First Descents Adds Camps for Climbing and Surfing

Apr 4, 2011
Outside Magazine

Outdoor camp First Descents has released a 2011 camp schedule packed with new adventure opportunities. Founded in 2000 by pro kayaker Brad Ludden, First Descents brings outdoor adventure to young adults battling cancer. The week-long adventures focus on allowing the cancer survivors to experience the thrill of conquering new challenges and enjoying a week of nature.  

Inspired by his own adventures, Brad Ludden, began the non-profit at the age of 18, and it rapidly turned into a full time job. What started with 10 young cancer survivors paddling the rivers of Colorado, has expanded to seven states. This year First Descents has expanded further, offering 27 programs ranging from climbing in Estes Park, CO, to surfing in Santa Barbara, CA, to kayaking in Vail, CO.

The campers work at their own pace, some hang out with new friends while others may conquer class III rapids by the end of the week.

"Learning to kayak is a really challenging mind and body experience," Ludden said. "Kayaking treats everyone the same. From the staff to the campers, it doesn't care who has had cancer and who hasn't. We don't make the rocks softer or the water warmer just because you've had cancer."

--Ali Taylor Lange

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