This Adventure Mission completed June 18, 2013.
An awesome experience! 6 men, 5 days, 32 miles, 7k ft net elevation change through Shoshone National Forest. Plus, 2 days fly fishing, canoeing, and camping in Lake Jackson, Tetons, Snake River. Daily mass & Rosary with Fr. Belardi and Fr. Frederick.
Check out photos in our Gallery.
Days 1-2 - Lake Jackson was beautiful, and amazing! Bob Pelletier schooled us in fly fishing with top Orvis gear as we paddled about the cool waters surrounded by majestic, snow-covered Tetons. This was about a two hour drive from our home base. It was enjoyable, and a time to adjust to the higher elevations for the Georgia boys. Our last day was fantastic, and vigorous...paddled throughout the lake while fishing before deciding to pack up and paddle three hours back to our vehicle for more fishing in the Snake River. No fish there because of the early season and rapid lake flow, but what an incredible place. Witnessed a beaver on the opposite bank so large we at first thought it was bear. Back at home base by midnight.
Day 3 - team assembled to prep for the Peak Attempt. Briefing: Wilderness First Aid, Leave No Trace, and basic Mountaineering skills. Fr. Belardi joined team, celebrating mass in the local town parish as we prepped gear and grub.
Day 4 (4 miles) - morning Mass, then shuttled to Put-In point at Worthen Meadow Resovoir (9k ft). First day really acclimating to full packs over 50 lbs at elevation. Roughly 5 hours before hitting first camp. Hot temps.
Day 5 (5 miles) - early morning river crossing through the frigid Papo Agie - reasonable flow, but strong enough to require team linking arms through knee-high snow melt waters. This was fun, but soaked the feet as we just started the trek. Rapid elevation change as we crossed 10k ft elevation by end of day. First challenges began to emerge our team struggled with mild altitude sickness and boots with separated soles. Being in new territory, we unkowingly veered off course by end of day ending with camp site about a mile off target, and a punishing loss of about 300 feet elevation which we already conquered. Evening Mass at camp, then hot dinner.
Day 6 (4 miles) - broke 11k ft elevation and back on plan for campsite in Deep Creek Lakes following Three Forks trail (4 miles). This would serve as Base Camp for tomorrow's Peak Attempt. Brief brush with threatening weather put us on risk alert, but no lightning; it passed uneventfully. Great vistas here overlooking the smaller mountains, valleys, and snow-melt rivers. Cold now with snow/ice all over camp...this is late June! Mass on mountain top, then pan fried pizza dinner and early bed. Tomorrow would require an Alpine Start at 3:00 AM.
Day 7 (10 miles) - Peak Attempt at 3:00 AM. Stars only light, so headlamps were necessary to 12.6k elevation Chimney Rock. With heavy packs back at base camp, we had river water and protein snacks to sustain, and topo maps to follow with mini head lamps. Frequent stops as we moved rapidly and steeply. Progress was swift compared to full packs on earlier days, but with the elevation change and boulder obstacles, breathing was more challenging. By around 6:00 AM we passed half way point and paused for sunrise over eastern range (check out those pics). Had to move rapidly to Peak Attempt to ensure return to Base Camp before noon, when weather risks are greatest. Got to roughly 12k ft with crew before the thick ice sheets started to separate exposed boulders. Without snow spikes and ropes, the final crest was beyond our ability to safely summit. So, we rested on the verticals before starting the descent with "technical butt slides" whenever possible. Return to Base Camp was far easier than the descent, but target was still more than a mile away and over 1k ft drop through boulders, ice, rivers. Back at Base around 1:00, lunch, warmed up and napped. Mass on mountain top one more time. Then 5 miles back to 9.2k ft with full packs for camp by Papo Agie river banks. Great site, but were spent after that haul. We were so fatigued, our entire team actually passed the target camp site and had to double-back about half mile. 7:30 PM - done/sleeping.
Day 8 (9 miles) - late start, around 10:00 AM, but refreshed. Rations still good, but packs far lighter, and the miles left to Out Take were all down hill. Frequent stops to enjoy the change in scenery from snow and ice to sun and flowers. Encountered a few other hikers as we neared Bruce's Bridge in Sinks Canyon. Rosary and great conversation on way down; mass on mountains. Take Out around 5:00 PM...plenty foot blisters. Great chef at Wyoming Catholic College had Prime Rib dinner waiting for us!
Day 9 - Breakfast in Lander, WY and equipment check. Overnight in Ft. Collins, Colorado.
Day 10 - Return flight from Denver.
Special thanks to Fr. Bob Frederick and Fr. Todd Belardi for celebrating mass every day for us (and for carrying the extra weight of the mass kit)! Much gratitude for Wyoming Catholic's assistance with gear, training, transport, and hospitality.
Check out photos in our Gallery.
