Vail mountaineering course teaches teens safety |

Vail mountaineering course teaches teens safety

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Teens ages 14 to 18 can learn to explore the backcountry safely at Paragon Guides’ weeklong mountain skills course in Vail, COlorado

The course is led by Paragon instructors Will Elliott and Philip Peralta-Ramos and takes place from June 28 to July 2 in an area north of Vail.

The course begins with a trek into Paragon’s high alpine Pitkin Creek base camp located in the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. To reduce pack weight and add to the overall mountain experience, Paragon Guides team of llamas will haul heavy camping and climbing gear into and out of the base camp.

“Students will still need to carry their personal equipment,” says course instructor Elliott. “But since llamas are doing the major lifting for us, we’ll have more energy to put towards our exciting line-up of mountain adventures.”

Each day, students will learn a new set of skills, from using maps and compasses to climbing rocks and snow to the “leave no trace” clean camping philosophy. The also will learn to use ice axes, assess terrain and rappel.

The course ends with a peak ascent during which students will practice the skills they’ve learned.

“Our goal is to foster in students an appreciation for the decision-making and technical skills required for safe mountain travel,” Elliott says. “We also hope to inspire students to seek outdoor adventures throughout their life, while developing personal confidence.”

The course is limited to eight participants. Financial assistance is also available. “We strive to connect as many kids as we can to the mountains we live in,” says Paragon Guides owner Buck Elliott. “We’ll work with families to make this course a reality.”

The course runs June 28 through July 2, 2009, and includes a pre-trip orientation meeting on June 27. Cost of the program is $660 and includes all food (except lunch the first day), group camping equipment, rock climbing gear and llamas. Personal gear is available for rent. To register for the course or learn more, call Paragon Guides at 970-926-5299, or call Will Elliott directly at 970-471-6242. Or visit

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