High Adventure

HighAdventureYoung people today seek greater challenges to their physical, mental, and emotional capacities. High-adventure treks entice them to ‘stretch’ to attain the goal of successfully completing an extensive backcountry trek. They will learn to work together to overcome difficulties and to grow in critical thinking, judgment, and decision-making skills that will last a lifetime. High adventure inspires young people to undertake worthy challenges and to work together to meet common team objectives. It offers a meaningful and lasting experience in their lives.

The exhilaration of being in the wild outdoors is hard to top. Free from the distractions of everyday life, a trekker has a chance to pause and reflect. There are no ringing telephones, instant messages, e-mail, televisions blaring tragic events, traffic congestion, school, work, or meetings.

The Passport to High Adventure guide is designed to help older Scouts, with guidance from their adult leaders, to plan and safely carry out national, council and unit high-adventure treks using ‘leave no trace’ techniques.

Click here to download BSA’s Passport to High Adventure guide

Below is a summary of BSA’s 4 national High Adventure Bases, followed by a list of regional council High Adventure programs.

BSA National High Adventure Bases

As a long time standing tradition, thousands of units from all over the country travel to these high adventure bases. If you are interested in traveling to these bases, follow these links to Scoutings four most popular National High Adventure Bases. Start your journey today!

Philmont Scout RanchPhilmont

The Boy Scouts of America’s premier high-adventure base, challenges Scouts and Venturers with more than 200 square miles of rugged New Mexico wilderness. Backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs offer young people many ways to experience this legendary country.

Northern TierNorthern Tier

Offers Scouts and Venturers the best in wilderness canoeing treks. Beginning in December, you may participate in the challenging cold-weather camping program called Okpik (OOk’ pick). The Northern Tier offers many adventures, each geared to the goals and desires of your group. Come to the Northern Tier for an unforgettable experience in the world famous northwoods “Canoe Country

Florida Sea Base Seabase

Owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America to offer unique educational aquatic programs to our members. Located in Islamorada and on Summerland Key in the beautiful the Florida Keys as well as Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas, the heart of the Florida Keys, the near shore reefs and crystal clear waters offer unparalleled opportunities for long term and short term programs year round.

The Summit Bechtel ReserveSummitbetchel

Situated in the wilds of West Virginia, The Summit is an adventure center for the millions of youth and adults involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and anyone who loves the outdoors. Home to the National Scout Jamboree, the Summit is the 4th BSA High Adventure Base.

Regional High Adventure Bases

Parsons High Adventure Base

Camp Parsons high adventure treks will challenge older Scouts who are looking for an excellent outdoor experience. Kayaking/Canoe Trek: Scouts will canoe along the shores of the Hood Canal, viewing unmatched scenery and wildlife while meeting the challenges of navigation and planning. Hiking Trek: This expedition will provide breathtaking vistas and daunting challenges, creating memories that will last a lifetime. link to Parsons High Adventure Base

Montana High Adventure Base

Montana High Adventure Base offers Wilderness trekking and packrafting for Scouts and Venturers in America’s remotest wilderness!

North Idaho

Enjoy miles of guided whitewater rafting that flows along wilderness back country – at a great value. The Salmon river provides plenty of action while you navigate through stunning canyons on paddle boats and hike an array of historical Native American sites. These trips specialize in team building efforts so they are ideal for all Scout Troops, Venturing Crews, and Explorer Posts. (A demanding program for those 13 years and older) See for yourself how this activity is a perfect escape with a mix of fun-filled excitement and relaxation.

Maps: One of the 10 Essentials

Maps are one of the 10 Essentials.

Always carry a detailed topographic map of the area you are visiting, and place it in a protective case or plastic covering.  Always carry a compass.  A Map and Compass is used for Orienteering, the use of map and compass to find locations and plan a journey.  Check out the Orienteering merit badge.

There are a number of free map resources available on the internet that allow you to view and create maps.  One of the most full featured free mapping tools is   HillMap it  is a web based mapping app that lets backcountry travelers create and print free, customizable maps from high quality map layers.  You can also use hillmap tools to calculate slope, check the weather at your destination, analyze snowpack, and more.

Here are few other great mapping resources:





Google Map: Stehekin Area


Leave No Trace

Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award

Boy Scouts and Scouters interested in learning more about outdoor ethics and Leave No Trace should begin by exploring the Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award. The requirements are as follows:

  1. Recite from memory and explain the meaning of the Outdoor Code.
  2. Watch the National Park Service Leave No Trace video.  It’s on the right side of the page.
  3. Complete the Leave No Trace online youth course . Print the certificate.
  4. Earn the Tread Lightly! online course  certificate. Print the certificate when you are done.
  5. Participate in an outdoor ethics course, workshop, or training activity facilitated by a person who has completed the BSA outdoor ethics orientation course or is a BSA outdoor ethics trainer or master.

