Advanced Wilderness Survival


This 4-day / 3-night course is designed to teach you in a more physically demanding and hands-on way how to respond to a wilderness emergency.  This course may not be for everyone … But those few who do finish it, give a thumbs up and show a happy (though weary) smile!

The goal of Advanced Wilderness Survival is to provide you the skills, knowledge, and confidence to better respond to emergencies in remote or austere environments by exposing you to the demands and issues with which you would likely face in an actual survival situation.  Studies of search-and-rescue outcomes indicate that, because 95% of all missions conclude within a 72-hour period, if you can function and adapt to the most common stressors — such as lack of gear, supplies, and time, plus weather, fatigue and hunger — then your chances of returning home improve dramatically.  So, should the worst occur, you’ll be ready and prepared, not to rise to mere expectation, but to rely on your training and hard work.


Signaling Exercise

You will learn the same modern approach to wilderness survival that is taught to U.S. military personnel to bring them home.  Your training will start with the basics of land navigation as we make our way off-trail to our basecamp.  You will also learn: to tie basic knots and lashings; the basics of first-aid and prevention, and how to deal with potential life threatening injuries, like the cold and snake bites; how to procure potable water; improvise tools; and to confidently build a fire in all types of weather conditions … including rain.  You will sleep, not in tents, but rather in improvised emergency shelters that you construct earlier each day.  You may not bring sleeping bags or pads.  You may not bring any food or snacks – instead, you will be issued minimal provisions at the start of the course.  All cooking with be done over  coals.  You will be tasked with various projects and challenges throughout the course — And you’ll have the option of spending the last night alone on your own.  By the time that you’ve finished your course, you’ll have a better sense of risk assessment and management so that you can ideally avoid an emergency in the first place.  Regardless, you’ll be ready to protect yourself and others, then return home with pride.


From our anonymous course evaluation

But don’t worry, you’ll learn while still having fun in the process!  Each of our instructors have a great reputation for their ability to work with clients of all skill levels and backgrounds in a way that only builds their self-confidence by bringing out their best.  From the start of the course until its conclusion, you’ll be working with the other members of your group as a team.  And you’ll see how much shared travails can bring a team closer together and improve everyone’s sense of humor … which you’ll learn to appreciate is a vital part of survival.

This course is geared towards participants of all skill levels and backgrounds so no particular experience, prerequisites, or athletic ability is necessary. We only require that you bring the necessary equipment, your sense of adventure, and your Positive Mental Attitude. From there, we will work together to take care of the rest. However, please note the “Level of Physical Difficulty” description below so that we can all get the most out of the program.

Here is an overview of the program:

  • Course Duration: 4-Days / 3- Nights
  • Tuition: $750
  • Maximum Group Size: 8
  • Minimum Age: See below for details.
  • Start / End Times: 10:00 a.m. Day One / 12:00 p.m. Day Four
  • Location: Quebec Run Wild Area (see below for more detail).
  • Description of the Level of Physical Difficulty – Moderate to Strenuous:  This course involves multiple sessions of hiking with laden backpacks, walking and other activities over varying distances at a steady pace over varying terrain that will include off-trail sections, rough spots, unexpected obstacles, and low to steep inclines and declines.  This course is conducted in varying weather conditions, including hot, cold, humid, rain, wind, and snow, or a mixed combination.  This is a physically active course, with only 2,400 calories issued for the duration of the program, so it is best suited for those in good physical condition and ready for a fast paced day.  If you have any questions, or would like some guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us

Check Out these Answers to Commonly Asked Questions:

What happens when I register?   One of our instructors will personally follow up with you regarding your contact information, basic medical information (for safety purposes), and our waiver.  Then we will send you a detailed course information sheet which will contain all of the applicable details, like required and recommended gear, exact gathering point, general driving directions.  For an overview of the gear list now, check it out further down.

Quebec Run Wild Area – Click to enlarge.

Where is Quebec Run Wild Area located?  Quebec Run Wild Area is a 7,441 acre reserve within Forbes State Forest, located roughly 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, along the West Virginia border.

Are bathroom facilities available during the course? Since Quebec Run is a designated “wilderness area” there is no infrastructure whatsoever, including toilets.  Besides, if you are interested in this course in the first place, I’m sure you’d feel let down if we answered “Yes.”

What is the minimum age required for our courses?  In our open registration courses, children 15-17 years old are welcome when accompanied by a parent or guardian.  In our private courses, however, there is no set age requirement as it depends on the specific group’s needs and goals.

What about the Coronavirus?  True North continues to follow all Center for Disease Control and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines to minimize transmission of COVID.

AWS Equipment List

Course Equipment List – Click to enlarge

What kind of gear do I need to bring?  If you would like a better sense of what gear you need to bring on the course, or optional gear to consider, then check out the equipment list that will be included with the course information sheet.

However, since one of our course goals is to teach you about survival gear, plus offer you a chance to “test drive” it before you buy it, if you don’t have an item, don’t necessarily feel compelled to buy it right away … especially if it’s expensive.  Instead, contact us to see if we can loan you an item or make a recommendation for purchase.