Rock camp


"The course was packed with awesome experiences and the people were kind and welcoming."
– Jerrica Martin, 2018 Mountaineering student

Expedition Overview

Dates: June 21 – July 2, 2019
Age: 15-18 years old
Group size: max 10 students/2 instructors
Length: 12 days
Tuition: $2,760
This 12 day intensive expedition in Montana's high alpine country emphasizes rock climbing, leadership skills and traveling in technical alpine terrain.
Questions? Send us an email.
Packing List 
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Expedition Highlights

  • Backpacking, Mountaineering and Alpine Rock climbing/Rappelling
  • Backcountry navigation and Leave No Trace training
  • Opportunities to summit technical peaks
  • Experience remote Montana mountain ranges
  • Leadership curriculum and opportunities to lead the expedition team
  • Opportunities to experience abundant wildlife and pristine ecosystems

Expedition Description

The Rock Camp Adventure is an introductory expedition to backcountry rock climbing for students age 15-18. In addition to backpacking and camping skills, students will focus on developing outdoor climbing techniques including traditional climbing gear placement and multi-pitch climbing and will have the opportunity to apply these skills to technical ascents. Although no previous rock climbing experience is necessary, students on this course will learn a variety of both beginner and advanced rock climbing techniques. Students will be challenged at appropriate physical levels and should expect to spend most days either backpacking or rock climbing in the backcountry. This expedition also focuses on a connection to place and fosters a conservation ethic as students understand the importance of wild places and the different components of the Montana ecosystem. Students will also learn about Leave No Trace principles and learn leadership and communication tools to help their expedition team succeed in their goals. For more information about MWS core curriculum and expedition progression see Expedition Life.

Expedition Objectives and Learning Outcomes

Teamwork and communication skills

  • Learn positive communication skills with diverse group members to create a healthy community, build trust, and make sound decisions in the backcountry together
  • Develop and apply an expedition philosophy on course, and understand how it can transfer back to the student’s home environment

Safety and wilderness based decision making

  • Backcountry hazard evaluation and risk reduction guidelines and tools
  • First aid awareness for backcountry settings: identification and treatment of common backcountry illness and injuries
  • Learn to collaboratively make decisions in remote environments that prioritizes individual and group safety

Conservation Ethic

  • Use basic observational and interpretive skills to demonstrate an understanding and respect for the natural environment
  • Discuss the history, facts and potential solutions to pertinent environmental and social issues affecting the wilderness in the expedition area
  • Reflect upon and discuss the transference of wilderness conservation ethics into personal life and build a capacity for commitment and stewardship to wild places
  • Develop comprehensive understanding of Leave No Trace© ethics and apply them during the expedition

Backcountry camping and navigation skills

  • Use safe backcountry kitchen practices to cook nutritious meals on a camp stove or fire
  • Demonstrate an ability to select an appropriate campsite and set up a shelter while minimizing the impact on the ecosystem
  • Understand and demonstrate how to stay healthy, warm, and comfortable in the backcountry
  • Understand and demonstrate techniques for camping and traveling in bear habitat
  • Use various navigation and route-finding tools and methods for on and off trail travel
  • Travel efficiently in the alpine environment using map and compass skills

Technical Skills

Alpine Rock Skills
  • Comprehend and accomplish top rope safety while climbing
  • Appropriately tie fundamental climbing knots and display proper rope handling techniques
  • Demonstrate safe rappelling techniques
  • Consistently display effective belaying techniques using appropriate methods for varied circumstances
  • Demonstrate understanding and usage of safe fixed-line techniques in alpine climbing situations
  • Demonstrate the ability to remain composed and safe on exposed alpine terrain
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Montana Wilderness School
P.O. Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771
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