The university remains open and is actively engaged in maintaining the safest possible learning and work environment.
Click here for the latest university COVID-19 updates.
For details about Student Affairs operations, see the Student Affairs Covid-19 Response. Updated June 10, 2020 at 8:20 a.m.
Appalachian State University has moved to online classes for the summer and has also moved to online orientation. As a result we cannot run the First Ascent program at this time. Additionally, the National Forest Service has closed many trails and roads on the lands that they manage, including the ones we use for this program. With all of these decisions already made, there is no way to keep planning for the program this summer. When we return to campus, please check our website or visit us in the Student Recreation Center to find out how you can get involved with Outdoor Programs at that point. Until then, please follow us on social media; Instagram: @asuop, Twiter: @appstateOP, and Facebook: appstateop. Outdoor Programs is committed to continue offering exciting trips and programs to the Appalachian State community in the future. While we are not able to offer our wilderness orientation trips this summer, we anticipate being able to offer outdoor programs as a part of a student's experience at Appalachian State University.
First Ascent is Appalachian State University's only wilderness orientation program for incoming first-year students and transfer students facilitated by Appalachian State University Outdoor Programs. This opportunity provides students with challenging experiences that are designed to assist them in finding their place in the Appalachian family, utilizing a beautiful wilderness area as the backdrop for this experience.
First Ascent provides four options for students including First Ascent Wilderness, Advanced 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. We have First Ascent Wilderness programs designed for incoming freshman and transfer students.
Advanced First Ascent Wilderness is also 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. The difference between Advanced First Ascent Wilderness and First Ascent Wilderness is that the Advanced program will cover more miles over more rugged terrain.
First Ascent Basecamp is a five-day adventure/service experience located minutes outside Boone. Students will be based at Appalachian State University’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 about the local food community which is vital in the High Country. First Ascent Basecamp is a unique opportunity for incoming Appalachian State University students to explore the outdoors around Boone while getting involved with some local service projects on nearby farms creating a better understanding for sustainable living.
First Ascent Expedition is a six-day expedition located around the High Country. Students will experience a four-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. That is followed by a two-day self-support river trip where they will learn the essentials of river camping and how to safely navigate moving water in tandem canoes.
All First Ascent experiences are led by competent, qualified, and experienced 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 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 to browse 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 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.”