Ascent is a 3-day mountainous navigation adventure with survival classes taught by current and former Special Forces soldiers (GORUCK Cadre) and wilderness experts. You will learn skills in land navigation, survival training, climbing/mountaineering, and wilderness medicine. Whether you are an experienced backcountry hiker or a novice at using a compass, your GORUCK Cadre will ensure that you walk away with new skills and the ability to thrive outdoors on your own. Due to the mountainous terrain and elevation of the summits, Ascent is more physically demanding than Navigator.

GORUCK Ascent Patch

Ascent is open to anyone with an interest in learning how to survive and thrive in a wilderness environment. We teach you the necessary skills to safely plan and execute an expedition in mountainous terrain while having fun with friends. Our Cadre draw upon their experiences operating in places like the mountains of Afghanistan to teach you skills in a hands-on way.

In line with our goal to build better Americans, we build your confidence so that you know what to do in case you ever find yourself in a worst-case scenario. To do that, we test you on the skills we teach to ensure you “get it.” You and your team will have to navigate using map and compass, build shelters, start fires using various methods, and eventually use signaling techniques to either get rescued or find your way back to basecamp safely, depending on your scenario. And much like in Where The Wild Things Are, a hot supper awaits your team’s return.

Why Ascent Is Special

You will be taught and tested by Special Operations Cadre at Ascent. In our experience, people learn how to better manage pressure if we test you in a competitive environment. To that end, our Cadre will grade both you and your team on your final exercise and we will award special patches to the high achievers. Regardless of the outcome, the goal remains the same: that you leave better prepared to handle a crisis situation in mountainous terrain.


  • Acquire the outdoor survival skills required to move safely and effectively in a mountainous environment
  • Learn the basics of wilderness medicine with an emphasis on altitude-related conditions
  • Feel confident navigating with a map and compass, using GPS as a back-up. We teach you on Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) maps.
  • Learn how to manage risk in a wilderness environment
  • Apply leadership lessons from a military decision-making model
  • Gain confidence in designing and planning trips in the mountainous terrain with proper risk management.
  • Learn to embrace adversity while maintaining a smile
  • Apply skills learned to a “worst-case” scenario. This just-in-case knowledge might save your life someday.

Event Skill Sets

  • Terrain-based mission planning and preparation
  • Land Navigation
  • GPS/Compass/Map Reading
  • Backcountry/Survival Basics
  • Rucksack packing/load distribution
  • Survival shelter building/fires
  • Emergency evacuation signaling and procedures
  • Climbing and mountaineering skills that include anchor systems, rappelling, belaying, knots, and safety - based on weather and terrain requirements
  • Basic Wilderness Medicine and First-Aid
  • Awareness and prevention of Altitude Sickness (AMS)
  • Medical Emergencies/Evacuation preparation and planning

The specific skills taught may differ depending on location, weather, and terrain. For example, if snow is present, the emphasis might be on mountaineering skills such as self-belay and ice anchors instead of rock anchors and rock climbing.

What to Bring

Click here to download a Packing List of everything you need to bring to the Ascent.


Participants are required to bring the following meals:

  1. Camp meals: (6) minimum camp meals to be eaten and prepared at a base camp. Examples of camp meals are Mountain House dehydrated meals or MREs. Well rounded nutrient and calorie rich foods are best.
  2. Go Meals: (4) minimum go meals, to be eaten on the move during field time and training. Examples of go type meals are Pro-Bar meal bars, Sandwiches, or similar calorie and carbohydrate rich foods that don't require preparation in the field.
  3. Snacks: Good mountain snacks are high in calories especially in carbohydrates and fat. Examples are trail mix, bars, bagels.

Physical Requirements

Due to the strenuous nature of summiting mountains, we recommend you have significant experience hiking and/or rucking. GORUCK Challenges as well as rucking on your own serve as suitable preparation for Ascent. Ascent is more physically demanding than Navigator.

Our Cadre

Ascent is designed and led by Cadre with extensive Special Operations experience. In addition, we have professional outdoor educators and guides on staff to ensure the quality of our instruction. Our Cadre and Staff offer a unique combination of skillsets honed from years operating in mountainous areas as soldiers and professional climbers.

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