Nav2 course material or field activities.

The session is conducted via Zoom web conferencing software, so you’ll need a computer with internet connection, microphone, speakers, and hopefully web enabled video camera.

This info session is scheduled to recur on the first Wednesday evening of each month, 7:00-7:30pm MT; but please check the CMC calendar for zoomlink and any scheduling adjustments for that month.


QUICK SUMMARY: Complete the online course and homework assignments. Review any material that you feel shaky about, or attend the first Weds of the month Q&A Session for help. When you're ready, take the provided password and use it to register into the field day and associated webinar. Finish both and check your member transcripts. Get out there and practice your skills. Volunteer your time and talents to help improve the program!

Regarding registrations, payments, account setup, or packet mailing, please contact, or telephone 303-279-3080.

Nav1/Nav2 Lead Instructor: Mark Frymier,


Nav1 Mod0: Waiver
CMC Waiver
Nav1 Mod1: Course Overview
Nav1 Course Introduction & Welcome
Nav1 Course Positioning
Nav1 Course Outline
Nav1 Mod2: Maps
Nav1 Maps 1 - Types
Nav1 Maps 2 - MetaData
Nav1 Maps 3 - Contours & Topography
Nav1 Mod3: Compasses
Nav1 Compasses 1 - Types & Features
Nav1 Compasses 2 - Working Parts
Nav1 Compasses 3 - Setting Declination
Nav1 Compasses 4 - Azimuth & Directions
Nav1 Compasses 5 - Accessories & Tools
Nav1 Mod4: Earth Science
Nav1 Earth Science 2 - Magnetic Declination
Nav1 Mod5: Core Competencies 1-2
Nav1 Core Competencies Overview
Nav1 Comp 1 - Read Terrain
Nav1 Comp 2a - Orient Map (indoor)
Nav1 Comp 2b - Orient Map (outdoor)
Nav1 Mod6: Core Competencies 3
Nav1 Comp 3a - Position (area, line, point)
Nav1 Comp 3b - Position (Triangulation - overview)
Nav1 Comp 3c - Position (Triangulation - field bearings)
Nav1 Comp 3d - Position (Triangulation - backbearings)
Nav1 Mod7: Core Competencies 4-5
Nav1 Comp 4 - Measure Distances
Nav1 Comp 5a - Measure Slope (indoor)
Nav1 Comp 5b - Measure Slope (outdoor)
Nav1 Comp 5c - Measure Slope (outdoor2)
Nav1 Mod8: Core Competencies 6
Nav1 Comp 6a - Bearing Operations Overview
Nav1 Comp 6b - Measure Bearings on Map
Nav1 Comp 6c - Measure Bearings on Map (more)
Nav1 Comp 6d - Follow Bearings on Map
Nav1 Comp 6e - Follow Bearings on Map (more)
Nav1 Comp 6f - Measure Bearings in Field
Nav1 Comp 6g - Follow Bearings in Field
Nav1 Mod9: Homework and Terminology
Nav1 Homework - Skills Practice
Nav1 Travel Techniques & Terminology
Nav1 Plotting Exercise
Nav1 Online Course Conclusion
Nav1 Mod10: Webinar and Field Day
Nav1 Q&A Webinar - Field Day Planning
Nav1 Field Day - Rotating Schedule

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

You will need a compass to complete the Nav1 or Nav2 courses. If you don't already have a compass, or if the compass you have is for whatever reason not well suited for the task, then it begs the questions of what compass should you select, and how quickly should it be procured?

The Nav1 course is not going to tell you to purchase a specific brand or model, but within the course we will explain and recommend features that we consider to be essential.

On the one hand, it is helpful to have a compass right in front of you as you are viewing the course material, because you can examine closely and try-out various features or techniques as they are explained by the instructor. For that reason you might want to purchase a compass early in the process.

But on the other hand, before you plunk down $50 or possibly more for an instrument that you intend to use for years or maybe decades, an instrument that just might save you and your hiking companions from embarrassment or humiliation or worse... it may make sense to view the compass sections within the Nav1 course, and use the provided information to help you decide which model would be the best choice for you. Hope that helps and good luck!

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.