GB2 Desert Training Program

The GB2 Desert Training Program is a program of courses designed to take a student with little to no experience and teach them the skills they can rely on in a desert and high desert environment. The GB2 System of Training™ recognizes that the majority of people are accustomed to modern living and very heavily reliant on gear. This training system seeks to meet a student where they are and take them through a progression of skills that allow them to be less reliant on gear, and more self- and nature-reliant with less and less gear.

The Desert Training Program includes the Intro to Flintknapping Workshop, Primitive Pottery Workshop, Primitive Basketry Workshop, Hide Tanning Workshop, Whole Animal Processing Workshop, and the Desert Adventure Course. The program is designed to be taken consecutively. Students will first learn to make stone tools, usable clay containers, willow pack baskets, buckskin, and process may useful items from the animal processing workshop like food, a hide, cordage, bone tools, and more. All of this will be part of your personal gear to be used during the 14-day Desert Adventure Course!

Critical Skills Training for the Desert and High Desert

The GB2 Desert Training Program starts with the Introduction to Flintknapping WorkshopOur existence today is largely due to our ancestors learning to control fire, and learning to turn ordinary objects (wood, bone, and stone) into extraordinary tools. Flintknapping is the art of turning stone into useable tools. Flintknapping has been referred to as the first language between humans. No matter where your ancestors are from, at some point in time they used stone tools. It is a skill that transcends geographical boundaries. In today’s modern world flintknapping is no longer a necessary skill, we have an abundance of metal and metal tools are abundant and easy accessible. However, the real value in learning this once critical skill is that it allows us to reconnect with our ancestors, to understand a skill that is millions of years old that in no small part made us who we are today. This Workshop is designed to lay a solid foundation for you to work from and allow you to make useable stone tools you can rely on during your 14-day Desert Adventure Course!

Students will learn:

  • Finding Knappable Stone
  • Reading the Surface of the Rock
  • Principles of Lithic Reduction
  • Techniques: Percussion and Pressure Flaking
  • Knapping Tools (Aboriginal and Modern Copper)
  • First Strike Tools: A Sharp Flake
  • Spalling and Coring
  • Setting Platforms
  • Thinning to Biface
  • Biface Progression
  • Stone Tool Use
  • Refinement of Useable Flakes

The second workshop within the GB2 Desert Training Program is the Primitive Pottery Workshop The ability to create durable and useable containers has shaped human existence for millennia. During this course, you will learn how to take raw clay and turn it into useable Anasazi style pottery. As a class, we will go through these steps, touching on the lessons and messages that creating pots from the land teaches us, and how all the elements are used in a harmonious way in the creation process. This Workshop is designed to lay a solid foundation for you to work from and allow you to make useable clay containers that you can rely on during your 14-day Desert Adventure Course.

Students will learn:

  • How to gather wild clay
  • Processing and purifying clay
  • Finding and processing temper, an essential element in working with wild clay
  • Handbuilding techniques including Coil and Scrape and Corrugation
  • Refining, finishing, and burnishing
  • Making paint and brushes from the landscape
  • Different paint options, organic vs mineral
  • Firing styles, firing temperatures and atmospheres, how to know which is best
  • Open pit firing and examining the results of the process and firing

The third workshop in the GB2 Desert Training Program is the Primitive Basketry Workshop. This workshop provides an introduction to basketry and teaches three different weaving techniques, as well as the principles of shaping and building baskets of any size. Students will be making large baskets suitable for backpacks out of willow. This Workshop is designed to lay a solid foundation in weaving techniques and allow you to make a useable willow pack basket that you can rely on during your 14-day Desert Adventure Course.

Students will learn:

  • Material Selection and Harvesting
  • Shaping and Building Techniques
  • Creation of a Large Pack Basket from Willow
  • Starting a Round or Oval Basket
  • Multiple Weaving Techniques 
  • Finishing Methods
  • How to make Pack Basket Straps

The fourth workshop in the GB2 Desert Training Program is the Hide Tanning Workshop. This workshop will teach you how to take a raw deer hide and take it through the complete process to produce a beautiful buckskin with your own hands! You will learn the process from start to finish: fleshing, braining, softening, and preserving. This buckskin can be used for a variety of utility purposes during your 14-day Desert Adventure Course.

Students will learn:

  • Prepping the Hide
  • Fleshing
  • Brain Tanning
  • Softening and Drying
  • Hand Softening Techniques 
  • Frame Softening 
  • Smoking to preserve

The fifth workshop in the GB2 Desert Training Program is the Whole Animal Processing Workshop. This workshop will teach you everything you need to know to make the most of your harvest. It starts with a respectful and humane dispatch of the animal, and then takes you through the various processing and uses for all the parts of the animal. The obvious uses are food from the meat, organs, and bone, but you will also learn how to tan the hide, make bone tools, use the sinew fibers, and various other useful items that you may have never thought of like durable cordage and rope from the intestines. These items and the preserved food from the animal will be used during your 14-day Desert Adventure Course.

Students will learn:

  • Humane and Respectful Dispatch
  • Meat Processing
  • Bone Broth
  • Harvesting and Use of Animal Sinew
  • Hide Tanning
  • Various Tools
  • Cordage

The culmination of the GB2 Desert Training Program is the Desert Adventure Course. It is designed to teach you the skills that are essential to a safe and enjoyable experience in a Desert and High Desert environment. This is a custom course that is only available once per year. It is a 14-day/13-night immersion course with a heavy focus on developing modern and primitive skills to further your confidence and ability to support your needs in this type of environment. Having the necessary skills in the desert will expand your outdoor opportunities by opening up this incredible environment for recreation.

Students will learn:

  • Essential Gear and Clothing Choices
  • Primitive Friction Fire Techniques
  • Primitive Desert Shelters
  • Finding and Disinfecting Water
  • Primitive Trapping Techniques
  • Basics of Useful, Edible, and Medicinal Plants
  • First Aid for Common Wilderness Injuries
  • Basic Map reading and Land Navigation
  • Emergency Signals
  • Tool Selection, Safety, and Use