Ropes, Draws, and Sublime Sandstone
Okay, I'll be honest. Dartmouth's outdoors opportunities were a huge draw for me when I was making my college decision. Between first-year trips and a secretive lodge nestled up in the Whites, I was already in love, and just those things alone would have sufficed. But man, have I been blown away, because those things are only scratching the surface. I never in a lifetime could have predicted that I would've flown out to the desert twice now just for the fun of it, and that financial aid would apply to those expenses. I had never even left the East Coast before coming here, yet I haven't even spent a year at Dartmouth and I've already learned how to rock climb, traveled across the country to Nevada for virtually no cost, and spent spring break at the beautiful Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area with a bunch of awesome people (other Dartmouth students). I'm telling you, if you're into the outdoors at all, even in the slightest, Dartmouth will broaden your horizons like you've never imagined. The opportunities are endless.
With all that said, Red Rock was a boatload of fun. A 25-ish person excursion centered about 45 minutes from downtown Las Vegas, it is an annual DMC (Dartmouth Mountaineering Club) spring break trip open to everyone from absolute beginners to hardcore mountain-men. Each day, we'd split up into several groups and climb at different places appropriate for our skillsets, and we didn't even scratch the surface of the variety of climbs that Red Rock has to offer. With beautiful views, a spectacular learning experience, incredible people, and a nice, warm campfire to end the day, I don't think that I could have asked for anything more. We pitched our tents at a nearby campground for nearly a week and a half, cooking our own meals at night and packing along food for the day. We'd climb when it was light and sleep when it was dark, but everybody was free to move at their own pace. I met plenty of new friends and bonded with old ones. Altogether, I don't think I've had another experience quite like it in my life.
Even if climbing isn't your thing, Dartmouth offers a huge variety of break trips between terms. The DOC is divided into several smaller sub-clubs, and each offers their own choice of trips every year. And they're all super accessible; while there are some trips for more advanced skillsets, there's no lack of beginner-friendly excursions, and with financial aid rates that match those applied to your tuition, financial constraints are essentially non-existent. Nowhere else have I heard of such crazy adventures being so accessible, and truthfully, so far they've been life-changing. It's incredible where Dartmouth has brought me in just two terms, and I know for sure that my adventures won't stop here.
Come join us and explore the world!