Earn Class Credit Through Mountain Challenge Programming

Mountain Challenge is one of the first organizations with whom Maryville College students interact. After moving in, students spend their first week of college climbing the infamous 60-foot Alpine Tower behind Crawford House, working as a team on a low ropes course in the College Woods and paddling on one of the area’s many local lakes. 

For many students, this orientation experience sticks with them as they navigate their four years at Maryville College. What many students don’t know is that they can actually earn their first college credit playing outside with Mountain Challenge during orientation week.

After completing traditional orientation activities, students receive one “PHR” credit on their transcript. This credit takes the form of a one credit hour class, and is applied towards the required hours needed for graduation. PHR credits are flexible, and especially helpful when students with heavy workloads need an extra credit to remain registered full-time.

Students can continue to earn college credit with Mountain Challenge throughout their freshman year and beyond. In fact, students can earn up to three one-hour PHR credits through Mountain Challenge.

Students earn these credits by staying involved with Mountain Challenge throughout their four years at the college. As per the Mountain Challenge website, for every 20 hours spent participating in Mountain Challenge activities, a student earns one PHR credit. There is an abundance of activities that students can partake in to achieve these hours.

According to the Maryville College website, “Many of the events in the Mountain Challenge program require neither experience nor special equipment. The only requirements for these events are a willingness to try new experiences and a commitment to do your best.” 

One way that students can log Mountain Challenge activity hours is through Camp 4. At Crawford House every Wuesday, the tower is open for students to climb from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. From 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., students can participate in “strength and stretch” on the deck behind the Alpine Tower, and finish with yoga from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. 

Camp 4 is free to students and costs $10 for community members. According to Tyson Murphy, program manager of Mountain Challenge, students simply need to check in at the front table and check out when they leave. Mountain Challenge then logs these hours in a database over the course of a student’s four years at Maryville. 

Freshman Sami Sasinouski and Sophmore Kaitlin Koster play in Spruce Flats Falls during a Mountain Challenge open trip. Photo courtesy of Lauren Huffstetler.

Students can also participate in Mountain Challenge’s abundance of “open trips.” Mountain Challenge open trips are generally free for MC students and are offered to community members for a small fee—usually a few dollars. 

Mountain Challenge publishes open trip offerings, along with the estimated hours of each trip on their website, www.mtnchallenge.com. To participate in these excursions, students simply need to sign up with the clipboard located on the front porch of Crawford House. 

Coming up in October, Mountain Challenge will offer a rock climbing trip on October 15 and a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains on October 29. In November, they will offer a hike on the Green River on the 5th, along with yoga at Crawford House and a walk in the College Woods. On the 12th, a rock climbing trip will be offered, and on November 19, students can go on a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Tyson Murphy pointed out that much of our participation in outdoor activities is dependent on the seasons. He shared that people tend to go outside when the weather is nice, and that people are starting to take advantage of the fall weather we are experiencing. He advised that as the weather chills this fall and winter, not to discount the opportunity to earn class credit. Mountain Challenge offers Camp 4 and their open trips all year long. 

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