Pemi West: Program, Setting, History

The Program.  The Setting.  The History

Pemi West is a 3.5-week wilderness skills and leadership program held in the Olympic National Park in Washington that provides a challenging and rewarding experience for 16 – 17 year old campers, both men and women.

Participants who wish to extend their leadership training are invited to apply for an optional 2-week Counselor Apprentice Program held at Camp Pemigewassett, Wentworth, NH. For information on the 2-week internship, please email danny.

Program

  • 3 weeks of expeditioning among the meadows, forests, ridges, snowfields, and peaks of the Olympic National Park.
  • The opportunity to summit Olympic peaks, conditions permitting
  • Instruction in technical mountaineering skills, such as crevasse rescue, ascending fixed lines, belaying, roped glacier travel, rappelling, and possibly ice climbing.
  • Instruction in wilderness First Aid
  • Small groups (never more than 9 participants)
  • Cook groups of three members, providing experience in menu planning, preparation, and outdoor cooking
  • A 24-hour solo

We offer you the opportunity to:

  • Have fun with new friends
  • Acquire the skills and knowledge to safely plan, lead, and enjoy a backpacking trip of moderate length through rugged mountainous terrain
  • Develop a heightened appreciation of the natural world and a sense of stewardship of the environment
  • Enhance your awareness of your personal capabilities and potential.

Setting

Our backpacking trips are set in the Olympic National Park to grant us the true wilderness feeling as we travel to mountain ridges and alpine lakes. Located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, Olympic National Park has been described by National Geographic as “better than it ever gets.”

The park offers:

  • 70-mile stretch of wild coastline, home to numerous species of pelagic birds and mammals including orcas, grey whales, sea otters, harbor seals, and sea lions
  • glacier-clad mountains
  • temperate rainforests
  • 1 million acres of wilderness
  • 600 miles of hiking trails, many of which are “primitive”
  • wildlife, particularly elk, goats, black bears, and cougars, the footprints of the latter being the usual sole evidence of their presence.

Because the Olympic Peninsula is surrounded on three sides by salt water, it has cascading rivers radiating outwards in all directions from the center of the mountain range. The Olympic coast is the traditional home of at least four Native American tribes, all of whom have large reservations and continue to practice, in some form, aspects of their traditional way of life at the edge of the ocean.

History

Pemi West is the western branch of Camp Pemigewassett, a summer camp in Wentworth, New Hampshire for boys aged 8-15 years old. The camp was founded in 1908 and throughout its long history activities such as hiking, camping, and nature studies have been mainstays of the program, just as they are at Pemi West today. Pemi West was founded in 1997 by Fred and Jon Fauver, grandchildren of one of the founders of Camp Pemigewassett and current owners, out of the desire to provide an extensive and challenging wilderness experience for teenage girls and boys.

For the first seven seasons, Pemi West was held in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of the Colorado Rockies. In 2005, the program moved to Olympic National Park in the state of Washington. This spectacular setting offers a unique opportunity to explore the gem of forest and mountain wildernesses of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the opportunity to learn a broad set of technical mountaineering skills as we cross the vast glaciers of Mt. Olympus on our attempt to reach the summit.

Pemi West: Dates & Tuition>>

Pemi West: Directors & Staff>>

Pemi West: Equipment List>>