Wilderness Orientation, or “Wilderness,” is designed to introduce all new students to the school’s values of respect, responsibility, and excellence through a ten-day backpacking trip. Wilderness also serves the important role of creating a shared common experience through service, teamwork, challenge, and adventure all prior to the start of the academic school year. The skills taught on Wilderness not only benefit students on subsequent outdoor adventures, but also provide valuable lessons and strategies that will help them better approach everyday life at CRMS and beyond.
The individual Wilderness groups travel through the nearby high-country in the Hunter Fryingpan, Snowmass, and Maroon Bells regions.The first three days of the trip are devoted to a service project with the U.S. Forest Service to maintain and improve backcountry trails. The remainder of the adventure entails a week-long backpacking expedition traveling on- and off-trail through the spectacular mountainous terrain. All the expedition leaders are CRMS faculty members who are qualified, experienced, and certified outdoor educators.
Although the program is physically and mentally demanding, no previous backpacking or mountaineering experience is necessary. Students learn to take care of themselves and other group members while living and working together in a new environment. These self-sufficiency and teamwork skills transfer back to their lives at school, in the classroom, and in the dorms, and students come back bonded with new friends and ready to embark on the new school year with enthusiasm and confidence.
For the Wilderness Orientation packet, click here