- Summer Term
- Apprentice Program
- High Peaks Adventure
- Adult Programs
- Educators Expedition
- Lake County Backpacking Trip
- Gap Semester Programs
- For Enrolled HMI Gap Students
- Meet the Gap Faculty
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Is HMI accredited?
Do I need previous experience?
Our outdoor curriculum allows you to develop competency and progress toward independence. Both our rock climbing and wilderness travel curriculum goes into great depth to develop your technical skills, judgment and experience in a variety of environments. While no experience is necessary, we recommend that you have a strong interest in being in remote and field-based environments, and spending a semester working to advance your outdoor skills.
Who are your faculty and what are their qualifications?
HMI Gap faculty are both exceptional mentors as well as accomplished outdoor educators, with significant experience leading groups outdoors, guiding rock climbing, and traveling in South America. They are required to have a Wilderness First Responder Certification, which is an 80 hour advanced medical training. Every HMI Gap faculty attends an intensive 10-day field-based training and orientation prior to the start of the course.
As our climbing curriculum is highly advanced, we require our climbing faculty to have extensive training, either through the American Mountain Guides Association or equivalent, and high-level personal climbing experience. As such, our faculty are able to meet every student where they are at, provide in-depth coaching on both technical and movement skills, and guide students up climbs that challenge them appropriately.
Many of our faculty come to us with previous HMI experience, having demonstrated excellence in experiential education, supporting students to develop as leaders, and building strong, intentional community. Other faculty come to us from other well-respected organizations such as NOLS and Outward Bound. We make sure that every course has a faculty who speaks Spanish and is familiar with the course areas we travel through in the United States and Patagonia.
What ages are eligible to attend an HMI Gap Semester?
HMI Gap is for high-school graduates and current college students. Generally, students are between the ages of 18-22, however we do have some students who begin the program as 17 year olds and turn 18 during the semester.
Our Andes Leadership Semester, a collaborative program with Where There Be Dragons, is for students ages 18-25.
Where will I stay during the semester?
The majority of the semester will be spent either on a wilderness expedition or base camping during a climbing expedition. During this time, you will sleep in either a three-season tarp or four-season tent with a 3-4 person tent group. During transitions, you will stay either at a lodge or a hostel in a bed with showers and laundry.
How often will I get to communicate with my family and friends?
During the backcountry portions of the semester, students will not be in phone or Internet contact. However, during the non-backcountry portions of the semester, we strive to provide regular opportunities for students to update their friends and family on their adventures. While students will have periodic access to public pay phones and/or computers when we are in towns, we recommend that you bring a small Internet connected device, such as a smart phone or tablet, for ease of communication. Time and access to using these devices is limited both by course logistics and by community norms established by the group.
When in Patagonia, you can opt to purchase an international travel plan. However, communication is generally readily available with Internet while at hostels, and students can use programs such as WhatsApp to make calls.
For more information about the financial aid application process, visit the Dates, Tuition, and Affordability page.
Do you offer college credit?
We offer optional college credit through Western State Colorado University for our outdoor leadership and environmental studies curriculum. Every student on an HMI Gap course will participate in this curriculum, but will receive an additional evaluation if they are enrolled in college credit. There are additional requirements for Western State courses which should be completed after the conclusion of the HMI Gap program.
We recommend that you speak with your college before enrolling in these credits to see how or if they will transfer.
Western State Colorado University courses offered ($125/credit)
- OUT 189 – Principles of Outdoor Recreation (3 credits)
- ENVS 297 – Land Conservation Ethics (3 credits)
Do you accept 529 Educational Savings Plans?
HMI is able to accept 529 Savings Plans if you sign up for college credit with Western State Colorado University. Please visit their site to learn more about how to use a 529 Plan for our semesters.
What is your cancellation policy?
If there is a documented medical reason that prevents you from participating in the program prior to the start of the course, we will issue a refund. If you choose to not do the program for another reason, we will not refund your deposit but can transfer it to another program in the future. There are no refunds once the program has begun.
What happens if a student gets sick or injured during the program?
HMI follows industry best practices in managing incidents while students are on course. For the entire semester, there is an administrator and an evacuation coordinator on call 24/7. In the event of an incident, we decide the appropriate course of action depending on what our risk management protocol outlines. Sometimes a student will stay in the field and the group will alter the itinerary or activities to accommodate that student’s recovery. If the student cannot participate fully for more than several days, or the injury/illness triggers our evacuation protocols, the student is evacuated from the field and taken to seek medical care. We strive to keep the student on course despite an evacuation. During this time, they may stay on campus, in a hotel/hostel, or return home for a short duration. However, if the nature of the injury or illness prevents the student from participating in the remainder of the semester, we may decide it is best for the student to return home.