The High Mountain Institute (HMI) Gap Semesters unite outdoor adventure, meaningful service, and participation in a strong community to cultivate the skills and character necessary to succeed in college and beyond. 

The conservation movement began with early explorers. In pursuit of adventure, people traveled to remote regions and extreme landscapes; they left with strength of character and a deepened sense of their place in the world. HMI Gap reunites adventure with conservation, taking you on an incredible journey to these iconic and wild places. With programs traveling through Patagonia and the American West, you will discover more about the world and yourself, make lasting positive impacts, become independent in your outdoor skills, develop intellectual maturity and effective leadership, and leave more prepared to pursue your life's ambition.

During the fall semester in the American West and Patagonia, you can choose a rock climbing or wilderness travel focus while working on meaningful service projects on public lands.

During the spring semester in Patagonia, you'll focus on cultural exploration, wilderness travel, service-learning, all while studying in-depth conservation issues in the region. College credit is offered through the Colorado Mountain College and need-based financial aid is available.

Since 1998, the High Mountain Institute has offered empowering experiences in inspiring places, known as a leader in combining wilderness education, intellectual inquiry, and personal growth. With programs for middle school through college graduates, our school boldly engages students with the natural world, promoting independent thinking and habits of mind that enhance self-reliance and transfer beyond the boundaries of the High Mountain Institute. Students return from HMI having discovered a version of their best self, carrying with them the skills to work effectively on a team and emerge as leaders in their community. 

Cost and Session Information

12 week semesters in the fall and the spring. Tuition is $14,300, airfare not included.

  • Fall: (September 19-December 7, 2018)
    • Climbing and Conservation in the American West and Patagonia 
    • Wilderness and Conservation in the American West and Patagonia
  • Spring: Wilderness and Conservation in Patagonia (January 19-April 8, 2019)



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