Patagonia | Mountaineering

Discover Patagonia’s breathtaking views – you’ll remember forever the 360-degree vistas and a remote high-altitude land as you backpacking and mountaineer.

Questions? Call NCOAE Support (910) 399-8090


At the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we know adventure. Immerse yourself in outdoor adventure, while learning technical outdoor skills in the remote Chilean backcountry!

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14 days


Course Information

Adventure First

During this 14-day Patagonia Mountaineering course, you’ll find yourself exploring Chile's rugged, remote wilderness.

The snow-capped volcanoes of Patagonia and powerful heights of the Andes serve as our classroom. Within this landscape, you’ll develop solid outdoor skills within the framework of the NCOAE wilderness curriculum.

Travel to the Andean backcountry along the Chile — Argentina border. Experience views that you cannot imagine – you’ll remember forever the 360-degree vistas and a remote high-altitude land where the people are as rugged as the mountains. On the trail, you will rely on travel plan design and advanced navigation techniques, all of which we’ll teach you.

During this 14-Day Alaskan Mountaineering Course you’ll be practicing ice & snow climbing skills, advanced rock climbing skills, as well as hiking on glacial stones, snow, ice, or tundra – climbing demanding peaks and learning the skills necessary to summit mountains, while managing the risks in these environments. You may even get the chance to apply your new skills in the last few days of the course with a “graduation climb” up a mountain peak.  and backpacking skills during your multi-day trek.


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  • Duration: 14 days
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Tuition: $3,450.00
Available Dates
Jan 11, 2020 - Jan 24, 2020

Education Always

  • Leave No Trace (LNT) training
  • Expedition planning and logistics
  • Mountaineering skills
  • Remote wilderness camp craft, including backcountry cooking and food planning
  • Ice and snow gear and travel techniques
  • Navigating international logistics and Spanish-language variables
  • Itinerary
  • FAQs
  • Credits
  • Outcomes
  • Downloads

Itinerary Highlights

  • NCOAE core curriculum
  • LNT Awareness training
  • Gain experience in expedition planning, wilderness risk management, mountaineering skills, environmental studies, backcountry navigation, leadership in the wilderness, outdoor technology skills, and more
  • Ice and snow gear and travel techniques
  • Remote Patagonia trekking & mountaineering

Why Take This Course

  • Develop Mountaineering skills
  • Explore Patagonia’s mountain ranges
  • Advance your knowledge of environmental science and outdoor leadership curriculum — while living and learning in Chile’s wild, beautiful places
  • Discover which areas of outdoor and wilderness education are best suited to your strengths
  • Acquire the skills needed to travel in remote, pristine destinations around the world!

Where You’ll Be

  • Chile and Argentina
  • Pucón Base
  • Volcan Villarrica and Volcan Lanín
  • Villarrica National Park
What is the 14-day Patagonia Mountaineering course?

The Patagonia Mountaineering course is a 14-day wilderness adventure takes you to the southern hemisphere where you’ll learn the skills you need to plan and prepare for backcountry outdoor adventures. You will develop a wide-range of wilderness and leadership skills, including mountaineering, snow & ice travel, avalanche rescue, backpacking, backcountry cooking, wilderness camping, international travel planning, environmental and civic responsibility, leadership and communication styles, decision-making, and teamwork.

Where in Patagonia will our course visit?

Your group will board a plane bound for Santiago, Chile, where you will be introduced to our local contacts. Soon after your arrival, you will explore some of the most beautiful mountains and rivers in the world, from the snow-capped volcanoes of Patagonia and powerful heights of the Andes. Chile is a land of extremes, and you’ll see it all — from the driest desert on the planet to the extensive southern glacial fields and everything in between.

Your course may include mountaineering on 19,213′ Volcan San José on the Chile-Argentina border, trekking to Volcan Villarrica and Volcan Lanín and exploring Villarrica National Park.

Is the 14-day course offered in other locations or on different dates?

We offer this course 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 explore the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, or the North Carolina at various times of the year.

How different is the 14-day course, compared to the Outdoor Educator and Semester courses?

