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Tier Two (Don't Delete)

Sophomore Wilderness Expedition

The sophomore year is a year of transition for students. Students begin to think beyond high school, and college commitments begin to take shape. It is a time to try new adventures before the all-important academic rigors of the junior year. Thus, Stevenson offers sophomores the opportunity of an extended backpacking trip in the mountains of the Ventana Wilderness through the Sophomore Wilderness Expedition. This trip is designed as a physical and mental challenge in a relatively unfamiliar environment. The experience is designed to engender feelings of self-worth and achievement, providing a foundation for the confidence needed to accept the opportunities of the rigorous years ahead.

On the Expedition, each hiking group will be led by two adult instructors and two student co-leaders. Much is asked of these instructors and co-leaders who make up our staff, so significant training is required of them. Co-leaders are junior and senior students selected by a rigorous evaluation process. After submitting an application, applicants go through an interview and are vetted by our instructors. Information is gathered about them from their teachers and coaches before a final decision is made. They are then trained according to the posted schedule.

Instructors are ultimately in charge of each group, so they undergo additional training. Instructors are a mix of faculty members and experienced outdoor professionals who are hired to support the expedition. All receive medical certification as Wilderness First Responders. Also, each year some instructors go to the Wilderness Risk Management Conference, which is run by some of the top outdoor education companies in the country.

Important Information

Letter to Sophomore Parents

Expedition Goals

Equipment List

Criteria for Good Boots

Important Dates


Terrain and Weather

One of the most challenging—and rewarding—aspects of the Wilderness Expedition is learning how to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature decides to toss our way. Sun, snow, sleet or heat, students will be ready for it. Henry Coe State Park is located near Gilroy. Its boundaries include the Orestimba Wilderness, 22,000 acres of land that is even more protected than that in the rest of the park. Land in a designated wilderness must remain free of roads, structures, motorized equipment, and mechanical transport. Our hikers can expect to have this wilderness virtually to themselves during spring vacation.

Useful Links

Henry Coe State Park (Official park website)

Weather for Coe

Expedition Instructors

The instructors and student coleaders have been trained and certified through the Wilderness Medical Institute department of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Instructors receive a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification and coleaders are certified in Wilderness First Aid (WFA). Additionally, they complete a rigorous training program tailored to help them best serve the sophomores during the Expedition. Check out the Coleader Training Schedule to learn more.

To learn more about the individual instructors, please click on their names below.


Mr. Bob McCormick
Sophomore Wilderness Expedition Director

Meet the Team

Bob McCormick

Wilderness Expedition Director and Faculty Member

Liz O'Hara

Wilderness Expedition Communications Coordinator and Faculty Member

Sarah Howard

Outdoor Education Director, Wilderness Expedition Instructor, Alumna, Faculty Member

Andrew Czerny

Wilderness Expedition Instructor and Faculty Member

Matt Rymzo

Wilderness Expedition Instructor and Faculty Member

Sam Baum

Wilderness Expedition Instructor