Recent Submissions

  • Whitewater Packrafting in Western Nepal

    Tetrault, Ted (2016-12-01)
    This expedition plan outlines a whitewater packrafting trip on the Bheri and Seti Karnali rivers in western Nepal that will serve as my capstone project for the Bachelor’s of Science in the Expeditionary Studies program at SUNY Plattsburgh. While these rivers will count as my own personal senior expedition, the trip in its entirety will also include the running of the Sun Kosi river in eastern Nepal, and that plan can be found in a separate document authored by Alex LaLonde as that segment will be serving as his capstone project for the same program.
  • Life in the Range of Light: Reaching New Heights

    Soroka, Larry; Friedland, Aaron (2014)
    The following expedition proposal created and submitted by myself, Aaron Friedland, with input from my expedition partner Aaron Stone, is a compilation of all the research, as well as a clarification of the intentions and goals of our team during an extended backcountry-climbing trip to California's Sierra Nevada mountain range. This plan is in accordance to the guidelines, rules and ethics established by SUNY Plattsburgh's Expeditionary Studies (EXP) program. Included in this proposal is a detailed explanation of our goals, theories and methods. This is the senior capstone course that puts all of our learning into practice in the form of an unsupported student planned and led expedition. However, beyond the surface level motivation to complete the course requirements and obtain our bachelor's degree, this expedition is a manifestation of our desire to build our skills, gain practical, hands-on experience and further our professional development.
  • Letting the Trip Take Us: One Expedition, Four Different Journeys

    Soroka, Larry; Beckler, Jenn; Farnham, Maeghan; Stone, Aaron (2014)
    This Senior Expedition Proposal created and submitted by seniors Jenn Beckler, Maeghan Farnham and Aaron Stone, compiles the research and clarifies the intentions of our month-long rock climbing expedition in the Southeastern US, in adherence to SUNY Plattsburgh's Expeditionary Studies (EXP) guidelines. Included in the proposal are explanations of Expedition Theory and Planning course requirements; team member introductions and goals with group dynamics, leadership and decision making preparation; logistical preparations including training, nutrition, equipment, budget and risk management plan; and the natural history and climbing culture of three climbing locations with specific itinerary. Beyond executing our Senior Expedition to obtain a bachelor's degree, we consider it our greater goal to gain confidence as climbers and outdoor professionals. Fourth team member, EXP sophomore Alex McLaren completes the team (referred to as we/us/our). In May and June 2014 we will be spending four weeks rock climbing in Red River Gorge, KY; Linville Gorge, NC; and Seneca Rocks, WV specifically to improve our relatively new lead and multi-pitch climbing skills. Certainly at times, the planning--the writing-- seemed a struggle, but in its realization we have discovered how intentional our adventure has become and we can hardly wait to learn where it will take us.
  • Paddling With the Ghost of the Giver: An Expedition by Canoe Down the Mekong Delta

    Maynard, Steven; Soroka, Laurence; Smith, Matthew (2013)
    Escapism ultimately is a comfort. Accepting this truth was tied to my childhood. However, even after this I find myself still day dreaming of adventures and heroic legends. It was after reflecting on a hiking trip in the Snowdonia mountain range birth place of the King Arthur legends, these dreams were reawakened. I realized, walking among ancient ruins, dunking into the water of Lyn Agwyn and standing on Snowden's peak where King Arthur had defeated the king slayer, that true adventure transcends fiction and is built into the core of every day-dreamer. Actualization of adventure must be done by realistic means. This is the mindset of the expedition planner. The completion of my proposed expedition on the Mekong Delta will be the culmination and proof of my mastery of the expedition planner's mindset. What will follow in this proposal is an argument to prove my mastery is this field of study. This document is research into both the Cambodian and Vietnamese sections of the Dragon's Mouth expedition seen at This document features research about the entire route but focuses on the section of river within the Mekong Delta.
  • Sawtooth 2013: An Expedition into the Idaho Wilderness

