Young Women's Mountaineering

“The course was amazing! I want to bring home the knowledge that I can do hard things and that I’ve done hard things.”

-Dulce, MWS student


New for 2017! Empower yourself with a group of motivated young women on a 10-day expedition in Montana. This expedition exposes students to MWS core curriculum while emphasizing mountaineering, climbing, and leadership skills. You will continuously develop your outdoor navigation, camping and team-building abilities while backpacking through a remote area of Montana’s scenic alpine country. As the expedition progresses, you and your team will learn knots, rope-work, backcountry rock climbing and rappelling skills, and attempt technical alpine peak ascents.


Expedition Overview

Dates: August 14 - 23, 2017
Age: 15-18 years old
Group size: max 10 students/2 instructors
Length: 10 days
Tuition: $2,000

Questions? Email Us.


Additional Resources Enroll Now

Expedition Highlights

  • Backpacking, Mountaineering and Alpine Rock climbing/Rappelling
  • Opportunities to summit technical peaks
  • Experience a remote Montana mountain range
  • Leadership curriculum and opportunities to lead the expedition team
  • Opportunities to experience abundant wildlife and pristine ecosystems

Expedition Description

The Young Women's Mountaineering Expedition is an empowering 10-day course where students will develop communication and decision making skills while traveling though a remote section of Montana’s high country. In addition to acquiring backpacking and camping skills, students will learn to navigate through alpine terrain and will apply their knowledge as an expeditionary team on backcountry rock climbs and on technical peak ascents. This expedition also focuses on a connection to place and fosters a conservation ethic as students understand the importance of wild places and the different components of an alpine ecosystem. Students should expect a challenging expedition as everyone will carry heavy packs and be in a mountaineering environment on most days. For more information about MWS core curriculum and expedition progression see Expedition Life

Why single-gender mountaineering?

Montana Wilderness School is offering an all-women’s mountaineering course this summer to encourage and empower young women to travel in the backcountry. Women are an underrepresented user group in the wilderness both in Montana and nationwide. Offering a single-gender course allows more opportunities for female participants to join an MWS expedition. This course is staffed by senior, female MWS field instructors who believe that positive role-modeling is the best way to encourage leadership for all participants.


Expedition Objectives and Learning Outcomes

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
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
Technical Skills

Alpine Rock skills

  • Comprehend and accomplish top-rope safety while climbing
  • Appropriately tie fundamental climbing knots and display proper rope handling techniques
  • Demonstrate safe rappelling techniques
  • Consistently display effective belaying techniques using appropriate methods for varied circumstances
  • Demonstrate understanding and usage of safe fixed-line techniques in alpine climbing situations (if applicable)
  • Demonstrate the ability to remain composed and safe on exposed alpine terrain