Summit the San Juans with us
Open to all first-year and transfer students, you can start your college career with an affordable and exhilarating backpacking trip through the rugged and beautiful San Juan Mountains. Your new backyard is full of alpine meadows, trout-filled lakes, deep forests, and jagged high peaks, so why not explore it with a group of your new peers?
Summit the San Juans is led by student leaders trained in wilderness first aid, low-impact backcountry ethics, and group facilitation skills. This experience is for all levels and abilities; prior experience is optional. Participants must be able to hike three miles a day over uneven terrain with a 40–50 pound pack.
When: August 19-24, 2023Where: Weminuche Wilderness Area, San Juan MountainsNumber of students: 60Student cost: $350; full and partial financial assistance is available
Registration opens April 2023.
Plan on arriving on campus during PEAK check-in on Saturday, August 19, between 9:00 am and 12:00 PM.
Summit the San Juans begins on Sunday, August 20, at 9:00 am.
Participants are responsible for bringing appropriate clothing and footwear. Beyond what is available to borrow on the packing list, Outdoor Pursuits has limited clothing available.
Substantial financial assistance is available for those who qualify. To apply, complete the registration process, including the financial assistance application. This will hold your space on the trip. We review applications on a rolling basis. You will be notified by June 15 if you qualify for assistance.
These trips are open for all experience levels and are moderately difficult. Most trails are over gradual terrain, but some include off-trail travel, with elevations exceeding 10,000 feet. Many ridges and peaks offer outstanding views, but challenging, steep sections can require hiking.
Yes, you will be able to drop off any belongings not needed for the trip at your residence hall when you move in on Saturday.
Peak move-in will run from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm on Saturday, August 19. It would be best if you planned your travel to campus so that you arrive during this window.
Roadrunner transport offers $8 shuttles from the Durango Airport to campus. Reservations can be made from their website.
Yes, we will return to campus by Thursday afternoon. This is perfect timing for moving into your room and checking in to New Student and/or Family Orientation.
Any family or friends joining for move-in or Orientation can meet you upon your return and after equipment clean-up. Campus return times will be in the early afternoon. You will be notified of your return time before Peak beginning.
All groups are 10 incoming students and 2 student leaders.The total number of participants is 60.
No, even if you can legally use either of these substances, neither is allowed on Fort Lewis College programs.
You are responsible for your personal clothing and footwear. Please view the packing list for all required personal equipment.
OP has a complete equipment room where you can check out items such as backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc. You are responsible for your personal clothing and footwear. See the packing list for more information.
Yes, you are welcome to use any personal gear you wish (providing it is approved by your trip leader), but you will be responsible for any personal equipment you bring.
No, we will provide food from Sunday's lunch through Thursday's breakfast. We will also provide water treatment systems when we’re in the field.
Yes, but your pack must be at least 70 Liters and meet our staff approval, as you will have to fit food and group gear. Our rental packs are 90 Liters.
Cell phone and music player use is discouraged on the trip, and you will likely not have service anyway.You are welcome to use your phone for photos if you wish, but you should consider how to protect it from rain and use it in airplane mode to conserve the battery.
Please do not bring your own personal emergency beacon device; the groups will already be carrying a satellite communication device.
The weather can range from 70 degrees and sunny to below freezing temps with rain and snow. Please read the packing list thoroughly to be prepared.
The total route length ranges from 12 to 25 miles, with 4.5 days to cover this distance.
Most groups will be between Durango and Silverton in the San Juan Mountains. A few groups may also be La Plata Mountains, just west of Durango.
All routes travel above 10,000 feet, with many groups traveling higher.
Depending on your size, your pack weight may range from 40-60 pounds.
Our groups will fuel their adventures with delicious, nutritious meals. We pack plenty of food so no one will go hungry.
Yes, we can accommodate a wide range of dietary needs and allergies. Please identify your dietary requirements in the registration process.
Yes, if you have a special snack you want to have, you’re welcome to bring it.
Unless otherwise noted, all the below items are REQUIRED to keep you and your group safe and comfortable in the mountains. Summer weather in the San Juan Mountains is very unpredictable. PEAK groups have experienced warm sunny weather, freezing rain, and even snow. Given that it is monsoon season, it is very likely you will get rained on. If you are not accustomed to this weather or know you get cold, please bring extra warm layers. OP can provide items denoted with *
Download printable packing checklist
Learn more about our Student Outdoor Leadership program.
"My peak experience was such a memorable one! Not only did it build a sense of community and trust between peers as an incoming freshman, but it was also absolutely beautiful!! Peak was so much more than a '5-day hike.' So cool to get to explore your new backyard in a very personal and constructive way while making connections and overcoming personal mountains. Plus, the food was amazing the whole way through. I am still friends with people I met through this awesome experience!"
171 Student UnionPhone: 970-247-7090Fax: 970-247-7487Email: email@example.com
Kate MacklinOperations coordinator, Outdoor PursuitsEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: 970-247-6394