The GES7 Class Series

Do you want to spend more time outside this quarter? Are you new to outdoor activities but have always wanted to learn how to travel in the wilderness? Do you have some backcountry experience but want to improve your skills?

Then you should join us for the incredibly awesome experience that is the GES 7 class!

GES 7A (Fall)

In fall we will teach an introductory wilderness skills class, focusing on backpacking in summer and fall conditions. Among other thing, you will usually experience amazing views during a peak attempt.

GES 7B (Winter)

In winter we will teach snow camping, and backcountry travel in winter conditions. During this class you will learn how to backcountry ski, snowshoe, build a snow kitchen, and many other fun skills.

GES 7C (Spring)

The spring class focuses on intermediate wilderness skills and is for students with some experience in the backcountry. We will teach backcountry skiing, basic mountaineering techniques, and many other skills with a focus on leadership.

Class Time/Location

The class is held on Wednesdays 7-9pm in room 320-220. Show up to the first class if you're interested. In this quarter the first class will be Wednesday, September 25 at 7pm in building 320 room 220.

For more information about what the class entails and how it works, read the FAQ below. More details on the current class can be found on our page for current students.

About the GES7 Class Series

Heralded as the most fun class on campus, GES7 is a one-unit class that teaches introductory outdoor and camping skills. You do not need any prior backpacking experience to participate in the class. You will need appropriate personal clothing, but we can outfit you with all the necessary equipment and group gear.

GES7 is a quarter-long course offered for one course credit through the geology department. It includes one classroom session each week (Wednesdays, 7-9 pm) and four weekend trips each quarter. The course emphasizes the themes of minimum impact, leadership and group dynamics, and technical skill development. The fall course covers introductory backpacking; the winter course covers introductory winter backpacking and backcountry skiing; and the spring course is an advanced course covering backpacking, basic mountaineering techniques, and backcountry skiing, while emphasizing leader development. The course accommodates 12 students each quarter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it really that much fun?

Yes! Going into the mountains of California with 12 other Stanford students four weekends during fall quarter could be the best thing you do at Stanford! You'll also be introduced to an incredible group of people who love to go on wilderness trips.

What will I learn?

The class is geared for students who have little or no experience backpacking, camping, or climbing in the backcountry. We will teach skills required for safe and fun backcountry travel over a variety of terrains, as well as introductory rock climbing techniques. Class topics include selection and proper use of clothing and gear, nutrition and hydration, first aid, backcountry navigation, weather assessment, minimum impact camping, group dynamics, and outdoor leadership.

How do I apply?

Just show up for the first class. In Fall and Winter (GES 7A/B) there is a lottery since our class size is limited to 12 students. For the advanced class in Spring (GES 7C) we usually have a more formal application process, which will be explained during the first class meeting.

Is there a class fee?

Yes. This quarter, the fee is tentatively set at $200 to cover the food, gas, permits, and gear necessary for your four wilderness trips. However, we try to ensure that the fee is not a barrier to anyone. We offer the Chris Hooyman Memorial Scholarship every quarter.

What sort of gear do I need?

OEP provides most of the gear for all of your trips, including tents, stoves, sleeping bags and pads, skies and ski boots, cookware, and first aid kits. You will need your own clothing (like jackets, long underwear, hiking boots, etc). Come to the first class or email the instructors list for information on where to get reasonably-priced gear. We may even have some you can borrow!

Who can take the class?

Due to university policies, the class and workshops are currently only open to registered students. We give priority to students who can take the class for credit. Wilderness lectures are open to everybody.

Where did you go in the past?

In the past couple of years the class included trips to Yosemite (e.g. Glacier Point in winter, rock climbing in fall), Tuolumne, Ventana Wilderness, Tollhouse Rock, Mount Rose, Mount Silliman, Cosumnes River Gorge, Desolation Wilderness, Alta Peak, Castle Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Point Reyes, and many more.