2014 First Ascent WILDERNESS Dates:
July 11-16th
August 8-13th

First Ascent WILDERNESS is a small group (6-12people) extended backpacking trip for incoming students. Get away from all the distractions of civilization and go deep into the mountains around WCU. You'll leave the trailhead on day 1 with everything you need for 6 days in your backpack. You'll come out the other side on day 6 a different person. Travel from camp to camp and explore mountains, waterfalls, swimming holes, and amazing views. Along the way, you'll work as a team and accomplish the challenges of outdoor living, navigation, and terrain, together as a group. You'll also spend a day rock climbing in a remote location.


  • Develop sense of community among trip participants - CONNECT
  • Learn strategies for success when being immersed in a new environment (outdoors as a metaphor for college life) - LEARN
  • Challenge students to do more than they thought possible (in a supportive environment) - CHALLENGE
  • Explore the mountains around WCU - EXPLORE
  • Learn and practice leadership skills - LEADERSHIP

Trip Staff:
This trip is lead by a team of of the most experienced student staff of Base Camp Cullowhee. These professional staff have gone through a rigorous training regimen including wilderness emergency medicine, training trips, and apprenticeship to qualify to work these trips. Many of them are former First Ascent participants themselves.

$255 (early registration) $275 (late registration)
July 11-16: Early Registration Ends June 20th, Final Registration Ends July 4th
August 8-13: Early Registration Ends July 18th, Final Registration Ends August 1st.
          *Minimum enrollment is 6 people per trip, Maximum of 12 per group
          **Cancellation Policy: There are no full refunds once registered. %50 of your registration fee is refundable if you cancel before 2 weeks before your trip. Within 2 weeks of the trip, no refund will be issued.

Register On-Line

Sample Schedule: *may change depending on weather or alternate route planning by staff
Day 1 - Arrive on campus (am), welcome lunch, gear and food issue, go over expectations, set goals, etc.  Transport to trail head and set up camp.
Day 2 - Learn Navigation (map and compass), Hike (days are 2-5miles), Camp
Day 3 - Explore waterfalls, swimming holes, and amazing views on route to next camp
Day 4 - Short moving day, Rock Climb in route to next camp
Day 5 - Peak ascent and sleep under the stars
Day 6 - Hike out to trailhead, Return to Campus, Clean Gear, Debrief

Rock Climbing:
One day of the trip will be spent rock climbing. Challenge yourself on this 70ft tall cliff with routes suitable for first timers and accomplished climbers. Base Camp staff are safety experts, so trust your rope and your belayer and climb with confidence. Learn how to challenge yourself in the face of adversity, just like at college.

What experience do I need?
None, your instructors will teach and provide you with the skills to make "life in the woods" fun. No worries. Already have experience? Excellent, share you knowledge with others and learn a few new tricks from Base Camp's super-experienced backcountry gurus.

How hard will this trip be?
You should be in good physical shape for this First Ascent program. We will be traveling 2-5 miles a day with 45lb backpacks in mountainous terrain. Contact Base Camp if you have questions about the physical requirements of the program.

What do I need to bring with me?
Here is a packing list of personal items (clothing, boots, etc.) you will be responsible for bringing. We do have equipment like sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, etc that you can use free of charge (see the packing list for details).


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