This summer, get ready for a real adventure: hiking and camping in Wyoming’s famed mountains with a group of peers ages 14 and 15. Work hard and have fun as you backpack along high ridges and climb soaring peaks. Go fly fishing in clear alpine lakes and make cinnamon rolls on a campstove. In the evenings, share laughter and stories by the campfire with your new friends. Fall asleep under starry skies, listening to the sound of wind in the lodgepole pines.
This course takes place either in Wyoming’s Bighorn or the Wind River Mountains. Both ranges are known for their fishing, wildflowers, and dramatic scenery. Designed for 14- and 15-year-olds, this course provides an excellent all-around introduction to mountain travel.
Your course will begin with basic camping and travel techniques: cooking and stove use, map reading, Leave No Trace techniques, and practices for hiking and camping in grizzly bear habitat. Later, when you’re ready, the group will move on to more advanced topics: fly fishing, compass use, rock climbing, snow travel, first aid, expedition behavior, and leadership.
You’ll occasionally have a layover day to rest, enjoy a beautiful campsite, go rock climbing, fish, or summit a peak. In the Bighorn Range, you might try an ascent of Bomber Mountain to investigate out the remains of a B-17 airplane that crashed during World War II, or attempt to climb Cloud Peak, the highest point in the range. In the Wind River Range, students often highlight climbing Raid Peak or fly fishing in high mountain streams.
During the course, you’ll live with two or three other students in a “cook group”. These small groups help disperse your impact on the land and help you learn backcountry living. On this course, tent groups are single gender, but cook groups might be co-ed.
The emphasis of the leadership curriculum will be on experiential learning, though you’ll also have some formal classes. 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. As your group demonstrates strong interpersonal skills, your instructors will give you greater responsibility for leading yourself and your peers. By the end of this course, you’ll have the technical and leadership skills to pursue your own backpacking trips in the wilderness.