Travel Experiences
Double Diamond Expedition

Student Hike, Raft, and Climb Out West

On a trip sponsored by John L. Townsend III ’73, 12 students spent three weeks over the summer in the wilderness of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Townsend, who started rock climbing as an adult and has summited most of the major peaks in the West, initiated the trip several years ago to give EHS students a chance to challenge themselves and learn about outdoorsmanship.
The trip, called the Diamond Acre Expedition after Townsend’s Diamond Acre Ranch in Yellowstone National Park, included hiking and camping in Montana and Wyoming; whitewater rafting on the Salmon River in Idaho; and climbing the Grand Teton in Wyoming.

The students, who were selected on the basis of an application and a faculty recommendation, say the expedition revealed strengths they didn’t know they had and brought them together in a way that would not be possible anywhere else. The students on this summer’s trip included Nico Benitz '14, Alex Brennan '14, Brett Dewing '14, Gigi Dick '14, Page Dudley '14, Mandy Holt '14, Allston Moore '14, Jackson Neagli '14, Aubree Phillips '15, Celeste Pritchard '14, Will Slade '14, and Gates Young '14.

“Diamond acre was truly an experience of a lifetime,” said Dudley. “Hiking through Wyoming and Montana for three-and-a-half weeks challenged each of us and brought a great group of upperclassmen together.”

The journey began in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and continued on to the trailhead of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness in Montana for four days of backpacking. The group whitewater rafted the Salmon River for the next three days, and then traveled back to Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming, to prepare for a backpacking excursion through the Beartooth Wilderness. After a day exploring Yellowstone, they backpacked throughout the Beartooth in south central Montana. They then returned to Jackson Hole and attended a two-day rock climbing school with the Exum Mountain Guides in Grand Teton National Park. Once ready, the group climbed to the saddle of the Grand Teton and attempted to climb the summit. At the conclusion of the climbing adventure, the group enjoyed an end of summer banquet before departing from Jackson Hole to return home.

For more information about the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness, Beartooth Wilderness, and other areas the group traveled, please visit here.