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Outdoor Skills Training 2009

Course Overview & Purpose

The normal mission of a search & rescue team is to perform the LAST function; to Locate, Access, Stabilize and/or Transport persons from an activity in an outdoor, non-urban setting. The lost (or injured) person's ability to survive the experience is often dependent on his or her ability to make the right choices and decisions during, and sometimes before, their "encounter with nature". 

The goal of this course is to make you aware of the nature of these choices and situations, and to develop the skills and knowledge needed for you to survive unassisted for 72 hours in most outdoor situations in California.  A secondary goal is to introduce you to the search & rescue processes and procedures as followed in California, and the actions expected of you as a search & rescue "ground pounder" during a wilderness operation.

In any type of major disaster or emergency, it is likely that many of life's normal comforts and amenities will be lacking, and that you and your family must be prepared to be self-sufficient for a period of time during the early days of the event. Because Outdoor Skills is designed to acquaint you with these issues and to prepare you to prepare for, and work through situations that arise, it can help you to become a survivor and to act as a lifeline for others around you in times of need.

When & Where

Prep Night:  Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Time: 19:30-21:00
Details: This is prep night for the weekend, we will go through final details of what you will need to bring, as well as finalize paperwork and take care of money.

Course Date: Saturday-Sunday, October 17-18, 2009
Time: 08:00 Saturday to 16:00 Sunday
Huddart County Park, Toyon Campground 2   (Park Home Page)
1100 Kings Mountain RdWoodsideCA 94062
(For Google Maps use, use address 1098 King Mountain Road for better positioning.  Also try the intersection of Kings Mountain and Huddart Park Road.)
To get to the campground, follow signs in the park for Toyon Campground.  The last mile or so is on a narrow gravel road, so be sure to watch for on-coming traffic!

Parking Fee:  $5.00 per vehicle entry.  Park gate opens at 8 am and closes at sunset, be sure to tell them you are with Cal-ESAR in Toyon 2 so they can mark your entry ticket accordingly.

Weather Information

Weather information below is for Woodside, which is the closest town.

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Getting There

Use the map below to get you to the approximate location; an address of 1098 King's Mountain Road in Woodside will get you to the Huddart Road Entrance which is closer to where you want to be than the "official" address.  When you get to the Park, follow signs to the Toyon Group Camp Parking Lot.  Watch for Cal-ESAR signs!  Look at the satellite view and street view for more details.  Remember, there is a parking fee of $5/vehicle that is not covered in your training fees, so carpool if you can.

Huddart Park Entrance

Note: None of the content mentioned below is from our Cal-ESAR pages, they are all external sites, so your mileage may vary.  Please report any inappropriate content or broken links to us ASAP.
  1. The official Huddart Park website is here
  2.  More information on the park, its trails and the surrounding area is available at Bay Area Hiker.


  1. Complete Intro Night Forms
    1. Medical Consent Form (For both Adult and Youth)
    2. BSA Forms
      1. Adult (21+) Application Form
      2. Youth (under 21)
        1. Youth Application Form
        2. Parental Consent Form
  2. Pay training fees
    1. $125 for new members, $50 discount for Yosemite Summer Camp Attendees
    2. Checks made out to “Cal-ESAR” preferred.

Skills Emphasized

  • Shelter building and site selection (tarps, rope and stakes provided)
  • Fire building
  • Clothing care & selection
  • Food selection, storage, preparation & transport
  • Elements of a SAR base camp
  • Radio fundamentals
  • Basic navigation techniques
  • Beginning SAR techniques (hasty search and carry-out)
  • Personal sanitation
  • Minimum impact camping
  • Basic knots
  • "Rule of 3s" and Survival priorities
  • Important Plants (Friend and Foe)

Equipment List For Outdoor Skills 

  • Boots
  • Day Pack / Book Bag
  • Sleeping Pad / Bag
  • Clothes appropriate for cold, strenuous hiking and rain, such as rain jacket/poncho, sweatshirt, jacket, 2+ pairs of socks (wool or synthetic preferred), 2+ T-shirts, long sleeved shirt, 2 pair pants (1 light/1 heavy), belt.
    • Note: Many light layers of clothes are preferred to a few layers of heavy clothing.
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, soap
  • Personal Meds (if needed)
  • Sturdy bowl, cup, and spoon. Pocket knife optional but highly recommended.
  • Enough food for two lunches and snacks. Lunches should be able to be eaten on the go. Dinner and breakfast will be provided.
    • If you already have a backpacking stove, feel free to bring it along and use it, meals will be a group activity and will be a good opportunity for everyone to share ideas and demo equipment and techniques.

  • At least two bottles of water (filled to the top) and/or CamelBack-style bladder.
  • Headlamp, or small flashlight.
  • Extra items:
    • Wool or Synthetic  Stocking Cap or Balaclava
    • Chapstick
    • Sunglasses
    • Sunscreen
    • Neckerchief and/or Microfiber Towel
    • Small bottle of hand sanitizer (.5, 1 or 2 oz bottle size is fine)
    • Roll of Camping/Travel TP (in a zip lock), such as Charmin To Go or equivalent.  This location has permanent restrooms, but Be Prepared!


Click here to login to the Trainer's Site and gain access to training materials and course notes.  If you have access problems, let us know!

Comments? Questions? Problems?

Ken Buscho

Outdoor Skills Course Director