Double H High Adventure Base Closing

The “Philmont Expedition Registration for 2010” packet confirms the rumors that Double H High Adventure Base will be closing after the 2009 summer season.

PLEASE NOTE: The Double H High Adventure Base will conclude six years of operation with the 2009 season. no reservations will be accepted for the Double H for 2010.

The Double H High Adventure Base, is a partnership between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and the Boy Scouts of America. The Double H Ranch was opened in 2003 and is operated by Philmont Scout Ranch. With no established trail system, the Double H is a rugged southwestern experience covering over 100,000 acres and elevations over 7,000 feet. Treks hike cross country utilizing the principles of “Leave No Trace”.

Calls to Philmont Scout Ranch confirmed that Double H High Adventure Base will be closing, however staff did not provide an explanation for the closure.

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This is a shame. I had wanted to try to get a crew out to Double H but knew it wasn’t going to happen until after 2010 – with the Jamboree and all.

By Jim on October 11th, 2008 at 12:46 am
By » News on How to Find More News at ScoutingNews on October 13th, 2008 at 11:42 am

If you are looking for a substitute adventure, try Camp Sheppard High Adventure Base in the Pacific Northwest. This premier camp offers rock climbing, mountaineering, hiking, mountain biking and adventure racing. Check out their website at

By Chuck Caley on November 24th, 2008 at 12:40 am

It’s sad that Philmont’s programs is apparently soon to be terminated, but the Scouts have several quality High Adventure programs to select from. Camp Sheppard fills a unique niche of mountain adventure in Washington State. Their programs include trekking to biking to climbs of Mt. Rainier. It’s awesome!

By Jim Macartney on November 25th, 2008 at 8:14 pm

I hope that the “powers that be” see this sometime. I think the problem with Dbl H was that Philmont/BSA tried to duplicate the Philmont trek on a new terrain really unsuited to the “trek” experience. So, when crews went to Dbl H they were dissappointed with the heat, sun and lack of activities. Instead the PTB should look at the terrain and what’s its purpose is, and develop a unique experience suited to that area. Sea Base shouldn’t try to do hikes. Philmont shouldn’t try to sail. Dbl H shouldn’t be like anywhere else either. How about “treks” (7 or 10 days) where the participants assist with archeological searches/cataloging? Or treks where the participants (Venturers) actually prepare for and hunt elk? (The ranch was left for the preservation of Elk habitat and the RMEF website says this about Dbl H: The Elk Foundation offers archery and muzzleloader hunts for elk, as well as hunts for mule deer, pronghorn antelope and mountain lion, at the Torstenson Wildlife Center. Find out how you can land the hunt of your dreams). Or a trek where the participants learn about the management of wild lands and wildlife (Colo State Univ has several different majors in this subject). Or a trek where the participants assist univeristy and ranch managers with field studies, experiments, similar tasks.

Since the benefactor desired that Scouts use the Dbl H, it seems like we should be able to find the unique adventure for this opportunity.


By scouter62 on December 13th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

@scouter62 – I’ve heard about the mis matched programming from a few people. I was unable to find out the actual reason its closing, it sounds like it may be more of problem with the operational agreement with the RMEF. Though I was unable to confirm it.

By Dan on December 13th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

According to the most recent issue of the Philmont Staff Association magazine:

“Although the BSA is eager to maintain this facility, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is having difficulty financing its future operations. To date, BSA volunteers have put in more than 17,400 hours of conservation work on the Double H.”

By Dan on December 18th, 2008 at 12:29 pm

I did the Double H last year after taking several groups to Philmont over the lask 14 years. It was some of the hardest hiking I have ever done but I loved every second of it. One of the comments was right, it isn’t Philmont, it is its’ own special adventure. It offered different challenges than Philmont that tested all scouts. The beauty was incredible and we shall never forget the experience. I imagined that Philmont was like that at one time when it first opened but has changed greatly over the years. Our troop planned on returning in 2011 but now we will be part of the lottery if we want to go to Philmont. Too bad something can’t be worked out so it can stay going.

By KEN on December 27th, 2008 at 5:20 am

Our troop did the Double H Trek last July and agree with Ken’s comments : This was an incredible experience for all the scouts and is very unique place . Certainly not a Philmont be any means. Extremely difficult hiking treks , very rugged , very beautiful , very majestic , and we had the best guide of all; Sean Brown , who we all trust has now been accepted to the US Naval Academy as he moves on in his life!

From all who were part of Expedition 713 BB , July 12th -July 19th we will cherish hte experience forever. This land is a gem and hope all efforts to preserve this landscape remain for a very unique High Adventure Base for the BSA.

I took a small crew to the Double H in 2007. It was a very challenging experience. My guys loved it. None of the youth had been to Philmont, so they had no comparison to make. I have been to Philmont, and I enjoyed the Double H just as much. Of course, it was hot and dry, but the nights were pleasant, and there wasn’t as much rain. Mainly, we could actually go to the Double H. Since my first lucky shot at a trek in ’98, I have tried several years for another trek without any success. I did go on a coucil contingent once and managed to score a cavalcade another time, but no luck on the troop trek.

By Ashley on July 19th, 2009 at 2:20 pm

We just got back from Double H. It was a wonderful experience and the comments from boys who have done the other high adventure programs was this was their favorite. We had an excellent guide, Brad Williams, and hope everything is done to make sure Double H remains part of the scouting high adventure programs.

By Doug on July 22nd, 2009 at 9:03 am

This is sad news. For many that have already participated in a traditional Philmont trek, Double H offered a true wilderness, no-trail, rugged, HIGH adventure. Our unit opted for the level 3 trek in 2006 and were thoroughly challenged (12 hour hike on day 2 as we “learned” accuracy w/ the topos!). Alhough Philmont is rich with tradition and adventure, some of the older Scouts and leaders looking for less traveled wildlands and more rigorous hiking could sometimes view Cimarron more as a Disneyland wilderness. I really can’t stand the heat either, but that’s what SW New Mexico IS in the summer! Complain about lack of activities? — Don’t GO to the wilderness if you expect mother nature to DO things FOR you! Que sera sera.

By Richard Lamermayer on August 11th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

I am sad to hear this news. Our troop has avoided Philmont largely because it is not as challenging or as “wilderness” as our other high adventures. The scouts who did go years back compared it to an extreme summer camp, but were frustrated by the regimented programming. Double H had the promise of bringing to a hiking program what Northern Tier has always had – a true wilderness, the ability of choose and change your course, make your own day to day decisions, and to be truly challenged. That is what makes a “high adventure” and why we had hoped to go to Double H this year or next.

By Phil on November 3rd, 2009 at 4:28 pm

The fact is that one of the earliest lessons I learned in business was that balance sheets and income statements are fiction, cash flow is reality.

By Javier on November 12th, 2009 at 11:13 am


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