First Ascent is a wilderness orientation program for incoming transfer and incoming first-year students facilitated by Appalachian’s office of Outdoor Programs. This opportunity provides students with challenging experiences that are designed to assist them in finding their place in the Appalachian family.
First Ascent provides three options for students, First Ascent Wilderness, First Ascent Basecamp, and First Ascent Expedition.
First Ascent Wilderness is a four-day backpacking adventure in the North Carolina mountains where small groups of students develop bonds that will last throughout their college experiences as they travel, camp, and laugh together through the rugged landscapes of the High Country. Students will explore nearby forests, experience unmatched views, and find crystal-clear swimming holes just when they need them most.
First Ascent Basecamp is a five-day adventure / service experience located minutes outside Boone. Students will be based at ASU’s Broadstone facility where they will sleep in cabins and prepare their meals. Throughout the week, students will participate in climbing, rafting, and other adventure activities as well as volunteer at a local farm where they will learn the skills necessary to develop their very own garden at the Broadstone facility. First Ascent Basecamp is a unique opportunity for incoming ASU students to explore the outdoors around Boone while getting involved with some local service projects on nearby farms, therefore creating a better understanding for sustainable living.
First Ascent Expedition is a seven-day expedition located around the High Country. Students will experience a 3 day self-support river trip where they will learn the essentials of river camping and how to safely navigate class III whitewater. Upon finishing the river section the students will embark on a 4 day backpacking adventure in the North Carolina mountains where they will develop bonds that will last throughout their college experiences as they travel, camp, and laugh together through the rugged landscapes of the High Country.
All First Ascent experiences are led by competent and qualified Junior/Senior level student leaders who, in their time at Appalachian, have taken advantage of the many resources both on campus and in the surrounding mountains that have helped them to develop the skills necessary to make First Ascent an unforgettable experience.
If this sounds interesting to you, please take some time to watch the video below and look around the rest of the website. You will find lots of information about the cost, dates, and what to expect. Appalachian is excited to be able to offer incoming students this unique opportunity to experience adventure in our own backyard. We look forward to seeing YOU out on the trail.
Here is what one student had to say:
“I went on First Ascent during the summer of ‘05 and it was one of the best experiences I have had at college. I had never been backpacking before, or had even done that much camping for that matter, so the trip was a definite challenge for me. I learned so much about myself, about the outdoors, and how to interact with my peers. Whenever I talk to incoming freshmen, I always recommend First Ascent, because I know first hand how awesome it is and how easily I was able to fit into college life as a result of it.”