    Henley, Casey; Soroka, Larry; Davidson, Cedar; Mossey, Andy (2013)
    This proposal will give you a detailed understanding of my planned expedition to the Sawtooth wilderness in March of 2013. Within these pages you will find a brief history of the area, some geological background, a glimpse at the types of wildlife you would likely find in the Sawtooth, as well as my detailed trip plans. This proposal is written as partial completion of the requirements for my Senior Expedition class with SUNY Plattsburgh's Expeditionary Studies program. The structure of the proposal is modeled to simulate the level of preparation needed for a professional expedition proposal. It includes a risk management plan, emergency protocols, detailed meal plan, and equipment list satisfactory for a multi-week ski mountaineering expedition. This proposal also includes a system of assessing risk and making decisions which I outline in the section titled: Go/No Go Standards. You will also find an analysis of the Sawtooth snowpack up to the date on the cover of this proposal as well as an essay on leadership in the outdoor industry and a section for my personal and professional goals. Additional information includes a budget, a training and conditioning plan, and my contingency plans.This proposal will give you an idea of the type of planning required to launch a multi-week expedition into a remote location, and maybe give you ideas for a trip of you own. Keep in mind, some of the planning procedures are specific to my experience and preference and follow guidelines put in place by the Expeditionary Studies Department.
  • Into the West: A Journey to Big Sky Country for Ski Mountaineering

    Henley, Casey; Soroka, Larry; Makowicki, Chris (2013)
    The Madison range is nestled in the south west corner of Montana right between Yellowstone and Bozeman. Surrounding southwest Montana are the Bridger, Madison, Hyalite, Greater Gallatins, Absaroka and Beartooth range. This unsupported expedition will take place over a 14 day period. My team which includes Bobby O'Connor and Dan Nesel picked the Madison range for its amount of snow; in the northern range the mountains annually get 300 to 400 inches while the southern range gets 400 to 500 inches. This range I think is our best option not only because of snow but also because it is known for its low traffic of skiers, good spring skiing, some technical routes and some easy approaches. It holds the opportunity for us as expeditionary leaders to put our skills to practice, finding out what works and what doesn't. What follows is sample of peaks that we would like to mountaineer/ski mountaineer. These areas have little to no restrictions regarding permits for skinning and skiing which make it easier to camp in the backcountry. Following the end of the spring semester my team will be driving out to Montana which we plan on taking 4 to 5 days to get out to Bozeman. The fuel coast according to AAA (split between 3 people) for my Subaru forester will be 137 $. With gas prices fluctuating from region to region my team will throw an extra 45$ each. As far as food goes will we each allow ourselves a budget of 7$ per person per day. This 7$ budget includes the drive out and amount per day on the expedition as to not go over our purposed budget. In the event the weather does not cooperate we will follow out our contingency plan, heading further to the Pacific Northwest in the north cascades in Washington. If snow is still unsuitable we will follow out on mountaineering in or around Bozeman Montana in one of the many mountainous ranges to complete our requirements for 436 Senior Expedition.
  • Backcountry Skiing in Alaska's White Pass

    Henley, Casey; Soroka, Larry; Stewart, Charlie (2013)
  • Sea Kayaking North Carolina's Outer Banks

