World-class fun awaits at the Summit’s Paul R. Christen High Adventure Base

High-Adventure Week is a once-a-year Bryan on Scouting event that celebrates the once-in-a-lifetime experiences offered at the BSA’s four national high-adventure bases.

High-Adventure-Week-2015---ChristenThe Summit Bechtel Reserve zipped into Scouting fame as host of the 2013 National Jamboree.

But jamborees, great as they are, offer only a fraction of the fun available at SBR.

Say hello to the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. The name is long, and so is the list of activities awaiting Scouts and Venturers.

I’m talking whitewater rafting, archery, climbing, skateboarding, canopy tours, zip lining, mountain biking, kayaking, shooting sports, hiking and more.

Summit-Beth-Wald-1The Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base is the newest jewel in the BSA’s crown, and this West Virginia wonderland offers the biggest concentration of high-adventure activities on the planet. There’s seriously something for everyone, and spaces for 2016 are still available — seriously! In fact, if you register for the 2016 season by Nov. 30, 2015, you’ll receive up to a 15 percent discount on camp fees.

The fun at the Paul R. Christen base comes in three flavors:

  • Summit Experience: Try all nine activities offered at the Paul R. Christen base.
  • Focused Programs: Become a master at one of these seven program areas: The River, The Marksman, Helmets & Harnesses, Ramps & Rails, Berms & Bars, Tires & Trails and Summit Trail Crew.
  • Advanced Programs: Get the best-available training and practice in Mountain Biking, Kayaking and Climbing.

Participants attend the Paul R. Christen base with their crew, but each attendee can choose his or her own program area. This is an acknowledgment that not everyone in your troop, team, post, ship or crew has the same interests or abilities.

Two things everyone who attends the Paul R. Christen base gets to do: Complete a service project and ride the 3,100-foot “Big Zip,” the zip line that’s already a legend at SBR.

Summit-Beth-Wald-3Other Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base news worth reading

  • There’s no maximum crew size at the Paul R. Christen base, but there is a minimum: you must have seven crew members (two adults, five youth) to attend.
  • As mentioned, crew members may choose different programs. When the crew splits up like that, members join program patrols consisting of youth who have selected the same activity. They camp with their unit but participate in daily activity with the programs patrol. Sounds like a great way to meet fellow Scouts and Venturers from across the country!
  • To participate, you must be 13 years old by Sept. 1 of the year of attendance. Some programs have different age requirements, so check the website for details.
  • Not into high adventure? Look into the James C. Justice National Scout Camp and John D. Tickle National Training and Leadership Center, also at SBR.
  • Be sure you mark your calendars for the 2017 National Jamboree (July 19 to 28) and 2019 World Jamboree (July 22 to Aug. 2).

How to register and learn more

Visit the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base website or call 304-465-2800.

Photos by Beth Wald. Thanks to the Summit’s Matt Monroe for the info.


  1. if you are even slightly thinking about going. GO! we had two crews go last summer ’15 and all the Scouts and Scouters would want to go back. Plus from a scouter that has gone to all the HA bases: this trip is quite easy, easy to have Great Fun (full range of challenges easy to significant), easy to travel to, easy to choicchose your own interests, easy to be busy non stop at your own pace, easy for the scouts to bond/lead themselves.

  2. I don’t mean to disrespect a generous donor, but the name’s not rolling off the tongue like the other bases.

    Maybe “Christenpark?”

    Okay *I* didn’t say that I had the best nickname for it. But, maybe over the next year or so, the base could collect ideas from participants. They’ve experienced it, maybe they can boil it down into fewer-than-four syllables that captures the soul of this base.

    At the very least, can the site have an easy-to-find bio of its namesake?

    • We’ve heard for short, Christen High Adventure Base. It’s not simply “The Summit”, as it is a large facility with many separate components (summer camp, Jamboree, training center, high adventure base, etc.).

      Paul R. Christen is not just a generous donor, but a long time supporter of Scouting and high adventure. He served as Council President of the Pheasant Council, and followed in the footsteps of the first Chairman of Region Ten, Charles L. Sommers, as the final Chairman (when Region Ten was consolidated). One of his most significant accomplishments was to solidify the future of the Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base (Northern Tier) as it transitioned to a National High Adventure Base in 1971.

  3. Well, it can get complicated. The Bechtel Family Summit Scout Reservation holds several opportunities within it’s borders….

Join the conversation