NOLS Leadership Expedition in Patagonia

Develop your leadership and immerse yourself in the culture and landscape at the “edge of the world” while you travel by foot through a remote and stunning environment of jagged glaciers, snow-topped peaks, glittering turquoise lakes, lively beech forests and wildlife.
Harkness Travel Program - Chile
Harkness Travel Program - Chile
Harkness Travel Program - Chile
Harkness Travel Program - Chile
Harkness Travel Program - Chile
Harkness Travel Program - Chile
Trek through some of the wildest country on Earth, often called “the Edge of the World”, in Patagonia, Chile on an interdisciplinary focused program led by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Lawrentians will practice hands-on leadership while mastering a variety of outdoor skills while we travel along paths cut through the forest by sheep and cattle ranchers or hike with no path at all. Students will explore a raw, remote and beautiful wilderness that few have ever seen, learning about different ways of life—both the Patagonian culture and the NOLS expedition culture—and, in the process, learning a lot about themselves. Students have the opportunity for a positive, transformational experience to return inspired and empowered to act.
Arrival in Chile will be to Coyhaique, where we will begin and end the program, allowing for rest and local exploration. Apart from two nights in Coyhaique, all sleeping accommodations will be camping in Patagonia’s wilderness environment.
No previous backpacking or camping skills are necessary; all instruction will be provided in the field by NOLS instructors offering their approach to outdoor adventure and experiential learning. As students develop their outdoor skills including navigation decisions, and risk management, the instructors will gradually give over more responsibilities as the group grows together. Upon completion of this program students will become NOLS graduates and alumni.
Important Considerations / Student Expectations
This program occurs in a wilderness environment, one often known for its "harsh beauty." Hazards exist from the land to the climate, conditions of which students will be instructed to navigate and manage as part of the curriculum.
Students will be responsible for setting up their campsites, caring for their own equipment, and participating in meal preparation. Mastering these skills in the field will contribute to the teamwork and leadership that each member is expected to bring to the expedition. Students should be able to sustain a moderate level of exertion for hours on end rather than "quick sprint" fitness. Students on courses quickly realize that it’s not about getting to camp quickly, it’s about getting to camp efficiently with enough energy to carry on for the time it takes to build sturdy camps in exposed conditions and cook great meals.
Students should be prepared to carry a pack up to 40% of their body weight (most packs will weigh 45-60 pounds) on terrain that will vary from even trail to uneven off-trail travel and from horizontal to steep talus or snow.

All passports must be current seven months past the return date of any school sponsored trip. Please check and plan accordingly.


Sign-Up Instructions

Participation for all Lawrenceville Harkness Travel Programs is dependent upon a review of student applications, Head of House / Day Advisor Recommendations, medical fitness for participation, and financial and disciplinary standing. Seniority and gender balance is also considered in the selection process.
Application to this program is not considered complete until both of the following items have been submitted:
Head of House/Day Advisor Recommendation must be completed and submitted to Louise Wright by Monday, October 31, 2022.
Application Survey must be completed by Monday, October 31, 2021.


March 4 - 17, 2023



Includes all required vaccinations.

Gear List

Additional clothing and gear will be required for purchase. Some gear may be borrowed from Lawrenceville or rented from NOLS.

Target Student Population

This program is open to all students.
Students with a desire to learn and/or use Spanish are encouraged to apply.
Students will be expected to carry up to 40% of their body in a pack while walking over varied terrain for long-periods of each day.
All students will be expected to adhere to the expedition guidelines set for participation by NOLS. All students are expected to participate actively with all expedition activities and responsibilities.

Program Leaders

John Hughes
Director of Experiential Education
Holli Olson
Mathematics Teacher

Pre-Trip Work

There will be 4 to 5 required meetings during the Winter term to prepare for our program; students will declare topics / themes of interest for study and instruction while on the program.

Location Info