Leadership Summit

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Leadership Summit


Oregon, Washington

Current Grades

12th, 12+


42 Days

view dates and prices
Meeting Place

Arrive: Seattle, WA (SEA)
Depart: Portland, OR (PDX)

Leadership Summit offers a profound and intensive opportunity to deepen outdoor, interpersonal, and leadership skills. Students will gain mastery in outdoor skills like backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, and whitewater kayaking; take a wilderness first responder certification course; and earn academic credit. Participants will begin the evolution from student to leader, laying the foundation for planning and executing future outdoor trips or working in the outdoor industry. We limit enrollment so students can dive deeper to improve outdoor leadership, group facilitation, wilderness ethics, environmental education, and team-building initiatives. Students will have the opportunity to earn up to 10 academic credit hours through Western Carolina University. Leadership Summit graduates also have the opportunity to apply to Adventure Treks’ internship program.

Watch the Leadership Adventure Semester video

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Leadership Summit Itinerary

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Wilderness first responder course

Not only is it important for outdoor enthusiasts to have a basic understanding of wilderness medicine, but the wilderness first responder course is also the standard minimum medical certification for outdoor leaders like guides, search and rescue professionals, and educators. (Adventure Treks alumni often go on to become instructor interns after having gained this certification.) It’s also an extremely beneficial course for anyone who takes extended backcountry trips and wants to pursue emergency medical training. Over 72–80 hours of classroom learning and hands-on scenarios, students will cover topics like:

  • Patient assessment systems
  • Risk management
  • Vital signs
  • Anaphylaxis, allergies, and airway management
  • Heat- and cold-related injuries
  • Spinal and traumatic brain injuries
  • Wounds and soft tissue injuries
  • Trauma and shock
  • Burns and blisters
  • Bites, stings, and wildlife safety
  • Splinting and patient packaging
  • Dislocations
  • And much, much more
Backpacking & advanced camp craft

Year after year, backpacking is the most highly rated activity at Adventure Treks for many reasons, including shared challenge, lack of electronic distractions, and what we call “shared humanity.” There’s magic in overcoming obstacles, and it’s even more powerful when challenges are shared with friends. Without electronics, people able to focus on what’s in front of them, and what’s important: themselves, their friends, and creating long-lasting memories. Students are able to step into different leadership roles, and backpacking highlights commonalities and interests that form strong, unbreakable friendship bonds. Backpacking offers opportunities for both type I fun (seeing beautiful views, having deep trail conversations, jumping into swimming holes) and type II fun (steep inclines, inclement weather, forgetting something and having to problem-solve)—both of which create rewarding, meaningful experiences.

Students will hike through North Cascades National Park and Olympus National Park on several extended backpacking trips, honing such skills as:

  • Expedition management and safety
  • Orienteering, map-reading, and navigation skills
  • Leave No Trace principles
  • Camp set-up and take-down
  • Building temporary shelters
  • Fire-building
  • Backcountry cooking
Rock climbing

You’ll quickly realize why Smith Rock attracts climbers from all over the world as you test your grit on the welded volcanic tuff that comprises the impressive spires in the park. Over several days, try your hand at varying levels of both single-pitch and multi-pitch routes.

Skills covered in the syllabus include:

  • Advanced knot-tying
  • Belaying & rappelling
  • Anchor-building
  • Movement techniques
  • Self-rescue

The Pacific Northwest is known for its ancient volcanic peaks that lend themselves to beautiful mountaineering opportunities in the summer. On Mt. Adams, we’ll learn how to use ice axes and crampons on snow school before attempting to summit the 12,281-foot peak. Then we’ll take that knowledge and apply it toward Mt. Olympus, where you’ll begin your backpack in a lush, vibrant rainforest before making the dramatic transition to crossing the Blue Glacier on a rope team.

Skills covered in the syllabus include:

  • Proper use of crampons and ice axes
  • Glissading and self-arrest techniques
  • Traveling on a rope team
  • Weather considerations and planning for summit attempts
  • Leave No Trace ethics for alpine terrain, snowfields, and glaciers

Dates and Prices

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Academic credit through Western Carolina University

Spring semester students have the opportunity to earn up to 10 hours of academic credit through Western Carolina University’s Parks and Recreation Management department.

Students are responsible for pursuing academic credit, including completing the WCU application for admission and class registration and submitting the course fees ($65 application fee + $55 per credit hour for 4 credit hours).

Included in tuition:
  • All meals
  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, and all group and technical gear
  • Guided activities
Not included in tuition:
  • Airfare to and from Seattle, WA (SEA), and Portland, OR (PDX)
  • Program insurance (more info here)
  • Personal clothing and items (packing lists available for enrolled families)
  • Tuition and application fees for Western Carolina University



Whitewater rafting

Rock climbing


Wilderness first responder course


Kate Wojeck, Erdenheim, PA

Everyone was here because they genuinely wanted to be, and because they were excited to be active community members and leaders. My instructors had lighthearted, spirited mindsets about making the most of everything and keeping jokes and laughter a core element. They had incredible knowledge of the world, experiences, and stories to share, which I loved observing and learning from. At AT, I’ve learned to trust myself. Through experiences of becoming more vocal and leading others, one of the more profound lessons I’m taking away is the knowledge and embodiment of trusting my mind and body. AT has an atmosphere of love, adventure, and challenge unlike any other place. It’s truly a community that holds space for the truest, most authentic version of yourself, as long as you show up for it. I am grateful to you all for everything you’ve given to us!

Sam Kramer, Highland Park, IL

Adventure Treks is the happiest place on earth! The people I’ve met at AT are some of the coolest people I know. AT is the place where I truly belong and become my best self. It’s shaped me in a way that has made me a better human and better outdoorsman. My five years at AT have been the best five years ever. I just want to say thank you for making my experiences unbelievable. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without AT!

Katie Stevens, Asheville, NC

I am beyond grateful for this much-needed breath of fresh air. I have never felt more grounded and connected to the natural world, this community, and myself. On top of that, I have stories and adventures to last a lifetime, and I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned at AT and apply it to all aspects of my life. Words cannot adequately express how thankful I am for this summer and these friendships.