This Adventure takes place in Wyoming from June 5-18, 2013. The Mission is to cultivate leadership through wilderness experience and team interaction. Candidates will receive advanced classroom and field training in Wilderness Survival, First Aid, Navigation, Mountaineering, and Horsemanship prior to a 5-day rugged excursion through the Teton Mountain Range, culminating in a Peak Assent by foot. They are expected to participate, pray, play, and persevere. Candidates should be male between ages 15-21, able to endure the physical rigors of extended outdoor activity and climate changes, and open to discussing and sharing their Christian faith in a Catholic environment.
Upon conclusion of this Adventure, successful candidates will be awarded a Certificate of Completion and Virtue Badges, with personal references for resumes. Exemplary performance will be honored with an invitation to return on successive missions to pursue roles as Mission Captains.
Application & Enrollment
To Enroll in this Mission, complete the online Application AND submit the Candidate Enrollment Application and Waiver (CEAW) no later than May 15, 2013.
Applications are evaluated in chronological order of submission. This Mission will accept only 12 Candidates. Approved Candidates will be notified and their positions reserved for 15 days until receipt of Mission Fee. Failure to submit Mission Fee may forfeit position.
Grand Teton Mountain Range, WY
Wind River Range, WY
Robert Donner (Age 44) Atlanta, GA
Experience: 15 overseas missions, youth programs
Bob Pelletier (Age 55) Atlanta, GA
Experience: Educator, Eagle Scout, NOLS certification, US Army
Oliver Cooper (Age 56) Atlanta, GA
Experience: Marist Football Coach, Eagle Scout, youth programs
Fr.Todd Belardi - Chaplain (Age 40) Kenosha, WI
Experience: global mission trips, youth programs & chaplain
Deployment June 5, 2013
• Leave Atlanta Hartsfield Airport to Denver, CO via air.
• Ground Convoy to Cheyenne, WY for supplies, Mass, and overnight stay.
• June 6 arrive in Lander, WY at Wyoming Catholic College.
Training and Base Camp June 6-11, 2013
Training will include a combination of indoor/outdoor classrooms, actual field excursions, and daily Mass, prayers and reflections. Training will be provided in subjects needed for the intended Peak Ascent Mission. During training, field excursions will provide tactical experiences with the following:
• Horseback Riding
Mission Teton Peak Ascent June 12-16
Each candidate will rotate through spiritual and tactical leadership roles during a 5 day/4 night foot-hike to Grand Teton (or Yellowstone Absaroka Range) mountain peak with provisions they carry in backpacks. All gear and supplies are provided.
• June 17 Departure & Return / Mass and Awards Ceremony, Convoy to Cheyenne, WY for overnight stay.
• June 18, convoy to Denver airport for return flight to Atlanta.
Skills and Take-aways
Upon completion of the course, Candidates will have advanced in tactical outdoor skills, leadership experience, and prayerful reflection.
Outdoor skills training will provide Candidates with practical experience in areas of mountaineering, hiking, rappelling kayaking, survival, horsemanship, fishing, and more. They will leave with an exposure to each discipline and a knowledge of areas they'd like to pursue further.
Each Candidate will have lived in both spiritual and tactical leadership roles. They will have been depended upon by their company to discern and take action, and their personal examples will have been followed by others. They will have reflected on sacred scripture and lead discussions that impacted others.
What to Bring
Candidates should be prepared for extended outdoor activity in high altitudes, with warm days and cold nights. Preparation could include completing 4-hour hikes with 15-20 lb backpacks, 3-mile jogs.
hiking boots, socks, shorts, T-shirts, long-sleve shirts, knit hat, gloves, swim shorts, hiking pants, light jacket, sweatshirt, rain poncho.
Bible, Rosary, toiletry kit, pocket knife, compass. Backpack & sleeping bag optional – these and other equipment will be provided if needed.
personal cell phones are allowed during travel, but will not be operable during the Teton Peak Ascent. Telephone access will be limited or non-existent at times. Laptops, music players, and other computer or entertainment devices are not permitted.
during the Mission, Candidates will share lodging in hotels, tents, dorm rooms, and outdoors. Prepare appropriately.
trip cost covers all travel, lodging, and planned activities other than personal shopping, food & beverages during travel to/from Wyoming. The planned supply stop in Cheyenne may allow for personal purchases. Recommend each Candidate carry $200 for personal means.
weapons (other than pocket knife for camping), drugs, smoking paraphernalia, alcohol, illicit or scandalous literature/media will not be tolerated. Candidates in possession of any of these materials will be immediately removed from the Mission.
Mission Fee ($1,900)
This cover all Mission expenses, excluding personal expenditures during travel to/from destination.
Mission Fee ($1,500)
Candidates providing their own airfare can pay this reduced mission fee as long as their travel follows the planned the itinerary.
All Mission Fees shall be submitted with the Candidate Enrollment Application and Waiver, payable to Adventure Mission Corps, Inc.
Alternatively, pay Mission Fees online through our PayPal service (once you've received the Acceptance Letter):