The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace_logo_tagline_url.jpg
Plan Ahead and Prepare

Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
Repackage food to minimize waste.
Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
In popular areas:
Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
In pristine areas:
Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

Dispose of Waste Properly

Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave What You Find

Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

Respect Wildlife

Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
– See more at: http://lnt.org/learn/7-principles#sthash.oG58MmLx.dpuf

Order of the Arrow

Scouting’s National Honor Society
For more than 90 years, the Order of the Arrow (OA) has recognized Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well. Arrowmen are known for maintaining camping traditions and spirit, promoting year-round and long term resident camping, and providing cheerful service to others. OA service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to extend Scouting to America’s youth.

The mission of the Order of the Arrow is to fulfill its purpose as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America through positive youth leadership under the guidance of selected capable adults.

As Scouting’s National Honor Society, our purpose is to:

Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.
Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.

Our Local Lodge

Our Local lodge for the Mount Baker district is Sikhs Mox Lamonti.

Sikhs Mox Lamonti

Layering & staying warm on hikes.

Scouts camp year round, and you probably have concerns about keeping your Scout warm!  Well the best and most flexible way to stay warm in the backcountry is layering.  You have probably heard this phrase before – dress in layers for hiking.  Does it work, yes and proven by thousands of hikers around the world.

There are three layers – base layer, middle layer and outer layer. The base layer – next to the skin layer is probably the most important layer as it regulates your body temperature.  The middle layer insulates you from the cold and keeps you warm.  Finally there is the outer layer that protects you from wind and the rain.

Watch this short video from boy scouts premier backpacking destination Philmont Ranch to find out more!

Trail Assessment

The Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared” to be prepared on a backpacking trip you must be prepared with both the gear you carry on your back, and most importantly what you bring between your ears!

To enjoy your trip you will be bringing 3 resources; Gear, Supplies and Skills.Be Prepared

But past assembling your gear and food, how can you ensure that you are in fact prepared?

You need to know what to be prepared for! To do this you must ask yourself what is the environment and route conditions you will experience on this trip? The questions you have to ask are: What is the temperature high or low, is there a possibility of rain, will the terrain we are hiking on be muddy or dry, will there be insects or animals we need to take precautions for, and what is the remoteness of our destination.

Trail Assessment:
This might seem like a lot but if we all work together we can quickly and easily gather this information!

Climate & Daylight
• Average Temperature High and Low (Note: adjust about 3 degrees for every 1,000 vertical feet.)
• Average and record high/low precipitation
• Wind & Cloud cover
• Hours between civil sunrise and civil sunset (Note: expect 30-60 minutes of less daylight due to heavy cloud cover.)

Problematic wildlife/insects
• Types, e.g. mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-um’s
• Peak intensity
• Intensity fluctuations based on time of day, location, wind
• Bears
• “Mini bears example: mice, raccoons, marmots

Vegetation & Water Availability
• Types, example: trees, brush, none – Thickness/density
• Allergens, example poison ivy
• Combustibility for fires
• Distance, terrain and time between water sources
• Water Reliability

Footing & Navigation
• Snow-covered or snow-free
• If snow-free: rocks, dirt, sand, vegetation, dry, dusty, wet, muddy, smooth or uneven?
• Visibility, example open or forested
• Topographical relief, example subtle or prominent features
• Quality of trail tread
• Signs, blazes, cairns, posts
• Quantity/frequency of use or social trails

• Distance and time to the closest trafficked road and the closest town with services
• Natural barriers to self-rescue, e.g. canyons, thick brush, big rivers
• Cell reception

What resources should you consult in assessing environmental and route conditions? These will help:
• Climate atlas and historical weather data.
• Landsat images, e.g. “satelite” view on Google Maps
• Geo-tagged photos, e.g. photos on Google Maps
• Topographical maps, e.g. USGS topos
• Guidebooks, databooks, and water charts
• Official information published by land mangers and trail associations, made available on their websites and in their printed materials
• Communities, e.g. online forums, hiking clubs
• Local experts, e.g. backcountry rangers, lodge owners, experienced backcountry users

50 Miler Award

What is the objective of the 50-Miler Award? The award seeks to stimulate interest in Scouting ideals and promote activities that improve personal fitness, self-reliance, knowledge of the outdoors, and understanding of conservation.

Who is eligible for the 50-Miler Award? Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, and Scout leaders.

What constitutes a qualifying trip? A chartered unit or provisional group might organize a trip, usually a high-adventure trek. The unit must make a complete plan for the trip that includes possibilities for advancement. The group must cover a trail (or a canoe or boat route) of not less than 50 consecutive miles and take a minimum of five consecutive days to complete the trip—all without the aid of motors. During the trip, each participant must spend at least 10 hours working on a conservation project such as trail maintenance.

Ten hours of service seems like a lot. Is there an alternative? If it’s not possible to complete the service requirement during the trip, you can do a similar project in your home area. This is how Philmont crews can complete the 50-Miler Award, because they do only three hours of service during their treks and an additional seven hours later.

What means of transportation can we use on our trip?The award covers hiking, bicycling, boating, and canoeing. Pack animals may be used where appropriate, but requirements prohibit the use of motors.

Can a Scout or Scouter earn the 50-Miler Award more than once? Yes.

How do we apply for the 50-Miler Award? Complete the 50-Miler Award application (No. 34408A) and submit it to your local Scout council service center. Find an application atscouting.org/filestore/pdf/34408.pdf.

