Rock Camp


“I got lots more climbing experience and was able to make good friends, instructors were awesome and we all had alot of great laughs, and good times. It was awesome!”
—Michael, Rock Camp student

Expedition Overview

Dates: July 12-19, 2024
Age: 16-18
Group size: max 10 students/2 instructors
Length: 8 days
Tuition: $2,580
8-day adventure through developing climbing techniques, leadership and outdoor skills in navigation, camping, backcountry cooking and teamwork.
Packing List 
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Expedition Highlights

  • Developing outdoor climbing techniques
  • Developing traditional climbing gear placement and multi-pitch climbing
  • Navigation, orienteering, and wilderness travel skills
  • Wilderness decision-making and communication skills
  • Experiencing abundant wildlife and ecosystems

Expedition Description

The Rock Camp Expedition offers 16 to 18 year olds a chance to dive deep into the world of outdoor climbing. While no climbing experience is necessary, this course will be particularly valuable to students with some indoor climbing experience who are interested in learning to climb outside.

Students will travel together to a unique wilderness climbing location, where they will have 8 days to learn essential climbing skills from a team of experienced instructors: setting up secure rock sites, moving well on the rock, lowering and rappelling techniques (and when to use them), and best practices for belaying and communicating with a partner in a ‘top rope setting. The curriculum will include backpacking skills, as the group will be traveling between several different rock sites ideal for practicing specific skills.

During the evenings, the team will come together at camp to prepare communal meals, and the instructor team will engage the group with lessons on Leave No Trace® land stewardship principles, camp craft, wild ecology, Native Peoples and public lands histories, and leadership development. Each student will have multiple opportunities to lead the group as the Expedition Leader of the Day to gain experience with newly acquired leadership skills.

For more information about MWS core curriculum and expedition progression, check out Expedition Life. If you have additional questions, please check out our FAQ page or reach out to

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

  • Outdoor climbing techniques
  • Learn traditional climbing gear placement
  • Become competent in multi-pitch climbing
  • Opportunity to apply these skills to technical ascents
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Montana Wilderness School
PO Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771

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