In addition to living in southern Utah's desert canyon environment (we will be traveling in the greater Cedar Mesa region), this trip will emphasize technical travel (using ropes, harnesses, and other rock climbing gear) through the area's steep, exposed, and narrow terrain.
Participants will develop a heightened understanding of risk management in 4th and 5th class terrain, learn to build anchors to support rappels, handlines, and pack lowers and raises, "drop" slot canyons, and do their share of hand-over-hand scrambling and possibly some wading through pools. More straightforward hiking—along flat canyon washes and mesa rims—will also be likely.
To optimize learning, you will set up 1-2 base camps which you'll venture out from on a daily basis. This is the NOLS equivalent of car camping, so you can carry some more luxury items in your backpack and don't have to spend as much time moving camps. We find this model gives more time to play in the canyons.
The trip also emphasizes the extensive flora and fauna of the area, canyon-specific Leave No Trace skills, and the fascinating and mysterious human history of the canyons.
This is a fantastic trip to share with non-grad guests, friends or family.
*Days are warm, but long days, steep terrain, loose footing, and sleeping on the ground increases this trip's challenge.