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Slickrock Gathering

The Slickrock Gathering is an event that brings the best primitive skills specialists to BOSS for one week in the spring. During this week, students enroll in a specific course – called a Pathway – to learn that skill from start to finish, in depth, under truly expert guidance.

About the Course

There are a handful of primitive technology or traditional skills gatherings around the world where people come together to teach and learn. At almost all of these, classes are short (usually several hours) and students attend one or two classes per day. This creates a learning experience that, while worthwhile, is by design limited. Short courses must focus on a very narrow aspect of a skill, something that can be taught and learned in only a few hours. At BOSS, we believe students are better served if a class teaches a skill in its entirety and places it within its context in the natural world. At the Slickrock Gathering, BOSS offers distinct Pathways for students to study a skill in depth under the expert guidance and supervision of a master teacher.  The instructors at Slickrock are the most expert you will find at any gathering.  Many of the instructors at other gatherings are the students of these teachers.  This is a unique opportunity to spend a whole week with these individuals.

About BOSS

Since 1968, BOSS courses have set the standard for low-technology camping and hiking techniques, where instruction is conducted with minimal intrusion of modern technology in environments that allow course content to be experienced first-hand. Our commitment to quality and to our core philosophies has earned BOSS its reputation as the survival school to go to when you want to learn from the best in the industry. At the Slickrock Gathering, BOSS offers distinct “Pathways” for learning, giving you the opportunity to focus on a specific interest under the guidance of expert instruction. Our hope is that this makes your time with us more valuable, as you can truly learn something in depth during your week. Pathways are “A to Z” in nature, offering a complete course in each subject from start to finish. Each student is able to collect the raw materials (when feasible), process them into finished materials and then produce usable tools, clothing or food by the end of the Pathway. For example, on the Pottery Pathway, we don’t just teach you how to shape a piece of clay into a pot… We harvest the clay from the earth together, cleanse it of impurities, add temper, shape it, and then, finally, fire it. The result is more than just a beautifully tanned hide or fired pot but a complete picture of the skill and the ability to achieve mastery. There are no prerequisites for a Pathway other than the desire to be completely immersed in the process during the Gathering. Pathways will change over the years, offering you the opportunity to refine and build on your skills – so we hope you will keep coming back for this event.

2018 Pathways


Medicine at our feet: embracing plants as allies in health and healing

Instructor: Constance Lynn (Night Raven Holistic Health) Class Limit: TBD

In this class, we will connect with plants as allies, teachers, and medicine. We have co-evolved with plants…and their medicine offers us a direct relationship with Earth as well as the invisible realms where the mystery of healing begins. Plant medicine provides us with optimum wellness on a daily basis as well as deep healing when illness or disease arises.

In this pathway, each day will include time with desert, mountain and garden environments, communicating with plants through ceremony, meditation, and offerings. Direct experience of making remedies from plants will include the art and ethics of collecting, as well as, preparing infusions, decoctions, poultices, tooth powder, salves, and tinctures. Students will go home with the remedies they prepare as well as foundational knowledge of relating with plants as allies and medicine.



Instructor: Jeff Sanders (The Desert Dawn) Class Limit: 8

In the Traditional Animal Processing pathway, students will learn to slaughter, skin, eviscerate, and, cook a medium sized animal (sheep or goat) in a traditional way, using little more than one’s knife.

The primary goals of the pathway are for students to be in more control of the food they eat by knowing how to process an animal and to explore additional ways of using the animal for utility items.


By the end of the workshop, you’ll be able to use more of the animal for a healthier diet and for utilitarian items; and by doing so, gain a greater appreciation and respect for the life that is given.  You will learn to:

Identify the parts of the animal;
  • Cook the edible parts such as the muscles, organs, bones, and more;
  • Process the non-food parts of the animal including hide, sinew, intestines, bones, and hooves; and
Make utility items and adornments such as cordage, bone knives or awls, gaming pieces, felt or a fleece sleeping pad.

The workshop at the Slickrock Gathering starts with instructor lead processing for the first two days. Then you are allowed to process a second animal. This provides you with the special opportunity to test your knowledge and reinforce your learning from the first animal. The instructor is available during the second processing to answer questions and help when needed, however the goal is for you to explore the process as independently as possible.



Instructor: John Olsen and Kelly Magleby (Anasazi Pottery) Class Limit: 10

In many villages, cooking, water transport, and food storage could not be done without expertly made clay vessels. On the Primitive Pottery Pathway, master instructor John Olsen and Kelly Magleby will teach students the various aspects of pottery, from collecting the raw clay, to processing the clay, to making clay vessels, to firing them in an open fire. Pre-processed clay will be available for each student to work while the raw clay is being prepared for use. Two firings will be done: one instructor-guided and one student-guided. Each student will complete the Pathway with the tools necessary for producing pottery and products from the two firings.


Evening Entertainment

Evenings provide many opportunities for music, storytelling, trade-blankets, games and other activities. We encourage people to bring instruments, trade items, and unique talents to the Gathering.

Meals and Lodging

The tuition for the Slickrock Gathering includes two meals per day (breakfast and dinner) and the freedom to set up a camp on BOSS’s 40 acres of property. Please note that there are some guidelines for where you can and cannot set up your tent and what type of camping is permissible – no RV campers are allowed on the property. For those with RVs, water & electricity hook-ups are available at an RV parking lot just a few minutes walk from the property (additional fee required). If you have questions or concerns not addressed here, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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