Girls' camp offered by Whitefish's Ridge Academy

Ridge Academy of  Whitefish

Team aspect reinforced in wilderness

RIDGE Mountain Academy has announced a two-week mountain sports immersion camp from July 11-25, 2016 led by female instructors for young women ages 14-18. No experience is necessary for this two-week excursion into the Montana wilderness.


This new camp builds on trends that offer young women the opportunity to gain confidence, trust, and skills within their own peer group in a pressure-free environment. Montana's backcountry near Glacier National Park offers a unique setting to take advantage of the physical, emotional, psychological, and social benefits that this camp offers.


The camp is designed and led by Gaelen Engler and Cat Jenks, two female RIDGE coaches who have years of combined experience leading and coaching whitewater rafting, yoga, rock climbing, and backpacking.


ridge academy climbers


"High school-aged girls are learning so much about themselves and here's a chance to learn how to be independent, work as a team, and try on leadership roles while building climbing and backpacking skills," said Engler "We will experience some of the West's most spectacular regions. The takeaways can be big and can transfer to other areas of life beyond the mountains."


The course kicks off with four days of backpacking in one of the most scenic mountain ranges in the West. With Glacier National Park providing the backdrop of beautiful peaks and lush valleys, RIDGE coaches will instruct the group on proper backpacking techniques and backcountry etiquette.


The second leg of the program involves four days of rock climbing along the shores of Lake Koocanusa, an area known for its 500 varied and exciting climbing routes.  Campers and coaches will operate out of a base-camp nearby and spend each day learning the ins and outs of rock climbing.  Belaying, rappelling, movement technique, and climbing communication will all be thoroughly taught. 


After rock climbing, the group with transition into a three-day river trip on the gorgeous Middle Fork of the Flathead River. This overnight white-water rafting trip will introduce the young women to rowing techniques, basic swift-water rescue, and the art of reading water, all while drifting beneath the dramatic peaks of Glacier National Park.


Throughout the two weeks, coaches will begin each day with a brief yoga session and conclude the evenings with meaningful discussions, illuminating the growth and lessons learned throughout the course of the day. Campers will also learn how to prepare wholesome, organic meals in the backcountry, illustrating how important fueling the body correctly is while in mountain environments.


"For years we have found love, peace and adventure within the mountain cliffs, rivers, and peaks, and sculpted our lives and careers around the outdoors," says Jenks. "We value and learn from time spent in the wilderness with other women and aim to share these experiences with a younger generation."


Tuition for the girls' camp is $3,750 and enrollment is now open. Access schedules and applications online at


For more information, call (406) 730-8524, or email

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