Outdoor Action Newsletter

September - October 2003


What is Outdoor Action?

The Outdoor Action Program (OA) is Princeton University's outdoor experiential education program. We offer trips and courses throughout the academic year to Princeton undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff in many different outdoor activities. All OA trips are led by students who have gone through an extensive Leader Training Program. If you are interested in becoming an OA Leader, see below for details and schedules.

OA Office: 350 Alexander Road, 8-3552
OA Equipment Room: The Armory, next to the Credit Union, 8-6417
OA Web Site: www.princeton.edu/~oa/

How Do I Sign up for a Trip?

Sign-ups for trips will begin on Monday, September 15. All OA trip and activity sign ups are done through our Web Server online signup program. Payment for trips is due in advance, and will be charged to your University account. If you have any questions, please call the OA Office.

OA Tripstore Sign-ups: https://oa.princeton.edu/tripstore/

Rock Climbing

Introduction to Rock Climbing Course

If you are interested in learning to rock climb, then this 3-week course will teach you all the essential techniques of climbing, including tying in, belaying and specific climbing techniques like weight shifting, stemming, and laybacks. The course will meet at OA's indoor Climbing Wall in the Armory. There will also be a field trip to the cliffs at Ralph Stover State Park to practice all that you have learned at a real rock climbing site. Course fee: Students $70, faculty/staff $95, OA Leaders $40. Sign up at the OA TripStore.

Tuesday & Thursdays 8 - 10 p.m. - 9/23, 9/25, 9/30, 10/2, 10/7, 10/9
Outdoor Day Trip: Saturday 10/11, 9 - 5 p.m.

Rock Climbing Day Trip

Rock Climbing provides an opportunity to challenge yourself both physically and mentally as you work your way up a rock face. We are offering a day trip to a Ralph Stover State Park in Pennsylvania that offers both beginning and intermediate level climbing routes. You'll learn the basic techniques of rock climbing including tieing in, how to belay, and climbing techniques like weight shifts, using your legs, etc. This is an ideal trip for beginners and experienced climbers alike. All equipment will be provided by OA. Trip Fee: Students $15, Faculty/Staff $20. Sign up at the OA TripStore.

Saturday, 10/4, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

OA Climbing Wall

Climbing WallThe Climbing Wall is an indoor rock climbing practice facility located in the Armory next to Jadwin Gym. Climbers of all abilities are welcome. Experienced instructors are on hand to teach skills and assist in solving particular climbing routes. The Climbing Wall is open only to students, faculty, and staff of Princeton University. PUID required. Children of members of the University community may climb with a parent present. The Climbing Wall is open throughout the academic year except during breaks and final exams.

Open Hours:

Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Monday & Wednesday, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.


• Day Pass: $3 students, $5 faculty/staff
• Equipment Rental: $1 for harness, $1 for climbing shoes
Full-semester Pass: $40 students, $55 faculty/staff
Half-semester Pass: $20 students, $27 faculty/staff

Passes can be purchased at the Climbing Wall. You must have your University ID.

New to the Climbing Wall?

New Climbers can climb free for the first visit! Climbers of all abilities are welcome. Only individuals who have passed the belaying course are eligible to belay at the Wall. OA offers free belaying classes for new climbers to give you instruction on how to properly tie-in and belay. Classes are offered during all regular Wall hours.

Bring Your Group to the Wall

If you want a fun group building activity for your organization or group, schedule a Saturday morning at the Wall. Contact the Ann Glotzback (agltozba@princeton) or Simran Winkelstern (swinkels@princeton.edu) for details.


Fall Foliage Hike

In mid-October the trees are blazing with colors in southern New York. Join us for a day hike through beautiful forested trails of Harriman State Park. During the Ice Age, glaciers plowed through the hills of this area scraping away debris and loose rock and creating a series of glacial lakes.. The mountain tops of Harriman are rocky and exposed which allows for spectacular views including the fall colors along the Hudson River. Trip fee: students $10.00, faculty/staff $15.00. Sign up at the OA TripStore.

