General Instructions

Applies to Boy Scout and Venturer Awards


The High Adventure Team is chartered with the responsibility to conduct training courses to provide an awareness of the various aspects of High Adventure activities. This awareness allows maximum participation within safe and acceptable limits. Knowledge can often insure success, completion, and enjoyment and prevent tragedy and misery. In addition, to help promote the various High Adventure activities, an awards program was created to recognize various accomplishments. It is the intent of the various council’s High Adventure teams to standardize the GENERAL REQUIREMENTS to avoid confusion. Specific requirements will henceforth be included with the specific awards, i.e. distances, hiking hours, conservation hours, conditioning requirements, etc.


Changes, exceptions, modifications, or waivers of any High Adventure Award requirements shall be made only in advance of the outing and in writing by the High Adventure Team of the council sponsoring the award. They shall not be made by any other person, including professional Scouters, council employees, or volunteer Scouters.


No High Adventure Award shall be given, otherwise made available, to any person who has not completed all of the requirements for the award, including these GENERAL REQUIREMENTS. The awards described in this booklet are often in form of general information only. It is suggested that participants contact the Council issuing the award for complete and current information BEFORE attempting to complete the requirements. Many awards have additional maps, brochures, and help aids that are necessary supplements to the requirements.


Only currently registered members of the Boy Scouts of America are eligible to receive High Adventure Awards.


Awards may be earned only on scheduled outings of registered units, or a District or Council function.


Generally, only one award may be earned for one outing, unless otherwise stated in writing in the award requirements. Example: The San Diego Council “High Sierra Indicator Segments” are designator segments for use with other awards. The Western L.A. Council “14,495 Club” Mount Whitney climb may be earned individually or as part of a long term backpack trip in conjunction with another award, and the various Trailsaver Awards may be earned in addition to hiking awards. The awards specifically contained in this book, High Adventure Awards for Scouts and Venturers, are only available to registered Boy Scouts and Venturer Scouts and in specific cases, Girl Scouts.


A Local Tour Permit, BSA Form 4426, issued by the local Council, is required if the distance is less than 500 miles and the trip is within the North American Continent, including Canada and Mexico. A National Tour Permit, BSA Form 4419, issued by the Western Region, is required if the tour is 500 miles or over or if the tour is in a foreign country. Applications for both tour permits are to be submitted in advance in accordance with the local Council procedures. A tour permit number is required with all award applications. Some Councils require additional permits which must also be obtained.


When/where other permits/requirements are necessary they must be obtained for the trip in order to be eligible for High Adventure Awards. These are “Wilderness”, “Dispersed Area”, “Use”, “Primitive Area”, “National Park”, “Camping”, “Fire”, “State Park” permits. It is the intent that units meet and comply with the various Agency Requirements for a particular area.


At least two (2) adult leaders, one of whom must be 21 years or older, and a minimum of four (4) persons per trip is required to be eligible for a High Adventure Award. Minimum High Adventure Training requirements will be included in specific award descriptions. At least one (1) adult with the group taking the trip SHALL have at least 7 hours of training that included First Aid and CPR as a minimum. Courses offered by private corporations not issuing American Heart, American Red Cross, or National Safety Council cards are not acceptable. For those trips where “Safety Afloat” is applicable, the CPR requirement will be met.

Currently practicing emergency room physicians and nurses, registered nurses, pediatricians, and family practitioners who regularly rotate through Emergency Room/Urgent Care services, qualified EMT’s, Paramedics, Ski Patrol, Mountain Search & Rescue personnel and most law enforcement personnel are, by the nature of their jobs, qualified and should be exempt from holding additional First Aid/CPR cards.


Leaders should be familiar with the B.S.A. Outdoor Skills Manuals, the San Diego County Council Trek Aids, Los Angeles Area Council Hike Aids and other current High Adventure literature. Familiarity with the new BSA Field Book, similar literature is encouraged.


The High Adventure Award Form must be filled in completely before submitting it to the High Adventure Team approval person for review and approval. All High Adventure Awards must include a complete and approved High Adventure Award Application. Awards can be ordered through your Local Council Scout Shop or the Council sponsoring the award. If you have questions about any specific award, contact the appropriate Council H.A.T. Chairman listed in the INDEX.


A signed Parent Consent Form and Medical Release Form is required for each youth (under 18) going on the trip. It is the policy of the Boy Scouts of America that trips and outings NEVER be lead by only one adult. At least two (2) adult leaders, one of whom must be 21 years or older, are required for all trips or outings. The “Safety Rule of Four” requires that no fewer than four individuals (always with a minimum of two adults) go on any backpacking expedition. If an accident occurs, one person always stays with the injured and two go for help. Additional adult leadership requirements (i.e. training) must reflect an awareness of such factors as size and/or skill level of the group, anticipated environmental conditions, and overall degree of challenge. No pets, firearms, alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or non-prescription drugs are allowed with any participant on the trip. EXCEPTIONS: Seeing Eye Dogs. Each participant, including adults, must have an appropriate medical exam within twelve (12) months prior to a long term trip, or shorter period if listed as a specific requirement for an award. Evidence must be shown if requested.


If a specific award requires a conservation project, the project must be accomplished prior to receiving the award. It should be authorized prior to work commencement and signed off upon completion by a representative for the Agency for which the work was accomplished.


These requirements are intended for Boy Scouts, Venturer Scouts, and, where applicable, Girl Scouts.


Venturer Scouts are encouraged to participate in short-term (less than 6 days) and long-term (6 or more days) camps as well as wilderness expeditions and tours to develop skills essential to living in a primitive setting. Scouting provides High Adventure programs for this purpose.


National Policy is currently in effect in many Councils participating in the awards program outlined in this booklet. Check with your local Council for current Council policy.

Tour permits will be issued only to those leaders that have successfully completed the Youth Protection Course.

The designated Trek Leader must have completed the Youth Protection Course.

Santa Barbara Service Center

Main Administrative Office
4000 Modoc Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93110
Office: (805) 967-0105
Fax: (805) 967-5094
Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 12:00 Noon, 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm.  

Closed Saturday & Sunday

San Luis Obispo Service Center

712 Fiero Ln. #29
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

(805) 439-2885
(805) 439-2885

Tuesday 7:00 am – 3:00 pm

Wednesday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Thursday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Saturday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday, Monday – Closed


    Santa Barbara Service Center

Main Administrative Office

4000 Modoc Road

Santa Barbara, CA 93110

Office: (805) 967-0105

Fax: (805) 967-5094

Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Monday thru Friday

– Curbside pickup or ship only –


Closed Saturday & Sunday


San Luis Obispo Service Centero COVID-19

712 Fiero Ln. #29
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Office: (805) 439-2885

Temporarily closed due to COVID-19