Adult Leadership Expedition — North Carolina, Rock Climbing & Backpacking
At the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we know adventure. Immerse yourself in outdoor adventure, while learning the skills to travel & explore remote destinations!
North Carolina offers the perfect setting for a backcountry, wilderness adventure. Explore the Grand Canyon of North Carolina, Linville Gorge, one of only two wilderness gorges in the Southern U.S. and summit Black Balsam Knob, a 6,240-foot peak in the Pisgah National Forest.
During this 14-day North Carolina backpacking & rock climbing course, you’ll find yourself exploring North Carolina while you climb and hike. Starting on our North Carolina-based campus, you’ll spend powerful days learning and exploring in NCOAE’s backyard, with all of our resources at our fingertips.
NCOAE is excited to offer this one-of-a-kind outdoor education program specifically designed to build natural survival skills through outdoor activities such as rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, camping and wilderness trekking during this 14-day expedition through beautiful North Carolina.
Trek through a variety of remote areas in the North Carolina Appalachian Mountains, which may include the Pisgah National Forest, the 30-mile-long Art Loeb Trail, Cedar Rock, Stone Depot, Lower West Rights, and the Shining Rock Wilderness Area.
Much of your time will be spent mastering skills required to explore these mountain areas, including learning the basics of camp set-up, rock climbing, backpacking and other technical outdoor skills.
During every other moment, you’ll be learning, sharpening, and practicing the skills to plan and lead adventure-based experiential education trips.
- Leave No Trace (LNT) Awareness certification
- Expedition planning and logistics
- Rock Climbing skills
- Advanced backpacking skills
- Remote wilderness camp craft, including backcountry cooking and food planning
- Teaching-level knowledge of NCOAE’s core curriculum and education framework
- Develop essential wilderness knowledge and skills — while living and learning in North Carolina’s wild, beautiful places.
- Immerse yourself in a wonderland of densely forested hills, cool mountain streams, cascading waterfalls, and stunning rock formations.
- Acquire the outdoor skills needed to travel in pristine destinations around the world!
Your work during the 14-day Adult Leadership Expedition course may eligible for up to three college-level credits through The University of North Carolina – Wilmington.
If you are interested in earning additional academic credit for a course, learn more about our Gap Semester courses which may be eligible for up to six college-level credits.
- Gain new leadership and outdoor skills
- Make new friends and lasting memories
- Explore wild and remote North Carolina mountains from the trail to the rivers
- Challenge yourself like never before
- Eat amazing backcountry meals
- Earn college credit
On the Map
- Pisgah National Forest
- Shining Rock Wilderness
- Black Balsam Knob
- Carolina Beach, NC
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the North Carolina 14-day Adult Leadership Expedition?
Explore the wilderness on a 14-day backpacking & rock climbing adventure. You’ll visit a variety of remote areas in the North Carolina Appalachian Mountains, such as the Pisgah National Forest, the 30-mile-long Art Loeb Trail, Cedar Rock, Stone Depot, Lower West Rights, and the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. Along the way, you’ll explore these mountain areas as you practice the basics of camp setup, rock climbing, backpacking, and other outdoor skills.
Where will we be staying?
We’ll be living in tents and enjoying our evenings in different areas most nights, identifying the stars and sharing highlights of our learning.
Is the 14-day course offered in other locations or on different dates?
We offer Adult Leadership Expeditions in a variety of locations and during different periods throughout the year to accommodate the destination and schedule that works best for you. You can also explore Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, North Carolina , Patagonia, and Ecuador at various times of the year.
What level of experience do I need to take this course?
No prerequisites are required. Throughout the course, you will acquire the knowledge and skills required to complete the course and to navigate and thrive in the wilderness and in life in general.
Who should take this course?
This course is best suited to those who want to challenge themselves in rugged, backcountry conditions.
How different is the 14-day course, compared to the Outdoor Educator and Semester courses?
If you’re looking for a longer course in North Carolina with more time for additional exploration and adventure, we suggest you consider joining us for a 25-day or Gap Year / Semester course. You’ll go even more in-depth, combining the highlights of local topography, geography, and culture with our exceptional Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course.
What do I need to do physically to prepare for this course?
You do not need to be an “Ironman” to participate in this course. That said, you will be required to carry your own pack, with your own gear and some group gear. Your pack will weigh between 40 and 50 pounds at any given time. You will be hiking over rugged terrain, crossing rivers, and climbing rugged ridges.
What is the average group size and instructor/student ratio?
Each group has two or three instructors and eight to 12 students. We maintain an instructor-to-student ratio of no less than one instructor for every six students.
What are the minimum and average ages of participants?
The average age range for this course is 19-27 years old.
Do I need to buy any special equipment or clothes for the course?
Yes. NCOAE provides all necessary group gear and food, but you will want, or be required, to bring certain items for yourself. We encourage you to contact NCOAE with all of your gear questions as early as possible. Start planning now by viewing the NCOAE pack list for this course.
Beyond my tuition, what will I need to pay for in North Carolina?
Your tuition with NCOAE covers all major costs related to your room, board, and lodging, except when specified in the itinerary. You may request an optional meal out when we are in an urban area, which you would need to pay for separately. Additionally, you’ll need to budget a small stipend for your personal items, including souvenirs, extra snacks, and gifts
What kind of food will I be eating?
Since we will be carrying all of our food on our backs, we’ll be eating many of the items that begin in their dehydrated forms; water weight is not something we want to carry. Expect meat, vegetables, fruits, grains, and even fresh baked bread and pizza! Of course, you’ll be making them all from scratch — learning to cook backcountry gourmet on the trail.
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14 Day ADULT LEADERSHIP EXPEDITION
Participating in an NCOAE course has been one of the greatest experiences of my life!
It helped me to grow emotionally and taught me skills that I am able to transfer into my everyday life. I am truly grateful and lucky to have been a part of this program