The Complex is comprised of a low and high ropes course that has been in operation since May of 2004 and a Leadership Reaction Course completed in February 2006. These state-of-the-art courses permits individuals as well as groups to learn and practice leadership that is anchored in experience and challenge. Every staff and cadet facilitator who works on the NMMI ropes course is fully competent in safety and proper use of the equipment and events—each is certified as a competent facilitator through the national Association of Challenge Course Technology (ACCT), and is current in first aid and CPR as certified by the American Red Cross.

In general, ropes course activities are adaptable to a variety of individuals and groups at all levels of physical ability. The NMMI Ropes Course utilizes specific activities and exercises to help teams build cohesion and work through common group issues.

On the Ropes Course, the growth in self-discovery and self-confidence begins with an atmosphere of support, acceptance, caring and trust among teammates. Each person makes his/her own decisions and commitments regarding their level of participation for each activity. Participants are encouraged throughout the program to set their own goals and while still remaining part of the team. No extraordinary strength or skills are required to take participate - all you need is a willingness to work with others and an open mind.

Cooperative Games and the Low Course

Cooperative games and the low ropes course provide opportunities for fun, physical fitness and challenge in a group setting. Cooperative games are used to challenge a group's ability to communicate with each other, follow directions and work together as a team. The low ropes course is a series of activities requiring mutual support and cooperation for success. The course consists of various elements constructed from poles, cables, and ropes which are 1 - 12 feet off the ground. Participants gain insight into their inter-personal strengths and weaknesses and gain valuable group and personal experiences.

The High Course

High Ropes activities usually challenge a participant’s agility at heights of no more than 50 feet and involve a form of belay or safety rope. High Ropes activities tend to focus on confronting one's fears, emotional self-management, self-confidence, risk-taking, etc. Some High Ropes activities require pairs of people to climb together and help one another. High Ropes activities often involve participants who are not climbing to take responsibility for belaying, communication and supporting someone else who is climbing. In this way, High Ropes courses can also be used to develop compassion, empathy, communication and cooperation amongst group members.

The Leadership Reaction Course (LRC)

The LRC is an outdoor adventure-based learning facility. Nine structured "leadership challenges" encourages participants to think, react, work as a team and solve problems in a determined period of time. Leaders receive a mission, brainstorm, execute, and readjust their plans to complete their mission under a time restraint.The obstacles themselves present a fun, challenging and unique learning environment, with mental and physical obstacles that can only be overcome with leadership and teamwork.


While the activities may be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging, ropes course safety studies have them to be one of the safest outdoor activities. Statistics show injuries are far more prevalent in more conventional recreational activities such as soccer, basketball, and even backpacking. All activities are conducted in a manner consistent with the ACCT Challenge Course Standards. Every participant is taught safety techniques on the low course, is harnessed and secured to a safety line (belay) during the high course, and each participant is under the careful supervision of an experienced facilitator who is trained in conducting all events in a manner compliant fully with ACCT safety standards.

NMMI will provide all equipment necessary to allow you to have a rewarding experience. You need to provide only personal equipment, as outlined below, a willingness to try new things and a positive attitude. In preparing for the course, here are some things to consider:


Please dress appropriately for the outside weather, typically loose comfortable clothing. There is a good possibility that you could get dirty during the day. Please wear clothing and shoes that you will not mind scuffing up a bit. We recommend the "layered" approach for all pants or shirts in order to adjust to weather conditions We generally plan on continuing your experience in most weather conditions, and bringing a rain jacket is recommended.

Closed-toe footwear is required, such as comfortable running or tennis shoes, hiking boots or combat boots.  Please do not bring any sandals or open toes shoes, such as sandals, flip-flops.


Summer Months

Winter Months

  • All shirts must be worn to where they can be tucked in at the waist
  • A heavy jacket is strongly recommended that will protect you from the wind and resist rain
  • A rain jacket – just in case
  • Long pants are a must, no shorts please
  • We would recommend that every one wear loose fitting long pants, as opposed to shorts.
  • Gloves and ski hats, Ear-gloves or gaiters, baseball hat (only type that fits under the helmets), and neck gaiter are also recommended.


  • Boots or sneakers with wool/or poly-propylene socks are also important.



Jewelry such as large rings, ear rings anything with sharp edges should be left at home, as we ask that they be removed before going out to the course. Wristwatches that are snug fitting are acceptable. 


Regardless of the season, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a baseball hat/visor are very important to protect participants from the elements. Clothing should be, comfortable, Participants must also bring a refillable, non-breakable personal water bottle containing at least twelve ounces of water – the supply can be replenished while on the course. Take any precautions that you would normally take when participating in outdoor activities to protect your eyes and your glasses and contact lenses.

Prohibited Items

Alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, and weapons are strictly prohibited at NMMI. While we do not allow food or beverages (such as gum or candy) other than water on the course, participants who may require nutrition at a specific time during the time on the course will be permitted.



For more information or questions, please feel free to contact the NMMI Yates’ Leadership Challenge Course Manager at

Phone (575)624-8139

email at evertson@nmmi.edu.