Deer Hill Expedition’s Essential Eligibility Criteria

Deer Hill’s Mission:

To empower the individual to create authentic connection to self and community through wilderness and service experiences.


What does it take to succeed at Deer Hill Expeditions?

A thirst for adventure, excitement to try new things and see new places, a desire to further a healthy sense of self-confidence and to learn more about who you are and what you are capable of achieving.  We are looking for participants who are in good health, physically and emotionally, are socially responsible and have an interest in being a part of a supportive community.

Deer Hill is not wilderness therapy; while a little nervousness or apprehension is natural, we are not an appropriate choice for individuals dealing with behavioral, motivational, or rehabilitation issues.

Please read through the following list of essential eligibility  requirements (“EEC”). These requirements are not intended to be exclusionary, but to honestly identify the basic and fundamental elements of participation – integrally tied to safety and risk management considerations.

Please note:These EEC do not encompass all criteria for participation in a Deer Hill expeditions (“DHE”) program. As detailed in our Terms of Agreement, an applicant’s final enrollment and participation in a DHE program is conditioned on, among other things, DHE’s receipt of full payment and receipt and review of all completed and signed forms. In addition and importantly, these EEC are intended to be helpful and constructive for all participants who are considering attending our programs. However, these EEC are only intended to give an overall ‘snapshot’ of EEC for DHE activities and do not encompass every criteria or function of the various activities you may encounter on a given program.

If you have any questions or concerns about the applicant’s ability to meet the criteria, please call the Deer Hill office.  We would be happy to answer your questions and give you more details about the demands of Deer Hill in general, and details regarding specific programs.


  1. EEC – Applies generally to all DHE activities and programs

All participants must:

  1. Come with an open mind and willingness to try new things;
  2. Maintain a positive attitude, even when challenged physically, mentally, or emotionally;
  3. Learn and practice Leave No Trace camping and travel techniques
  4. Display tolerance, respect and compassion towards all;
  5. Be in good general health and physical condition;
  6. Be willing and able to follow rules and obey authority figures (such as DHE leaders)
  7. Understand and follow instructions given to you, individually, or the group, including  directives regarding hazards/risks;
  8. Have the ability to perceive hazards/risks and respond to instructions regarding hazards/risks such as steep cliffs or loose rock;
  9. Effectively communicate with or to other participants or leaders regarding potential hazards/risks, personal distress, injury, or need for assistance up to a distance of 50 meters, where darkness, high wind or other factors may impede communication;
  10. Act reliably and responsibly around hazards/risks even when not directly supervised;
  11. Perform necessary self-care in a remote and outdoor environment, including personal hygiene, adequate hydration, dressing appropriately for weather conditions and responsibility for and organization of personal gear;
  12. Lift and carry weight, including personal or group belongings, gear or provisions;
  13. Competently navigate a variety of uneven and challenging terrain. This includes but is not limited to: traveling on and off-trail, sometimes in steep and difficult terrain in the mountains, desert or other remote outdoor environments, often carrying weight;
  14. Remain alert and focused for several hours at a time while traveling through wilderness, desert or other remote terrain;
  15. Tolerate being outdoors for multiple days in all types of weather, at varying elevations from 7,000 to 14,000 ft., with a variety of stimuli, including bugs, extreme temperature changes, intense sunlight, wind, storms and wildlife;
  16. Tolerate being several hours or up to a day away from medical facilities;
  17. Tolerate changes in diet, group living, long days filled with mentally and physically challenging activities, and a routine that is likely much different than your routine at home;
  18. Learn skills and engage in tasks to support yourself and the group including those necessary for living in remote areas. This includes, but is not limited to: cooking, setting up and taking down camp, washing dishes, caring for group gear, packing dry bags and backpacks, rigging boats and camp site clean-up;
  19. Interact responsibly in a group and support a team approach, understanding that every participant shares in the responsibility for their own well-being and the well-being of the group;
  20. In alignment with the DHE mission, support a physically, emotionally and mentally healthy learning environment for all;
  21. Work effectively as a member of an expedition team. This includes taking personal responsibility  for your belongings and behavior, effectively communicating ideas and concerns on an individual and group level, accepting differences, and possessing a willingness to put the needs of the group before those of the individual;
  22. Respond appropriately in the face of unexpected challenges such as inclement weather, changes in itinerary, unfamiliar surroundings, and homesickness;



