Western North Carolina attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world. Christ School is situated minutes from whitewater rivers, formidable mountains, and miles of trails, including the Appalachian Trail. Forests and meadows comprise most of the school's nearly 500 acres. The pristine land serves as a classroom and training ground for the varied activities of the Outdoor Program:
Kayaking and Canoeing
Kayaking and canoeing are a favorite activity of students in the Outdoor Program, and being in the mountains is a real benefit. After taking the initial classes on technique and safety, students travel to the best rivers in three states. Season and weather depending, they visit local rivers and lakes two to three days a week. Weekends are for overnight trips to rivers like the Nantahala or the Ocoee (where the 1996 Olympic events were held).
All boys in the Outdoor Program participate in rock climbing instruction. They begin on campus where they learn about knots, harnesses, rope care and proper climbing conversation with their belay partner. After ground school, the students travel to one of the numerous nearby climbing areas such as Looking Glass Rock, Rumbling Bald, Table Rock (NC), Hanging Rock State Park, Pilot Mountain State Park, and Sewanee (TN). Most climbing is done through top-roping or slingshot belays. Many students who specialize in climbing advance to learning about lead climbing and using and setting protection.
Students take trips on the Appalachian Trial and into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mount Rogers (VA), Panthertown Valley, Pisgah National Forest and other locations. Shining Rock Wilderness Area is one of only two tundra/bald-like areas on the eastern seaboard and is just 40 minutes away. Students are taught how to pack their backpacks, proper clothes to wear, and how to practice "leave no trace" camping. While many students have their own gear, the Outdoor Program has backpacks, stoves, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and just about any other item that a student may need to live comfortably in the backcountry.
All boys in the Outdoor Program participate in mountain biking. Many students come to school with their own bikes, but the program also has its own fleet. Before hitting the trails, students are first taught how to choose the correct size bike, safety check it, and learn basic maintenance. The school has nearly twelve miles of bike trails on campus and there are many challenging trails in the areas nearby. Locations such as Bent Creek, DuPont State Forest, the famous Tsali Loops, and Pisgah National Forest give our students more trails than they could ever ride during their entire time here at Christ School.