Sunday, 10/12, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Fall Break Backpacking Trips - Cancelled

Since not enough people signed up for either of these trips by the signup deadline both trips have been cancelled.

Beginners Backpacking Trip

This trip is designed for people who are new to backpacking or who are looking for a low key trip. Discover the excitement of living in the woods and hiking along beautiful ridges and beside winding streams. The sensation of carrying everything you need on your back can be incredibly satisfying, particularly when you can share the experience with a group of friends. The trip will cover 4-6 miles of hiking each day at an easy pace. You'll learn all the basic skills for backcountry travel and camping including route finding, equipment use, and Leave No Trace camping. Equipment, transportation, and food will be provided by OA. Sign-up deadline: Sunday, October 12. Trip fee: Students $95, Faculty/Staff $120.

Pre-trip preparation: Friday, 10/24
Trip: Saturday, 10/25 - Tuesday, 10/28

Intermediate Backpacking Trip

This trip is designed for people who have been backpacking before either on the OA Frosh Trip or some other outdoor experience. The trip will be five days and will give you an opportunity to learn and refine your basic outdoor camping skills. The trip will cover 6-8 miles of hiking each day at a moderate pace. You'll learn all the basic skills for backcountry travel and camping including route finding, equipment use, and Leave No Trace camping. Equipment, transportation, and food will be provided by OA. Sign-up deadline: Sunday, October 12. Trip fee: Students $105, Faculty/Staff $135.

Pre-trip preparation: Wednesday, 10/29
Trip: Thursday, 10/30 - Saturday, 11/1

Equipment Rental

Outdoor Action has an extensive supply of backpacking and camping equipment that is available for rental (backpacks, sleeping bags, stoves, cooking gear, tents, etc.) if you are interested in running your own trip. Outdoor Action's Equipment Room (ER) is located at The Armory, next to the Credit Union. The ER is open two evenings a week while classes are in session. Any member of the campus community may rent equipment (PUID required). Rental costs are minimal. Please come and visit! Call with any questions, 8-6417 during Equipment Room open hours.

Tuesdays & Thursdays 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Becoming an OA Leader

On the summit If you enjoy the outdoors, working with people, like to challenge yourself and others, and are excited about learning new skills and teaching them to others, then we'd like to encourage you to get involved with OA. You dont' need to have any previous outdoor experience and you don't need to have gone on the Frosh Trip in order to become an OA Leader.

If you would like to provide a positive learning experience for new Princeton students, introduce them to Princeton, and help build a community at Princeton that values and encourages diversity, think about becoming a Frosh Trip Leader. We are looking for motivated first-year students, sophomores, and juniors to help run the largest wilderness orientation program in the country. There are lots of ways that you can be part of the Frosh Trip by becoming an OA Leader, Support Team Member, or Communications Center Manager. Read on to find out how you can get involved! Sign up at the OA TripStore.

Each year over half of the incoming freshmen class start their four years at Princeton with the OA Frosh Trip Program. We need a diverse pool of leaders that reflect all aspects and issues of campus life. We hope that you will bring your varied experience and ideas to the new class. OA Leaders are experienced upperclass students who serve as role models and provide a set of positive "footprints" for incoming students to help them successfully navigate their way through the next four years at Princeton.

OA Leaders continue to be important friends and role models to incoming students throughout their first year at Princeton and beyond. This is your opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of incoming students. OA leaders aren't just leaders for OA, they take on leadership roles in activities and organizations across campus.

Don't consider yourself outdoorsy? That's not a problem, you don't need to have any previous outdoor experience to go through Leader Training.

If you went on the Frosh Trip then you already have some basic outdoor skills. Even if you’ve never been camping before OA provides all of the training courses you need to learn to lead and facilitate groups in an outdoor setting. Becoming an OA Leader is not a difficult process. It’s also a great way to meet people on campus who share your interests. We provide all the training you need to learn to lead and facilitate groups in an outdoor setting. Our first priority is to find a diverse group of students willing to be effective leaders and role models for incoming students. You need to be excited about working with others, willing to learn and teach new skills, and be able to share your Princeton experiences with incoming frosh. Many leaders feel the skills they develop through Outdoor Action serve them well in other roles they play on campus including SVC and Community House volunteers, peer counselors, members of teams and organizations, Resident Advisors and Minority Affairs Advisors.

