You’re eager to leave the ground and see the mountains in a way that few ever will. You’re keen to learn technical rope skills, improve your strength and flexibility, and study the art of alpinism. Whether you’re a veteran sport climber looking to learn traditional climbing or a curious novice, this is the course for you.
This expedition takes place in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, blending rock climbing with the fundamental outdoor skills required to live comfortably in the wilderness. The Wind River Range is a rugged, glacier-carved range renowned for its sheer granite and world-class climbing. Ultimately, you’ll learn the skills necessary to travel in the mountains long after your expedition is over.
You’ll start with basic camping and travel skills: cooking and stove use, map reading, Leave No Trace practices, and techniques for hiking and camping in grizzly bear habitat. A foundational course goal is building an inclusive community with your peers. Learning the value of teamwork, you will tackle group challenges and achieve common goals. Once in the mountains, you’ll establish camps where you’ll base your climbing activities for up to five days at a time.
Your climbing instruction starts with the fundamentals, including tying knots, rope handling, belaying, protection placement, anchor building, and rappelling. After you’ve spent time top roping, you’ll be introduced to more advanced climbing. Topics may include vertical-cliff rescue, fixed-line ascension, the fundamentals of lead climbing, and multi-pitching. During this part of the course, it may be possible to follow an instructor up climbs that are several hundred feet long and take most, or all, of a day to complete. Additionally, if you demonstrate proficiency with all necessary techniques, you may have an opportunity to lead climb. By the end of this course, you’ll have the skills and experience to pursue a lifetime of climbing adventures.
*Duration: 21 days (8–10 hiking days, 10–12 climbing days)
*Average group size: 12–15 students and 3–4 instructors
*Average age: 19 / minimum age: 16
*Average pack weight: 50-65 pounds
*Introduction to wilderness living and travel
*Extensive rock climbing curriculum, including basic rescue skills
*Potential to lead and climb multi-pitch routes
*Black and grizzly bear habitat