Teton Science Schools

Educating for a Vibrant World

Doug Walker Challenge Course FAQs

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How much risk taking is there? Are the activities and elements safe? What security measures are in place to ensure that no one gets hurt?

The Teton Science Schools, Inc.: Acknowledgment and Assumption of Risks & Release and Indemnity Agreements are documents which outline the inherent risks of participating in activities with Teton Science Schools including use of the Doug Walker Challenge Course.  At Teton Science Schools we practice a variety of risk management measures to mitigate the inherent risks associated with the challenge course including: thorough and ongoing training of facilitators, yearly inspections of the course by an outside organization, education of participants of risks and prevention, thoughtful progressions of activities, practicing challenge by choice, and using safety gear including helmets and harnesses on high elements.

What are low elements and high elements on the challenge course?

 The high elements on the Doug Walker Challenge Course are roughly 30-40 feet above ground.  Participants wearing a seat harness and a helmet are connected to a rope and belayed on the course by a facilitator.  The low elements are only 2-3 feet above ground and participants use spotting to prevent each other from falling to the ground.

What is a challenge course?

A challenge course is composed of a series of obstacles that are constructed primarily of ropes, cables, and wood.  Challenge courses are designed as unique educational resources which engage people in a number of activities that promote teamwork, group problem solving, effective communication, as well as many other important skills.  The Doug Walker Challenge Course is a custom-built course which includes low and high elements.  It is used as a venue to help groups work more effectively together and to help individuals develop self-awareness.  However, at Teton Science Schools we also use our course to teach about the many facets of science!

What should I bring?

 Participants are required to wear close-toed shoes in order to use the challenge course.   Appropriate dress is dependent on the season.  Even during summer months we encourage you to bring a warm layer because the challenge course is often shaded and cool.  During colder months we encourage participants to wear several layers.  This allows the freedom of taking layers off if you are too warm and adding layers on if you are cold.  Please refer to the “packing list” below:

Packing List
  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Sack lunch/snacks (if desired)
  • Camera (if desired)
  • Close-toed shoes
  • Gloves (winter/fall)
  • Sunscreen
  • Medications (if needed)
  • Warm hat (winter/fall)
  • Warm layer(s)
  • Waterproof layer (if precipitation is forecasted)
  • A smile and a good attitude!


Who is the ideal challenge course participant? Are there any physical/mental requirements to use the challenge course?

Nearly all individuals can have a profound experience on a challenge course.  There are certainly particular elements which require more physical effort than others – primarily the high ropes.  The staff at Teton Science Schools will customize a progression to meet the goals and abilities of your group.  Some of our elements are also wheelchair accessible – including the zip wire. 

Why should our group use the challenge course?

 Using the Doug Walker Challenge Course can meet a variety of educational and developmental goals.  Our challenge course is a very effective tool which caters well to groups of all ages, sizes, and dynamics.  Common outcomes from using the course include enhancement of cooperation/teamwork, decision making, goal setting, trust, self-esteem, leadership, communication, and group problem solving. In addition, at Teton Science Schools we dedicate equal focus to using our challenge course as a resource to meet science education goals as well.

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