OA Leader Training

Training to become an OA Leader is not a difficult process. We have a unique student-run leadership program to teach you all of the skills you’ll need to feel comfortable in the outdoors and to be able to lead other students. You’ll learn from other Princeton students based on their real-life experience of leading wilderness trips. In order to apply to lead a Frosh Trip you need to complete the following training components. See the schedule below for when training happens this spring. Sign ups are available now on the Web. Financial Aid is available to help cover the costs of leader training for people who are receiving aid from the University (email oa@princeton.edu).

  1. Wilderness First Aid Course & CPR: two evenings a week over three weeks
  2. Facilitators Workshop: one day workshop
  3. Leadership & Group Dynamics Workshop: one day workshop
  4. Safety Management Workshop: evening workshop
  5. Leader Training Trip: The Leader Training Trip (LTT) is the most fun part of all of leader training and brings together all the skills you have been learning—group dynamics, leadership, teaching, first aid and safety. Participants learn how to run an outdoor trip through helping plan all aspects of the trip, including route, food, and equipment. You'll have an opportunity to utilize your skills on a 6-day backpacking trip. You need to have completed all of the other requirements before going on your Leader Training Trip.

What students say about being an OA Leader

I gained confidence and skill in leadership that has affected many other parts of my life. I feel because of OA, I can pull any group together & create the positive dynamics and interaction needed to accomplish a task.

Some of my closest friendships have been made through OA. I’ve also become more confident of my own capabilities in different areas. I have experimented with new skills. I have deepened my love of the outdoors. The friends I have made through OA are certainly an important gain. OA has helped me to improve my knowledge of taking trips in the wilderness.

I like the values that OA fosters...including a unique combination of individual challenges and the need for cooperation. I wanted not only to give others on opportunity to share the same experience, but by being a part of the outdoor experience to improve my skills as a leader and to learn more about myself.

Planning OA Leader Training into your Schedule

OA offers several sets of leader training each year. Over Fall Break we offer the Fast Track program where you need to complete Wilderness First Aid & CPR before break and then all of the other training components including the 6-day Leader Training Trip take place over break. In the second half of the spring semester we offer first aid and the other workshops once in April and early May with the Leader Training Trip taking place during "Dead Week" after exams. You can mix and match when you take the various courses and workshops as long as you have completed all of the other requirements before going on your Leader Training Trip. 

We encourage all students to take part in the leader training program and have worked out a schedule which we feel is most flexible for a broad range of students. If you are an athlete or have other regular commitments, it is still possible to participate if you plan carefully.

Religious & Observant Students

Outdoor Action makes every effort to schedule Leader Training activities so that they do not interfere with religious holidays and observances. Whenever possible, workshops are scheduled on Sundays after church and not on the Sabbath for Jewish students. For observant Jewish students, the 6-day trip typically includes a Friday or Saturday. There is usually a trip in May that goes out Sunday and is back before sundown on Friday. Please need to contact the OA office ahead of time and let us know of your needs.

Varsity & Club Sport Athletes

Many athletes become OA Leaders either to lead Frosh Trips or other trips during the year. Depending on your sport(s) you may have to plan very carefully for when you can complete the various Leader Training Requirements. For example, crew athletes are often only able to participate in the Leader Training Trip over Fall Break.


