mountains to missouri


“It was a good experience with amazing leaders and I want to do it again!"
– Brian, 2018 MWS Student

Expedition Overview

Dates: June 10 – 21, 2019
Age: 15–18 years old
Group size: max 10 students/2 instructors
Length: 12 days
Tuition: $2,520
1 week backpacking & 1 week packrafting (inflatable kayaks)
Questions? Send us an email.
Packing List 
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Expedition Highlights

  • Backpacking in remote wilderness areas
  • Packraft (like an inflatable kayak) whitewater on a scenic Montana river from the mountains to the confluence with the Missouri River
  • Learn swift water rescue techniques
  • Adventurous backcountry paddling experiences
  • Wilderness decision-making and communication skills
  • Experiencing abundant wildlife and ecosystems

Expedition Description

The Mountains to Missouri Expedition is an adventurous 12-day course traveling from headwaters on the Continental Divide all the way to the Missouri River. Students will travel by both foot and by packraft while in the backcountry and will develop their leadership and communication skills, and connection to wild spaces. The course begins with a physically challenging backpacking section in the Montana high country followed by a transition to packrafts and paddling a river on the Rocky Mountain Front to its confluence with the Missouri River, along the way learning backcountry living skills and whitewater paddling. This expedition also focuses on Leave No Trace principles, personal growth, and building a positive and supportive expedition community as students face new challenges. 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 an expedition philosophy, apply it to the 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 conveyance 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

  • Inflating, deflating, packing and securing equipment in an inflatable packraft
  • Reading water and understanding hydraulics in swift moving water
  • Swift water rescue skills
  • Packraft control and paddling skills in swift moving water and rapids
  • Fly fishing opportunities available
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Montana Wilderness School
P.O. Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771
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