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Cornell University

Low and High Challenge Course

A team on a low element at the challenge course


Our low and high element challenge course is open from March thru Mid-November every year. 

Low Elements

In a low element program, participants engage in a series of group initiatives and challenges--unique exercises that require groups to brainstorm, plan, implement, evaluate, and improvise. Our facilitators are intentional about choosing activities that will encourage group members to practice their collaboration and leadership skills. These exercises are physically and mentally engaging, but not physically strenuous. This includes activities like balancing on a platform, walking on ropes or cables, transporting objects and solving puzzles as a group.* After each exercise, group members reflect on their experience and draw out lessons regarding trust, communication, leadership, and high-performance teamwork. These activities are conducted in a supportive environment designed to invigorate and integrate your team.  A fringe benefit is this time spent off-site with your group, enjoying a beautiful natural setting.


We have upwards of 25 low elements at our Hoffman Challenge Course facility including a Spider’s Web, Up and Over Wall, Whale Watch, Maze, Islands, and more! 


High Elements

Participants climbing up the quadraphenia element on the Hoffman Challenge CourseThis type of challenge includes the use of ropes, harnesses, and technical climbing equipment, for activities anywhere from 5 to 50 feet off the ground. Our high element challenge course gives participants a chance to stretch their comfort zone, metaphorically and physically stepping past perceived limits, and “reaching new heights” while being supported by a professional belayer and their team members. Our facilitators ensure the emotional safety of every climber, using positive encouragement that matches the individual goals of each person. For some high elements, we invite team members to assist with a group belay system which means they are responsible for physically supporting a climber. The centerpiece of the facility is a 64-foot high replica of Cornell's McGraw Tower, complete with "tree fort" platform, rappelling stations, a 400-foot double Zipline, and a 40-foot Giant Swing.  Our Hoffman Challenge Course has more than 20 high elements including Balance Beams, Leap of Faith Poles, a Flying Squirrel, Islands in the Sky and many more! 


Our Barton Hall Course on Cornell University’s East Campus has 6 high elements, including a rappelling platform, a Giant Flying Squirrel, and a balance beam integrated into the ceiling joists of this beautiful historic building. 

Participant descending from tower at ropes course, while being belayed by three people on the ground in the foreground of the image.
The dangle duo element on the tower at the Hoffman Challenge Course



*Any activity can be adapted for individuals who have physical limitations.

Click here to request a program

For more information, please reach out!