If you’re looking for a longer course with more time for additional exploration and adventure, we suggest you consider joining us for an Outdoor Educator or  Semester / Gap Year 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.

These courses allow for a wide variety of activities against the backdrop of lush greenery, winding rivers, and some of the oldest mountains in the world.  Explore the mountains to the sea, while earning the top certifications required in the outdoor industry, such as Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification, Leave No Trace (LNT) certification, AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) Single Pitch Instructor training, American Canoe Association (ACA) Swift Water Rescue certification, and ACA ‘Trip Leader’ certification in Sea Kayaking.

Do I need to have any previous experience in outdoor adventure sports?

No. Previous experience is not required. NCOAE will teach you all the basics you need to know to thrive in the wilderness, and then let you apply them among your group of peers. We will train you in the skills necessary to become a competent wilderness traveler.

What activities will I engage in?

The 14-day Patagonia mountaineering course begins by helping you develop foundational outdoor and adventure education skills. You will learn wilderness medical skills and gain hands-on experience in expedition planning, logistics, backpacking, mountaineering, backcountry cooking and food planning, remote wilderness camp craft, ice and snow travel techniques, environmental and civic responsibility, backcountry navigation, wilderness risk management, Leave No Trace (LNT) outdoor ethics, leadership and communication styles, as well as decision-making and teamwork. You will return home confident in your ability to travel and explore remote places around the world!

How far will we backpack in Patagonia?

While there are no predetermined distances, you may travel several miles one day and none the next. You will learn to embrace and appreciate the unknown and unexpected.

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 14 Day Patagonia Mountaineering Pack List.

Beyond my tuition, what will I need to pay for in Patagonia?

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 do I need to do to physically 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 glaciers, making high altitude ascents, and negotiating deep valleys and steep ridges.

How many people will be in my group?

Each group has one to three instructors and eight to 15 students. We maintain an instructor-to-student ratio of no less than one instructor for every four students.

What is the average age of participants?

The average age is about 21 years, with a range between 18 and 60. The minimum age to enroll in the course is 18.

Will we have any free time to ourselves?

Part of every NCOAE course is the solo experience. You will have the opportunity to spend a set number of days alone in the backcountry to meet your personal needs and desired outcomes.

Academic Credit

This course is NOT eligible to receive college credit through the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. If you wish to attend a course and receive academic Credit the following courses are eligible for up to six college-level credits through The University of North Carolina – Wilmington:

All courses are found in SeaNet under the following Course IDs:

  • EVS 485 — Issues in Sustainability: 6 credits
  • EVS 592 — Issues in Sustainability: 6 credits


Course Outcomes

This 14-day course is strenuous and will test your route-finding skills, stamina, and ability to excel in the outdoors. You will bushwhack, travel steep side-hills, navigate challenging terrain, cross multiple ice-cold streams and rivers, and encounter untouched flora, fauna, and landscapes.

Where do you want to go (physically, mentally, socially, academic, etc.)?

Traveling through Patagonia will allow you to rely on yourself and your fellow outdoor leaders – for everything. Additionally, you’ll learn environmental and civic responsibility, backcountry navigation, wilderness risk management, outdoor ethics, leadership and communication styles, as well as decision-making and teamwork. You will return home confident in your ability to lead others and guide, and instruct groups in the backcountry using your newfound skills.

How will NCOAE help you get there?

The 14-day Patagonia – Mountaineering course is the affordable adventure option if you are seeking extraordinary outdoor skill development, including: wilderness risk management, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, backcountry cooking and living, and expedition planning. Best of all, you’ll advance your opportunities to travel in the wilderness, and to affect positive changes in the world.

Upcoming Dates / Reserve Your Spot

This 14-day Patagonia Mountaineering course is only offered through NCOAE, which is why we’re excited to offer it in the remote Chilean wilderness.

Available Dates
Jan 11, 2020 - Jan 24, 2020

You’ll develop your personal leadership style, gain wilderness skills, and learn effective tools for communication. Finally, you will acquire skills with self and group assessment and develop the ability to teach and share your appreciation of the natural environment with others.