Who approves the award? The unit leader or provisional group leader signs the application, which is then submitted to the local Scout council service center for final approval.

What recognition items are available? Recognition items include a decal (No. 32261), an embroidered patch (No. 191), a leather patch (No. 241), and a hiking-staff medallion (No. 14131). The leader should order recognition items when submitting the application.

10 Essentials

The Ten Essentials started as a list of ten simple items and is now a systems approached that guides you in preparing for any trip in any season. The two basic questions are: (1) Can you respond positively to an accident or emergency? (2) Can you safely spend a night or more out?   The Ten Essentials were first described in the 1930s by The Mountaineers, a hiking and mountain climbing club located in Seattle!   Here is the current list from the Mountaineers:

Here is a list of The Ten Essential systems:

  1. Navigation (map & compass)
  2. Sun Protection (sun glasses, sun screen, lip balm)
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination (flashlight or headlamp, spare bulb & batteries)
  5. First-Aid Supplies (gauze, tape, etc.)
  6. Fire (firestarter, matches, lighter)
  7. Repair Kit (knife, duct tape, tools, spare parts)
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water, water purification)
  10. Emergency Shelter (tarp, garbage bag)

Knowledge: Having items in your pack has no value unless you understand how to use them. As one search-and-rescue leader told us, “People talk about the Ten Essentials, but the most important essential is between your ears.”

All of these items should fit into a large Ziploc bag and should be carried by the scout on all outings!

The 10 Essentials System:

1. Navigation
Always carry a detailed topographic map of the area you are visiting, and place it in a protective case or plastic covering. Always carry a compass. Climbers may also choose to carry other navigational tools such as an altimeter or global positioning system (GPS) receiver; other aids include route markers, route descriptions, and other types of maps or photos.

2. Sun Protection
Carry and use sunglasses, sunscreen for the lips and skin, and clothing for sun protection.

3. Insulation (Extra Clothing)
How much extra clothing is necessary for an emergency? The garments used during the active portion of a climb and considered to be the basic climbing outfit include inner and outer socks, boots, underwear, pants, shirt, sweater or fleece jacket, hat, mittens or gloves, and raingear. The term “extra clothing” refers to additional layers that would be needed to survive the long, inactive hours of an unplanned bivouac.

4. Illumination
Even if the climbing party plans to return to their cars before dark, it is essential to carry a headlamp or flashlight, just in case. Batteries and bulbs do not last forever, so carry spares of both at all times.

5. First-Aid Supplies
Carry and know how to use a first-aid kit, but do not let a first-aid kit give you a false sense of security. The best course of action is to always take the steps necessary to avoid injury or sickness in the first place. At a minimum, a first-aid kit should include gauze pads in various sizes, roller gauze, small adhesive bandages, butterfly bandages, triangular bandages, battle dressing (or Carlisle bandage), adhesive tape, scissors, cleansers or soap, latex gloves, and paper and pencil.

6. Fire 
Carry the means to start and sustain an emergency fire. Most climbers carry a butane lighter or two, instead of matches in a waterproof container. Either must be absolutely reliable. Firestarters are indispensable for igniting wet wood quickly to make an emergency campfire. Common firestarters include candles, chemical heat tabs, and canned heat. On a high-altitude snow or glacier climb where firewood is nonexistent, it is advisable to carry a stove as an additional emergency heat and water source.

7. Repair Kit and Tools
Knives are so useful in first aid, food preparation, repairs, and climbing that every party member needs to carry one. Leashes to prevent loss are common. Other tools (pliers, screwdriver, awl, scissors) can be part of a knife or a pocket tool, or carried separately—perhaps even as part of a group kit. Other useful repair items are shoelaces, safety pins, needle and thread, wire, duct tape, nylon fabric repair tape, cable ties, plastic buckles, cordage, webbing, and parts for equipment such as tent, stove, crampons, snowshoes, and skis.

8. Nutrition (Extra Food)
For shorter trips, a one-day supply of extra food is a reasonable emergency stockpile in case foul weather, faulty navigation, injury, or other reasons delay the planned return. An expedition or long trek may require more. The food should require no cooking, be easily digestible, and store well for long periods. A combination of jerky, nuts, candy, granola, and dried fruit works well. If a stove is carried, cocoa, dried soup, and tea can be added. There are many possibilities.

9. Hydration (Extra Water)
Carry extra water and have the skills and tools required for obtaining and purifying additional water. Always carry at least one water bottle or collapsible water sack. Daily water consumption varies greatly. Two quarts (liters) daily is a reasonable minimum; in hot weather or at high altitudes, 6 quarts may not be enough. In dry environments, carry additional water. Plan for enough water to accommodate additional requirements due to heat, cold, altitude, exertion, or emergency.

10. Emergency Shelter 
If the climbing party is not carrying a tent, carry some sort of extra shelter from rain and wind, such as a plastic tube tent or a jumbo plastic trash bag. Another possibility is a reflective emergency blanket. It can be used in administering first aid to an injured or hypothermic person, or can double as a means of