Seventh Grade winter expedition
Group 1: Tuesday-Friday, January 22-25
Group 2: Tuesday-Friday, January 29-Feb 1
WHERE: The Froelicher Hut, a backcountry hut operated by the Tenth Mountain Trail Assn. Each group will cross‐country ski approximately 3.5 miles from the trailhead near Fremont Pass to the hut.
WHAT: Students will have the opportunity to learn basic telemark skiing and to explore snow science and winter outdoor skills. A winter hut trip for Seventh Graders builds upon ski mountaineering skills that were introduced in Fourth and Fifth Grade.
The school has skis, boots, poles, climbing skins and backpacks to outfit the entire class. If you have a good backpack you prefer to use, please bring it in to be checked before the trip. The Seventh Grade will be practicing with their equipment several times. There is a formal pack check on the Monday before the trip.
On the first day, we depart the trailhead in mid-morning to ski in as a group, meandering through spruce and fir forests and crossing snow bridges over streams to reach the Froelicher Hut. This hut was built specifically for educational use; it includes a library and resource center and is a great basecamp for our explorations of the high alpine environment. After orienting ourselves to the hut and covering some basic backcountry skills (melting snow for drinking water, chopping firewood), we prepare dinner and settle in for the evening. At least one night, we will go out for a night ski, and our days are spent touring in the alpine environment, learning about snow science and map-reading, practicing with our beacons, and learning how to navigate the backcountry safely and wisely. Journaling, games, skits, and other activities keep us busy each day and evening. On the final morning, we wake up early to clean up the hut and pack up before heading back to the trailhead.
Outdoor Education is an integral part of our school curriculum, and starting in Middle School, each trip is graded on a pass/fail basis. Unexcused failure to participate will result in a grade of “F” on the report card and transcript.
DEPARTURE TUESDAY: EARLY
We leave earlier than usual to allow travel time to the trailhead. The bus will leave campus at 7:30 am, so be here by 7:15 am to pack up. The bus will leave Basalt Town Park at 8 am and the Cowen Center in Carbondale at 8:20 am.
We will be back at the Cowen Center at 2:05 pm, Basalt Town Park at 2:30 pm, and to campus by 3 pm.
- Please bring ONE LUNCH and SNACKS FOR FOUR DAYS. The school will provide all other meals. Ideas for snacks: G.O.R.P., salami, cheese, packets of nuts, dried fruit, etc. NO CANDY allowed on the trip.
- All students should bring two full water bottles, preferably the Nalgene bottles with a screw‐on lid rather than bicycle water bottles or Camelbacks, which can freeze. Please begin hydrating the night before the trip.
- Backpacks need to be big enough to carry all personal gear and should have a waist belt that fits and rests on top of the hips. If you own a good pack and would prefer to use it, please bring it in to be checked.
- Packs must be kept light by strictly adhering to the equipment list. It is important at this age for students to pack themselves with a minimum of parental help.
- The group will not be traveling in any avalanche terrain, and we will be traveling together in one group.
- The secret to staying warm in the backcountry is to stay dry. Cotton kills! Avoid any cotton clothing. Lightweight wind shell and snow pants are a must.
- Elastic at the bottom of snowpant legs is also critical to keep snow out of the boots. Make sure your pant cuffs are sufficient to keep out the snow.
- Blisters on the first day are always a problem. The leaders will be carrying blister kits as well as complete First‐Aid Kits. One trick to prevent blisters: try putting duct tape on the heel before leaving home on the first day.
- Wear 2 pair of warm socks – one thin and one thick. Buckle boots tightly.
- As the first day is a gentle uphill climb carrying a full pack, students should dress lightly -- and in layers -- to avoid overheating. You can keep a warm later on the top of your pack for quick access if needed.
- The electronic Tenth Mountain Division Hut Assn. waiver must be signed by parents electronically on the huts.org website. Instructions will be sent in early winter.
- NO ELECTRONICS, please, except a headlamp or flashlight: this means no cell phones, no iPods or iPads, games, etc. NO sunglasses or glasses with video capabilities, NO smart watches. Only regular or Rx sunglasses and regular watches. "Radio silence" and a chance to unplug are important aspects of the Outdoor Ed experience. Photos from the trips will be posted shortly after return for parents and children to share.
- Parents: If your child has any food allergies or medical conditions we should be aware of, please contact Collette Newell, Outdoor Education Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.