The High Mountain Institute, as offered by its name, is foremost an establishment of learning. At HMI, I learned how to to navigate through mountains and canyons, to cook an array of backcountry meals, and to set up the perfect tent. However, the little nuggets of knowledge I acquired are both harder to pin down and perhaps more universally applicable: learning how to share cramped spaces with (potentially smelly) people; counting down from three before doing something that absolutely terrifies you (e.g., crossing a slippery log over a raging Patagonian rapid or diving headfirst with your best friends into a glacial lake); screaming at the top of your lungs when your whole group is frustrated, tired, and confused. HMI really is “where nature and minds meet” because, with each daily skill or challenge, your instructors and your peers encourage you to thrive and test your limits. In the same vein, HMI combines the best of backcountry hard skills (e.g., navigation) and intellectual stimulation (e.g., conservation curriculum) to provide you with an experience that leaves you stronger, both physically and mentally, than you were before.
HMI Gap changed my life. While I remain mostly the same person I was before, I experience more intensely my passions, my family and friends, and the world at large. I chose HMI Gap in search of challenge and wonder; I was delighted to find myself face to face with both of those things virtually every day with HMI.