  1. EEC for participation in specific DHE activities (in addition to the General EEC above);
  2. Whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking
  3. Meet all of the General EEC, listed above, in addition to those listed here;
  4. Be able to swim or be comfortable in the water, including fast moving water, while wearing a personal flotation device (PFD);
  5. Wear all protective gear recommended or required;
  6. Be able to respond to verbal and/or visual signals;
  7. Enter and exit a wet or dry watercraft independently;
  8. In the event of a capsize or fall out of the watercraft, you must be able to remain calm, follow instructions and independently: get out from under the watercraft, remain face up in the water, endeavor to make progress to the shoreline or another boat and be able to perform self-rescue or cooperate with assisted rescue;
  9. Possess the strength, fitness, balance and agility to accomplish the above tasks.


  1. Rock Climbing
  2. Meet all of the General EEC, listed above, in addition to those listed here and under II.C., below for hiking/backpacking;
  3. Wear all recommended/required gear;
  4. Be able to respond to verbal and/or visual signals;
  5. Grip a rope firmly, grasp the rock face, and negotiate upwards on a climb;
  6. Possess the strength, fitness, balance and agility to accomplish the above tasks.


  1. Hiking, backpacking and mountaineering
  2. Meet all of the General EEC, listed above, in addition to those listed here;
  3. Carry 10-25 pounds daily for day hiking and 40-60 pounds daily for backpacking, for outdoor/wilderness trips ranging from several days to several weeks, depending upon the program;
  4. Consistent with I.M. above, competenly and independently navigate a variety of uneven and challenging outdoor/wilderness terrain with travel distances ranging from 1-10 miles per day for several days or several weeks, depending upon the program, that may involve ascents of mountain peaks up to 14,000 feet in elevation;
  5. Negotiate stream crossings with a group, where fast moving water and slippery or loose rocks are present;
  6. Possess the strength, fitness, balance and agility to accomplish the above tasks.


  1. Mountain Biking
  2. Meet all of the General EEC, listed above in addition to those listed here;
  3. Pedal, steer, stop and negotiate a mountain bike;
  4. Wear all recommended/required gear;
  5. Be able to respond to verbal and/or visual signals;
  6. Travel competently and independently on a bicycle over a variety of uneven and challenging outdoor/wilderness terrain, with travel distances ranging from 1 – 10 miles per day;
  7. Posess the strength, fitness, balance and agility to accomplish the above tasks.


  1. Service Learning Projects
  2. Meet all of the General EEC, listed above, in addition to those listed here;
  3. Be open and willing to interact with new and unfamiliar cultures;
  4. Engage in service learning projects (for example: building, digging, lifting, painting, construction and clean-up), for 6-8 hours per day with tools such as shovels, axes and hoes;
  5. Posess the strength, fitness, balance and agility to accomplish the above tasks.



I understand I must complete the information in the online signing process to electronically accept and sign the Deer Hill Expeditions, Inc.: Essential Eligibility Criteriaoutlined above. Signing the Deer Hill Expeditions, Inc.: Essential Eligibility Criteria indicates an understanding and agreement to compliance with this criteria for participation in a program. Minor participants are also asked to sign, to reflect their understanding of these criteria.

Participant and parent of a minor participant agree: I have carefully read, understand and voluntarily sign this Document, and acknowledge that it shall be effective and legally binding upon me, my spouse, participating minor child and other children, and my/my child’s other family members, heirs, executors, representatives, subrogees, assigns and estate. The participant must sign below. If participant is a minor (those under 18 yrs. of age in Colorado), a parent or legal guardian must also sign below. I understand my signature is valid and legally binding whether I choose to electronically sign, or manually sign a printable version of this Document.
First and Last Name of Participant(Required)


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