2003 - 2004 Leader Training Schedule

Fall: September - October 2003

HEART Wilderness First Aid & CPR:

*Section A (Monday and Wednesday class 7:30 - 10:30 PM - Jadwin Hall Room A06)
CPR: Mon., 9/22
First Aid Classes: Wed. 9/24, Mon. 9/29, Wed. 10/1, Mon. 10/6, Wed. 10/8, Mon. 10/13
Final Exam: Wed., 10/15

*Section B (Tuesday and Thursday class 7:30 - 10:30 PM - Jadwin Hall Room A06)
CPR: Tues., 9/23
First Aid Classes: Thurs. 9/25, Tues. 9/30, Thurs. 10/2, Tues. 10/7, Thurs. 10/9, Tues. 10/14
Final Exam: Thurs. 10/16

Facilitator's Workshop

Fall Break Fast Track - Saturday, 10/25/2003, 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Outdoor Safety Management Workshop

Fall Break Fast Track - Sunday, 10/25/2003, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m., Frist 307

Leadership & Group Dynamics Workshop

Fall Break Fast Track - Sunday, 10/26/2003, 12:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Leader Training Trip

  • Pre-trip Classes: Monday, 10/27/2003, 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
  • Trip: Tuesday, 10/28/2003 - Sunday, 11/2/2003

Spring I: February - March 2004

*Section A (Monday and Wednesday class 7:30 - 10:30 PM - Jadwin Hall Room A06)
CPR: Mon., 2/9
First Aid Classes: Wed. 2/11, Mon. 2/16, Wed. 2/18, Mon. 2/23, Wed. 2/25, Mon. 3/2
Final Exam: Wed., 3/4

*Section B (Tuesday and Thursday class 7:30 - 10:30 PM - Jadwin Hall Room A06)
CPR: Tues., 2/10
First Aid Classes: Thurs. 2/12, Tues. 2/17, Thurs. 2/19, Tues. 2/24, Thurs. 2/26, Tues. 3/3
Final Exam: Thurs. 3/5

*Section C (Thursday class 7:30 - 10:30 PM - Jadwin Hall Room A08)
CPR: Thurs., 2/19 - Frist 307
First Aid Classes: Thursdays - 2/26, 3/5, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9, 4/16
Final Exam: Thurs. 4/23

Spring II: April - May 2004

*Section A (Monday and Wednesday class 7:30 - 10:30 PM - Jadwin Hall Room A06)
CPR: Wed., 3/31
First Aid Classes: Mon., 4/5, Wed., 4/7, Mon., 4/12, Wed., 4/14, Mon., 4/19, Wed., 4/21
Final Exam: Mon., 4/26

*Section B (Tuesday and Thursday class 7:30 - 10:30 PM - Jadwin Hall Room A06)
CPR: Thurs., 4/1
First Aid Classes: Tues., 4/6, Thurs., 4/8, Tues. 4/13, Thurs., 4/15, Tues. 4/19, Thurs., 4/22
Final Exam: Tues., 4/27

Facilitator's Workshop

Spring - Sunday, 4/18/2004 - 12:00 - 7:00 PM

Outdoor Safety Management Workshop

  • Tuesday, April 27, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m., Location TBA
  • Wednesday, April 28, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m., Location TBA
  • Tuesday, May 4, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m., Location TBA

Leadership & Group Dynamics Workshop

Spring - Sunday, 4/25/2004 - 12:00 - 7:00 PM

Leader Training Trip

  • Pre-trip Classes: To be schedule in April leading up to the trip
  • Trips: For students signing up early, simply sign up for the standard Saturday - Thursday trip. Once the spring exam schedules have been posted, students can request to change their trip dates.
    • Thursday, 5/20/2004 - Tuesday, 5/25/2004 - for those who need to be back before Reunions
    • Saturday, 5/22/2004 - Thursday, 5/27/2004 - standard trip dates
    • Sunday, 5/23/2004 - Friday, 5/28/2004 - for those who have Saturday exams

Outdoor Action trips and activities are only open to Princeton University students, faculty, and staff. Specially listed activities are open to Princeton University alumni and their families.

All online information at the Outdoor Action Web Site is protected by copyright laws. You may set up links to material found at the Outdoor Action Web Site. Printed versions of the material may be distributed for nonprofit educational use as long as no fees are charged for the material, attributions are made to the author, and no content changes are made. Commercial use of this material either in electronic or printed form is prohibited without express written permission from the author. Copyright 1995 - 2004, all rights reserved, Rick Curtis, Outdoor Action Program, Princeton University. Send your comments and suggestions on the OA Web Site to Outdoor Action