    Waring, Allison; Dahlquist, Kari (2010)
    EXP 436: Senior Expedition may appear at first glance to be just one of the many courses listed on an expeditionary studies student's Curriculum Advising & Program Planning (CAPP) Report. However, an expeditionary studies student's senior expedition is more than your average class. It is the capstone course in the program, requiring the student to use all the knowledge and skills they have developed over the past three years, culminating in a student planned and run expedition. My expedition has been set for May 2010, and will take place along the North Carolina Coast. Myself and one other partner will paddle the 70 nautical miles of Cape Lookout National Seashore and an additional 20 nautical miles of Ocracoke region of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We will travel in an effort to learn more about the area's natural and cultural history, as well as in search of good surf beach or two. In the process we will spend approximately six nights primitive camping on the barrier islands following Leave No Trace guidelines. Some highlights of the trip will include visiting the historic Cape Lookout and Ocracoke lighthouses and the historic city of Ocracoke, exploring the abandoned town of Porthsmouth, spotting wild ponies on Shackleford Island, and the opportunity to experience rough water and surf. This trip will involve a moderate degree of difficulty. We will be paddling around fifteen nautical miles a day on the exposed Atlantic Coastal shoreline, allowing for the daily possibility of moderate wind and swell, caused by inclement weather. However, given the geography of the barrier islands there is the option, should the conditions arise, to take an alternate route inland through the Intracoastal Waterway. We may also choose this route for one or two days of travel, to be able to experience the marsh ecosystem that exists on the protected side of these barrier islands. Although the Outer Banks only have a small two-foot tidal range some of the inlets that cut through the barrier islands can have currents in excess of three knots. While manageable, proper planning and timing will make travel much easier. This expedition is sure to test my planning, personal paddling, and camping skills. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be a challenging experience, but will hopefully be an enjoyable one as well. In the following pages you find the written result of the planning process for this expedition.
  • Climbing Expedition: The Wind River Range and Grand Teton National Park

    Henley, Casey; Soroka, Laurence; Madia, Keith (2012)
    This is a proposal for a rock climbing expedition in the Wind River Mountains and Grand Teton National Park. The Wind River Range is located south of the Tetons in Wyoming. Although these two areas are geographically close in proximity, they offer different climbing culture and experiences. Based on my research, Grand Teton National Park is a smaller mountain range than the Wind River Mountains although it seems to attract a larger amount of visitors. The Tetons are only a short drive from the popular city of Jackson, WY. On the other hand, the Wind River Mountains are large and spread out. It takes a long day hike to get to the Cirque of the Towers, one of the more popular climbing areas in the range, which is the area of the Wind River Range that this proposal is based on. This paper represents the research and thought that has gone into planning an expedition in the two proposed locations. I used a variety of sources, which include credible websites, guidebooks, encyclopedias, and conversations with outdoor professionals. It also represents my own knowledge and processes of planning a climbing expedition. This means that my proposal will demonstrate the step-by-step process of planning a climbing expedition that I've learned through the Expeditionary Studies Program. The main points this proposal will relay are my own goals and reasons for this expedition, the science and history of the areas, technical attributes of a climbing expedition, risk and emergency management, and the itinerary for the expedition. In return, this proposal will validate me and my partner's ability to carry out an expedition in the Teton and Wind River Range. This expedition is the capstone to the Expeditionary Studies Program, which is required for graduation.
  • Threading The Needles of South Dakota and Storming Devils Tower of Wyoming

    Henley, Casey; Soroka, Laurence; Commanda, Brandon (2010)
    For some time now it has only been a dream of mine to travel across the country to climb the classics and the natural wonders of America. For this expedition, that could rightfully be called an American safari, my team will travel to both South Dakota and Wyoming to ascend the Needles and Devils Tower. Devils Tower, Wyoming boasts some of the most exhilarating crack climbing east of the Mississippi on a spiritually eccentric formation; while The Needles of South Dakota contain some of Americaâ s most sustained knob pulling lines on eccentric spires. Though geologists claim that these two formations were created by the same geological phenomenon, the techniques involved with climbing them could not be at further ends of the spectrum. For this expedition I intend to climb for two straight weeks, one week dedicated to each area (travel time included in figure). We will attempt to climb three to six pitches per day at a grade of 5.8-5.11 depending on physical health, weather conditions, and personal aptitude. The team shall consist of my climbing partner Forrest Kingsley, another Plattsburgh State student and avid climber, and me as leader. Even though I have only proposed a two week expedition to two areas, our trip will continue on further west once we have accomplished the goals outlined above and within this proposal.
  • A Sea Kayak Circumnavigation of The Isle of Skye

