Summer Wilderness 2021, Summer Wilderness | Earlham College
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Backpacking in Utah

  • Duration: 21 days (1 day orientation, 11 days backpacking, 6 days road-tripping, 3 days Richmond re-orientation)
  • On and off trail travel in alpine and sub-alpine zones (8,500-12,000 ft)
  • Possible 12,000+ ft peak ascent
  • Approximate pack weight at heaviest: 50-60 lbs.
  • Typical Male/Female ratio: 40/60
  • Average Group Size: 9 students/ 3 instructors
  • 3-semester credit hours earned

On this course you'll receive an introduction to the essentials of wilderness travel, in addition to learning more about yourself, your new peers and leaders, and Earlham College. You'll pick up skills including minimum impact camping, mountain travel, map and compass navigation, and outdoor leadership. There will be lessons on geology, environmental ethics, and natural and cultural history (among others). Working hard, traveling over steep, rocky terrain with a pack on your back, in any kind of weather, you'll find strengths you never knew you had!

Our hikes will typically be between five and ten miles a day, at elevations ranging from 8,000 to 12,000 feet. We will make our way along river valleys, travel broad glacier-carved basins, and ascend some of the highest peaks and passes in Utah. As the program progresses, you will take on increasing responsibility for yourself and for the group. There will be rest opportunities along the way to allow time for solitude and reflection. Towards the end of the course, you will test the skills you have acquired with student-led travel days, where you'll make decisions with peers and rely less on input from your instructors.

This experience is a college-level, three-credit course. As such, there will be assigned reading and you will be expected to participate in all course discussions and related activities. In addition, there will be several assignments to complete in the form of journal essays and mini-presentations. Evaluation and grading on the course will be Pass/No Pass. Students will be given a written and oral evaluation at the midway point and at the conclusion of the course.

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.