High Mountain Institute Gap (HMI Gap) Semesters

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About

HMI Gap unites adventure with conservation, taking you on an incredible journey to some of the world's most iconic wild places. With programs traveling through Patagonia and the American West, you will discover more about the world and yourself, make lasting positive impacts, become independent in your outdoor skills, develop intellectual maturity and effective leadership, and leave more prepared to pursue your life's ambition.

Highlights
  • Rock Climbing, Backpacking, Backcountry Skiing, Rafting, Canyoneering
  • Stewardship, Community, Leadership
  • Spanish language
  • Environmental studies
  • Cultural exchange

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Reviews

9.61 Rating
based on 49 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 93.88%
  • 7-8 rating 6.12%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Housing 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 8 of 49
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Zack
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

HMI Gap: The Best Semester of My Life!!

HMI gave me the perfect mixture of outdoor adventure, leadership skills, and environmental studies to create a genuinely phenomenal semester! I had spent very little time camping, backpacking, or climbing before the program, but HMI equipped me with all of the mental and physical tools to combat every challenge I would face. They helped me reframe my relationship with the outdoors and truly become comfortable in a wide variety of activities. HMI also created the space for an incredible and unique community. I had an amazing relationship with each individual participant and the group as a whole- we were genuinely a new family. Finally, I was so impressed by HMI's curriculum that brought together readings and discussions which allowed us to evaluate the many perspectives on nature and how they each address contemporary issues. These learnings allowed me to intentionally consider my personal environmental ethic and look at deep changes in my life. Overall, HMI was a wonderful experience of learning and adventure.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing I did with HMI was traveling through Gravel Canyon in Jacob's Chair National Monument. It was an incredibly long day and we left camp before the sun rose and got back well after it set. We scrambled over boulders, wandered through slot canyons, and had to repel to the next section of the canyon three different times! It was intense and difficult at times, but also incredibly fun and massively rewarding. We were all surprised at how far we had come with our hiking, endurance, and technical repels and had an amazing day.
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Lara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wilderness and Conservation 2

I had the best semester of my life doing this program! I got to meet awesome people and make some of my best friends ever. I also got to have some of the coolest experiences of my life and the instructors were super encouraging and supportive. I learned so much about myself and I feel that I’ve grown so much after doing this program. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to grow, make connections, and spend time outdoors. The people on my trip were awesome and I felt close with every single one of them. We got to have deep conversations and hilarious conversations alike.

What was your funniest moment?
Our funniest moment was on Halloween when we all created costumes with what we had in our packs on the last night of a backpacking expedition and had a dance party.
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Emma
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good people, good places, good food!

This semester was totally unexpected for me - I was fully committed to going right into college, not even considering a gap year. COVID hit and I did a last minute pivot, figuring anything would at least be better than online classes. This semester has turned out to be such an amazing experience - I've met so many cool people, seen and truly experienced some of the most incredible places in the US, and become a lot more comfortable with myself in community and as a leader. A total growth experience - if you're interested to be challenged physically and mentally, have awesome, inspiring mentors, and have a chance for some self reflection, this program is for you.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would try a little harder to learn more of the flora and fauna by name and identification before and during the semester. There's so much life out in these places, and I think I would have felt even more connected to the place if I'd been more aware of all the species around me.
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Evie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wilderness and conservation semester

HMI Gap was such an amazing experience! Each place we went was so unique and rewarding in its own way. The program was physically quite difficult at times but that made everything feel really rewarding. There was a nice balance of backpacking and trying climbing and rafting. Sleeping under the stars for 80 days was so nice and being out in the backcountry for so long gave a great opportunity for reflection. Backcountry baking was definitely a highlight and bonding experience. Would definitely recommend!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We got to hike through the Paria Canyon which was incredible!
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Janak
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

HMI Gap Semester

I was hesitant to enter HMI and take a gap semester. I didn’t realize how much one can learn from being out backpacking in the wilderness. Had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I met some amazing people that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. As someone who hasn't ever gone backpacking before this semester I felt comfortable because of the expertise of the instructors. They taught many important technical and non technical skills that took a complete rookie to being very comfortable in the backcountry. Definitely recommend.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
How much I learned, technical and non technical skills.
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Ruby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wilderness and conservation semester

Choosing to spend my gap semester with HMI was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I learned so much more about backpacking and life in the backcountry than I ever thought I would and went to the most amazing places! One of my favorite parts of the semester was our 5 day backpacking trip in the Paria slot canyon in Arizona. It was unlike anywhere I have ever been and so cool to walk through and camp in the same canyon for 40 miles. I would do the entire semester all over again if I could.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
A baby coyote ran right in front of me during my 24 hour solo in Arizona!
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Sameer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unparalleled Experience

Went in with no wilderness experience and was completely satisfied. Allowed for in depth exploration of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Great amount of support from staff and administration, incredibly motivated group of students. The environmental studies curriculum helps maintain an academic component to the experience while also allowing for an added layer to the places we visit. This is a great experience for experienced backpackers and newbies alike. Staff does a great job of catering to the needs of students! 10/10!

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Lukas
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wilderness and Conservation Semester

My time at HMI was absolutely wonderful. I had the opportunity to both sport climb and spend time backpacking in beautiful locations in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Every trip we did encompassed so many essential aspects of the outdoor and gap year experience. Included in our gaining of outdoor skills was an environmental studies curriculum that allowed us to gain perspective on the land on which we recreated. Adding this curriculum made me feel much more responsible about how I used the land. The instructors throughout the course always provided support and guidance in every expedition.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We dry camped on an unscheduled travel day while also celebrating a birthday.
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