Outdoor Programs


The Nature of Outdoor Programming

Outdoor activities challenge both mind and body and involve an element of risk. To manage this reality, Outdoor Programs has developed a risk management strategy that encompasses and supports all aspects of our trips, classes, and other programming. Outdoor Programs is committed to investing time and resources into these practices because the health and well-being of our community is our highest priority.

Pre-Trip Meeting and/or Classroom Session

Attendance at pre-trip meetings is expected. These meetings are used to coordinate trip logistics, including carpooling, group meals, and group equipment, and gives the leaders and the group an opportunity to meet each other, clarify expectations, introduce the itinerary, and explain important Outdoor Programs’ policies and procedures. These meetings start at 7:00 pm and usually last 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Please plan on being there the entire time.

Required Paperwork

Acknowledgement of Risk, Release Agreement, and Health forms must each be read, filled out, and signed to participate in the outing. The Health form is necessary to assist leaders in case of a medical emergency; please fill it out thoroughly. These forms will be included in your confirmation packet. Please bring the completed forms with you to the pre-trip meeting.

Outdoor Programs does not provide transportation. Transportation is the responsibility of the group members, and our leaders will help facilitate carpool transportation to the site with participants. The group will share gas expenses and those who volunteer to drive will not pay for gas. If there are not enough participants with vehicles for a given trip, it will be the group’s responsibility to rent a vehicle or arrange alternative transportation.

Climbing Wall

Climbing Wall Use

• The Wall is available for use by current UCSF students, staff, faculty, and members of the Fitness & Recreation Centers. Non-members can purchase a 10-Visit Pass or Single Visit Pass.
• Climbers may only climb during open hours.
• Climbing wall participants must read, understand and sign the Release Agreement and Acknowledgment of Risk Agreement prior to entering the climbing wall area. A parent or legal guardian must sign the Release Agreement and Acknowledgment of Risk Agreement for those under the age of 18 to climb on the climbing wall.
• Only participants who have successfully completed a Belay Test and Safety Orientation and all required paperwork are allowed belay during recreational climbing hours.
• Belayers and climbers must follow all procedures covered in the Belay Test and Safety Orientation.
• Orientation or privileges may be revoked by the staff.
• Only climbing shoes, athletic shoes, and tennis shoes are allowed on the wall.
• Climbing equipment is provided. Participants are responsible for the equipment checked out to them. If lost or damaged, a replacement cost will be charged.

Climbing Wall Conduct

• Respect other climbers and belayers around you, and be mindful of the shared space.
• Promptly report any and all accidents, damaged equipment, loose holds, or safety concerns to staff.
• Do not enter the Climbing Area under the influence of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs.
• Avoid climbing routes that interfere with others already on the climbing wall.
• Any climber may be asked by climbing wall staff to adjust, alter, or discontinue any activity or behavior judged to be inappropriate, disruptive, or hazardous.
• Participants should remove exposed jewelry and tuck in loose clothing and long hair before climbing.
• No swinging from ropes.
• No climbing below other climbers.
• Only on-duty staff, instructors, and route-setters may change equipment on the wall.
• Topping-out, standing, or sitting on the top of the wall is strictly prohibited.
• Suggestions and requests are welcome.

Climbing Wall Belaying

• Only participants who have successfully completed the Belay Test and Safety Orientation are allowed to belay other climbers.
• The GRI-GRI belay devices are provided by UCSF and are the only belay devices that can be used on the climbing wall.



How do I register for your trips?
It is easy to become part of our program. Browse our catalog and register online or submit a registration form.
Do I have to be a UCSF student to go on Outdoor Programs trips?

No way! We offer quality programs for students, staff, faculty and the San Francisco community. See more information about our age requirements below.

Can I enroll a group of friends in a program?
Yes, if there is room in the class. If not, Outdoor Programs can help you organize an affordable custom trip to suit your needs. These private events can be booked through the Outdoor Programs office.
Can children participate in adult classes and trips?

Most of our trips are designed with adults in mind. We also provide opportunities for youth. Please contact us for details.

How do I check if space is available?
Contact us directly. If the program is less than two weeks away space will be more limited. If you know you’d like to attend a trip, sign up in as much advance as possible.
What is your refund policy?

The Fitness & Recreation Centers at UCSF adhere to a ‘no refund’ policy for all customer-cancelled registration activities, programs, sessions, lessons or trips; therefore:
• Credit is issues if a customer cancels 7 days prior to the first day of an activity, program, session, lesson, pre-trip meeting or trip.
• For activities, programs, sessions, lessons or trips costing more than $30, credit will be issued as a gift card for the amount paid less a $30 cancellation fee.
• For activities, programs, sessions, lessons or trips costing $30 or less, no credit will be issued an no cancellation fee will be charged.
• No credit is issued if a customer cancels after the deadline stipulated above.

What if my class/trip is cancelled?
Outdoor Programs may be forced to cancel a class or trip due to inclement weather or other circumstances beyond our control. If this is the case, we will offer to transfer participants to a future class, give a full credit or refund or reschedule the course. It is important that the phone number you provide is one you can be reached the night before the program in the case of a cancellation.
Will my class/trip be cancelled if it’s raining?
Gentle rain is not sufficient reason to cancel a class. If the class/trip is going to be canceled for weather reasons, every attempt will be made to contact participants as quickly as possible.


How do I get started in sea kayaking?

Many people start by participating in our Sausalito Moonlight Paddle or our Mission Creek Morning Paddle. These programs are designed for people with little or no paddling experience. The group is usually made up of first timers and some more experienced paddlers. Guides move around to help as needed. If after paddling a few times, you decide you would like to improve your skills, our Introduction to Sea Kayaking course provides a good step.

How fit do I need to be for paddling in your sea kayaking program?
It depends on the program you participate in. Many of our paddles do not require special fitness levels. In fact, some people use paddling to gain fitness while others choose paddling for relaxation. Look at the level ratings listed next to the courses in our brochure. If you have further questions, contact us directly.
Are personal kayaks and gear acceptable?
Outdoor Programs participants must use the equipment we provide for your specific program. Contact us with further questions.

Climbing Wall

How do I get started rock climbing?

Come and see us during Open Climbing Hours – we have everything here to get you started and will walk you through the process. The very best introduction, however, is to sign up for Climbing for Beginners.  We teach the necessary safety procedures and fundamental tools which give the confidence to climb like a pro. If you are already an experienced climber, feel free to visit during our Open Climbing Hours.

When can I climb on the climbing wall?

Please refer to our Recreational Climbing Hours for up to date operational hours. Climbing during “closed hours” is very dangerous, strictly prohibited, and may result in revoked membership privileges.

Do I need a partner to climb on the climbing wall?

Rock climbing is a partner activity. Open climbing hours provide a great atmosphere to connect with other UCSF members. Bring a friend or meet someone new.

What gear do I need to climb on the climbing wall?

All necessary gear is provided. We have harnesses, shoes, and chalk bags available free of charge. You may also bring your own equipment, however, we will inspect to make sure it is in good condition.

Can I bring a group to climb on the climbing wall?

We offer a variety of excellent custom programs for groups of many sizes. Contact us for more information.

Other Questions

Does Outdoor Programs rent equipment?

We offer equipment rental for participants on Outdoor Programs trips only.
If you are looking to rent equipment, we would suggest REI, Outback Adventures or Berkeley Surplus. We do offer some equipment rental for participants on Outdoor Programs trips. UCSF students, contact us for other details.

Outdoor Programs is awesome! Can I come work for you?

We accept applications on a regular basis.The best time to be in touch about Outdoor Programs work is in the late winter for our busier spring and summer seasons.