    Maynard, Steve; Soroka, Larry; Aveson, Sydney (2012)
  • The Mekong River: An Expedition Proposal

    Maynard, Steve; Soroka, Laurence; Cooper, Garrett (2012)
  • A Circumnavigation of Isla de la Guarda

    Maynard, Steve; Soroka, Laurence; Goldfinger, Gary (2012)
    The senior expedition is our final capstone of the Expeditionary Studies program at SUNY Plattsburgh. This is basically what we have been training for during our university career. Since being a student here, I have seen many of the senior expedition presentations and even went along on a few of the trips, but I had no idea what I would be doing for my own. Starting out exclusively as a climber, a climbing trip was the obvious choice, but as I continued my education, many other disciplines came to be a part of my regular schedule. In fact, climbing recently has taken a back seat to other sports such as white water kayaking and sea kayaking. In the last couple of years with the extensive traveling I have done, I thought about what my expedition would entail and ideas came around every corner. Many of these ideas were way over my head and I realized that after looking into them more extensively. Someday I would like to complete these more rigorous expedition ideas, but for now, I need to do something in my skills set. First I needed a discipline, and as climbing has slowly been moving out of the spot light, I decided sea kayaking would be a great plan. Climbing has always been a challenge for me to push my limits and I see that in sea kayaking too. Dealing with tides and currents, flat water, rough water, and the dynamic setting allows me to be challenged within and outside of my comfort zone. Along with white water kayaking has taught me so much on the water and gives me the same feeling I get while on the rock. This is what really has intrigued me to continue in this program primarily as a kayaker. 4 Next I needed a venue. I have been fortunate enough to paddle in so many different parts of the United States as well as a few other countries. I try to go to new places as much as I can but in this instance I decided to go back to Mexico. I love Mexico. I had paddled on the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula in the past but this time I wanted to be in the Sea of Cortez side because I had never been there before. Originally I wanted to cross the entire sea from Baja to mainland, but after looking in to it, I determined logistically it would have been a nightmare, so then I found Isla Angel de la Guarda just outside Bahia de Los Angeles. This was it. A circumnavigation of this island would be perfect. The route would be perfect to fulfill the requirements of the trip but it would still be a serious undertaking.
  • The Sierra: Discovering the Backcountry

    Henley, Casey; Soroka, Laurence; Soroka, Tova (2012)
    In recent years I have rediscovered my own passion for skiing. After overcoming multiple injuries that have kept me out of the backcountry it is finally my time to explore. For the last few years of my life I have been watching the ski films of backcountry touring that have only inspired me more to get out there in the backcountry. All of this has motivated me to begin the process for my own expedition, which follows in this proposal. My expedition will be starting at the Mammoth Lakes Region and ending at Tioga Pass, California. This trip is not truly a Sierra Crest tour (~500 miles of the Sierra ridgeline traveling north- south) because it goes off of the crest and tours through the Ritter Range. This trip travels through the magnificent Minarets area and through part of Yosemite National Forest. My trip will establish 3-4 base camps set up approximately 10 miles apart from each other. From these areas we will be doing day tours for 2 or 3 days before traveling to a further camp along our path. The proposal includes the history of skiing in the Sierra Mountains that goes back to the days of postmen using skis to deliver mail throughout this mountain range. Because this is being planned as a self- sufficient extended backcountry tour, I do not want to travel with more weight then necessary, and have decided to use the Freezer Bag Cooking style to help implement this. Finally since we are traveling in terrain that is avalanche prone I have increased and will continue to increase my avalanche training and understanding and practice of backcountry avalanche protocols for our expedition. Topics covered in planning for this expedition include risk management plans, emergency contacts, Leave No Trace guidelines, leadership planning, and conditioning and training Plans.