Heights Frontiers

Exploring Untrodden Paths

Since the dawn of time, young men have been drawn to the untamed wild, following an innate desire to explore and discover the illimitable wonders of creation.

Heights Frontiers, The Heights School’s outdoor program, pushes these same boundaries, leaving behind the confines of concrete and steel, to enter those remote and beautiful parts of the world untouched by modernity. The wilderness reminds us how to be human and allows us to return to the front country fully alive and fully engaged with reality.

2024 Dates

BWCAW: July 22 – 28, 2024 (entering grades 7 – 9)

Colorado 14ers: July 31 – Aug 7, 2024 (entering grades 10 – 12)

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Minnesota

We will spend 5 days (4 nights) in the backcountry, with the bookend evenings spent at our outfitter’s bunkhouse near town. Boys will be able to attend Sunday Mass in Ely before flying home.

In the backcountry, we will eat family-style meals cooked on camp stoves and the open fire. There will be no bathroom or shower facilities for the duration of our expedition amidst the lakes and woods. The boys will be able to shower upon returning to town, before flying home (although by that point they may have embraced the grunge!). Each day we will cover 5-7 miles and several of the days will include portaging, as we hop from one lake to the next. We will be using lightweight Kevlar canoes and never portaging more than 1 mile.

  • Age: Entering 7 – 9 Grade
  • Dates: Jul 22 – Jul 28, 2024
  • Cost: $2100 plus airfare and covers all food, lodging, and group outfitting.

Colorado 14ers: Weminuche Wilderness, San Juan Mountains

We will spend 5 days (4 nights) in the backcountry, with the bookend nights spent in Durango, CO.

In the backcountry, we will eat family-style meals cooked on camp stoves and the open fire. There will be no bathroom or shower facilities for the duration of our expedition into the heart of the Rocky Mountains. On our first day, we will take a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad before jumping off on a 6-mile hike into Chicago Basin where we will set up base camp for our time in the backcountry.

Over the next few days, we will summit two 14ers, Mts. Windom and Aeolus, and, depending on conditions and abilities, will push to summit a third, Sunlight Peak. Each of the peak ascents is roughly a 5-mile hike with 3,000 feet of elevation gain.

This trip is limited to twelve students.

  • Age: Entering 10 – 12 Grade
  • Dates: Jul 31 – Aug 7, 2024
  • Cost: $2100 plus airfare and covers all food, lodging, and group outfitting.

The rosters for both trips will be filled on a rolling basis starting in November and the trips are expected to reach full capacity. The first deposit of $1000 is fully refundable and holds a spot for your son up until we secure plane tickets. Contact Mr. Titus Willard to register (ext. 211 or twillard@heights.edu). Deposits can be made as a paper check or by clicking below.

Reserve Your Spot Today

2023 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Go Into the Wild

“Industrial tourism is a threat to the national parks. But the chief victims of the system are the motorized tourists. They are being robbed and robbing themselves. So long as they are unwilling to crawl out of their cars they will not discover the treasures of the national parks and will never escape the stress and turmoil of the urban-suburban complexes which they had hoped, presumably, to leave behind for a while.”

Edward Abbey

Heights Frontiers Staff

Elias Naegele ’10

Ext. 146, enaegele@heights.edu

A native Virginian, a lifer, and the third of five Naegele boys to graduate from The Heights, Elias first pursued his love for all things wild to Wyoming following his graduation from the University of Virginia. After a time spent guiding snowmobile and ATV trips in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), Elias returned eastward, where he taught lower school natural history and middle and upper school math at The Avalon School. Still scratching the interminable itch of the untrodden path, he trekked up the coast, serving as a founding faculty member at Sparhawk Academy. Yet while the ancient Appalachians were never far off, the craggy peaks of the west continued to call, and Elias returned west once again, where he met his beautiful wife and worked as an administrator at both the secondary school and collegiate level.

Elias has led numerous backcountry trips, by paddle and foot, both professionally and with friends. If not readily available, he has likely ditched the pre-packaged life of suburbia for the open road on yet another adventure with his young family and trusty Irish Setter, Rosie.

Titus Willard ’13

Ext. 211, twillard@heights.edu

Fourth Grade teacher, Titus Willard, graduated from The Heights in 2013 and from the University of Dallas in 2017.  During the Fall of 2014 he studied for a semester in Rome and toured several countries in Europe, visiting the Swiss Alps, Germany’s Black Forest region, and other idyllic frontiers.

An avid outdoorsman, Titus has tackled miles of the Appalachian Trail, a Summer of commercial fishing in the wild salmon fishery of Kodiak, Alaska, and over 900 miles of the Mississippi River by canoe from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico.  Titus has enjoyed teaching in the Valley for the past six years. Titus and his wife, Claire, live in Monrovia, Maryland with their three young daughters, Sophia, Katherine, and Cecilia.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”

T.S. Eliot