Training Overview


What is Cal-ESAR's training like?

The training program consists of seven weekend courses across seven months—approximately 160 hours. It is designed to train someone with no prior experience to become a competent field-ready ground searcher. The training program topics include general backcountry skills, navigation, search methods, shelter-building, knots, rappelling, and more.

When is the training?

The training takes place over the course of seven weekends, beginning in October and ending in April.

New Candidate Orientation

  1. Outdoor skills

  2. SAR Navigation

  3. First aid & CPR

  4. Search and Rescue Skills

  5. Technical Skills

  6. Advanced Navigation

  7. Skills Evaluation

  8. Winter Skills (optional)

  9. Yosemite PSAR (TBA)


Most training weekends begin are: 8:30am Saturday - ~3:00 pm Sunday. All weekends except the First Aid training weekend require primitive overnight camping.

In order to be certified to respond to SAR callouts you must complete all training weekends.(There are no make-up weekends).

Guest and Pet Policy

Training weekends are for members of Cal-ESAR. Pets or non-registered guests (e.g. siblings, significant others, friends) will detract from the training and cannot attend. Sorry, this is a matter of liability and unit policy.