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Skidmore College
Office of Campus Life and Engagement

Frequently Asked Questions
The Nuts and Bolts of SOLE

SOLE leaders

also known as SOLE-jahs and will be comprised of Skidmore juniors and seniors.

SOLE - Adirondack MountainsSOLE-jah training and certification

  • All SOLE-jahs will go through a 9 week (once/week) training on all the basics of leadership in the wilderness (ie: orienteering,packing a backpack, pitching a tent, planning a menu etc.).
  • All SOLE-jahs will be certified in wilderness first aid "WFA" through an accredited school (SOLO: Stonehearth open learning opportunities).
  • All SOLE-jahs will lead a trip prior to the actual "SOLE" trip with our trained leaders as participants.

Program Contacts


Students apply to participate in "SOLE" during the second semester of their freshman year or as a new transfer student. Those accepted return to campus at the end of August to participate in a 5 day backpacking trip in the Adiorondack Mountains. The participants are called "SOLE"ers; they are divided into groups of 8 sophomores or new transfers and 2 junior or senior leaders. Upon returning to campus each group maintains "SOLE" connections through year long events and or meetings.

"SOLE" is open to all students regardless of experience or ability in the wilderness. Many participants have little or no backpacking or camping experience. Leaders will teach participants the basic skills they need. WE WILL DIVIDE GROUPS BASED ON ABILITY THAT YOU WILL INDICATE ON YOUR REGISTRATION APPLICATION!

You are in the high peaks of the Adirondack mountains there are rules and regulations from the DEC that we strictly adhere to, for instance BEAR CANNISTERS! We pack in our own food for the trips and each person will carry their own backpacks, clothes, sleeping bag/pads and full bear cans. Your packs will weigh between 30 and 50lbs FULL. You are required to wear appropriate footwear and be capable of carrying this amount of weight on sometimes rough and steep ground. We are coming into the Bear's home and we are going to play by the bear's rules!

We hope the trip encourages the Sophomores to want to become "SOLE" leaders who continue to pass the torch on.

What is “SOLE” ? (sophomore outdoor leadership experience)
Technically, it is a 5 day backpacking trip in one of various north-eastern mountain ranges. Not so technically, it is a way to kick off your sophomore year by reflecting on your freshman year, re-centering yourself, re-engaging with friends and making new friends. It is a way to learn pertinent hands on leadership skills while having a lot of fun and making lifetime memories.

Who can I contact to learn more about the program?
You can contact the Director of the Program Mary Ann Toia or the Student Coordinator Anna Graves  by emailing or phoning at 518-580-8335.

Who is eligible to be a leader or participant?
As a leader you need to apply through the Office of Campus Life in Case building room #309.

When is the trip?
Tuesday, August 27th through Saturday, August 31st.

Will I be back in time for Orientation or Transfer Orientation?

YES, we will have you back in time to participate in all activities on the 31st.

How do I apply to SOLE?
As a participant you can apply online through our website.

How are the groups decided?
The goal of a SOLE trip is to  foster new friendships and a strong group dynamic. To help make this happen participants will be placed in different groups than their roommates and friends. Additionally, we will try to fill the groups with a balance of genders and different levels of experience in the outdoors.

What equipment do we need?
All of the group gear will be provided by the program. Group gear includes: food, cooking supplies, stoves, fuel, tents, etc. Students will need to bring their own personal gear, which includes a sleep bag, a sleeping pad, an appropriate backpack, a variety of layers, rain gear, etc. A more detailed gear list will be provided as the trip comes closer. If you have any questions about obtaining equipment you don't have or whether what you do have is appropriate, please feel free to contact us.

What gear should I pack? This is the most thorough packing list!


Where is the trip?
It takes place in various mountain ranges in the north-east

How do we get there?
We ride buses from Skidmore College to the trail heads and are picked up by buses and taken back to Skidmore.

How many nights do we camp?
We camp a total of 4 nights

How much does Sole cost?
Sole cost $375.00/person. We do offer scholarships but they are on a case by case basis and determined prior to registration. For more information please contact Mary Ann Toia.

What kind of experience do I need to be a SOLE-er?
Desire! There have been participants who have never camped, backpacked or hiked in a wilderness setting.moutains and backpackersbackpacks