206.629.2329      ryan@mountainmethods.com        2114 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103  


Our specialty is working with colleges and universities. We create custom orientation programs and leadership courses that provide a unique welcome and community, thus easing the transition to college life. Taking students off campus fosters the development of lasting friendships, outdoor and leadership skills, and a passion for environmental and social responsibility.

Specifically the mountain methods objectives are to:

- Provide inspiration to students through mentorship, natural beauty, and creative curriculum.

- Develop a community of students and effectively incorporate the school’s mission into the course.

- Teach students valuable techniques to focus on that task at hand and seek logical solutions to problems.

- Give students purpose through open communication of the course goals and expectations.

- Encourage students to have passion for their coursework and career.

- Outline a framework for success within the student’s degree program.

How mountain methods works: 

Easing the Transition

Watching participants unload from the vans at the end of their week is proof that our objectives are achieved. Their week out in mountains, river, or sea gives students a sense of excitement and confidence about their choice in schools. These students are ready to attack their first few weeks with the help of a support network of friends and mentors.

Fostering Friends, Fun, and Communication  

The Northwest provides an unparalleled venue for quality personal interaction between new students. The fundamentals of wilderness camping like not showering for a week, sleeping on the ground, inclement weather, hungry wildlife, and using the latrine provide a sense of common misery that can be an incredible bonding tool. Without dorm rooms for retreat or recharge, true personalities are seen since students cannot hide behind clean clothes, make-up, and material possessions. In addition to common misery, students rejoice in common pleasures like a beautiful sunset hikes, cool water on a hot summer day, and a succulent fajita dinner prepared communally.

Social Responsibility

Participants experience everything as a group, which encourages thoughtful action. When one person doesn’t pull their weight, the rest of the group is affected. In this sense students are given a real lesson in how their actions affect those around them. In addition, many hours are spent on environmental impact assessment and learning how to utilize low impact methods of outdoor recreation. We spend time cleaning up campsites, river banks, and trails to ensure we’ve left our “classroom” in better shape than we found it.


Student and faculty guides are invaluable to the overall experience. The guides are with 5-6 students for over 6 hours per day. Throughout the week participants can consult the guides for answers to questions or concerns they may have entering their first year. We encourage guides to speak about their time at their school, their discoveries as students and professors, and why they decided to get involved with the orientation program. By their example as understanding and thoughtful leaders, the student guides encourage participants to consider finding ways to become leaders themselves.  Faculty guides provide students with a trail map to success by listening to students and encouraging them with advice and insight gained from their  academic careers.

community. sharing, participation, and fellowship.