An Advanced level course for alumni of expedition, leadership, and international experiences, this course includes wilderness exploration, Andean culture, Spanish language and rock climbing in an HMI partnership with Where There Be Dragons.

Program Overview

The Andes are the world’s longest mountain range, stretching over 4,000 miles from Tierra Del Fuego to the Caribbean coast.

They contain some of the world’s greatest ecological diversity: from windswept tundra, vast ice fields, and misty lenga and temperate rainforests in the south. In these dramatic landscapes, students encounter cultures whose livelihood is reliant on an intimate connection with the land: gauchos herding sheep and drinking yerba mate in Patagonia and traditional Quechua farmers harvesting quinoa and potatoes on ancient terraces in the Peruvian Andes.

This rugged course offers mountain-loving students the opportunity to explore two of the most intriguing parts of the range – Chilean Patagonia and the Southern Peruvian Andes. While no previous trekking or backcountry experience is required, students will gain a variety of outdoor and expeditionary skills such as expedition planning, navigation, remote wilderness travel, high-altitude experience, and rock climbing. Participants will also improve their Spanish and leadership skills, gain a deeper understanding of Andean mountain culture and spirituality, and examine various perspectives on environmental conservation. Through these themes, students will be challenged to consider their own relationship to important global issues and their capacity as leaders to address them.

This unique partnership between HMI and Dragons will draw on the respective experience and expertise of each organization, especially from HMI’s Patagonia Gap program and Dragons Andes and Amazon Semester. As an advanced course, students will be given ample student-directed learning opportunities and ownership over the course activities and community. Specifically, students will have time to craft their own small group learning expeditions in Peru; whether apprenticing with a local artisan, continuing Spanish Study, researching food security in a small Quechua village, enrolling in the local language school, or advancing their rock climbing or mountain skills, this time will allow students to take a deep dive into a topic of their choice with a small peer group that share interests. As a culmination and integration of all the skills students have learned and practiced, the group will be tasked with planning and executing a student-led expedition at the end of the semester.


  • February 7th – April 29th, 2022