Everest – Team Building Activity



Overview: Using the materials provided, each team must construct a source of shelter. During the challenge, each of the team members (except for one group leader) will be blindfolded. The group leader (who is not blindfolded), is not permitted to physically touch the construction. The shelter must be large enough for two team members to fit inside. The team must rely on their communication skills to overcome their physical restrictions to build the shelter.

This is an excellent activity for developing communication skills, problem solving, time management, and creative thinking.

Equipment Required: You may use a variety of supplies for construction materials.

Some suggestions:

  • multiple (flattened) cardboard boxes per team
  • cardstock paper
  • plastic or cloth tablecloths
  • aluminum foil
  • duct tape or masking tape
  • rubber bands.

Other Essential Resources: bandanas (blindfolds), box fan(s), extension cord if needed.

Space Required: Medium. Indoors or outdoors.

Group Size: 4 to 5 People.

Total Time: 45 minutes

  • 5 minutes to brief and distribute materials
  • 5 minutes for the teams to brainstorm
  • 30 minutes to complete the build
  • 5 minutes to review


1. Before the start of the activity, risk assess the area and remove any potential hazards.

2. Divide the group into teams of 4-5 people.

3. Explain the following scenario to the group:
“You and each of your team members are mountain climbers traveling to the summit of Mount Everest! A treacherous storm is approaching, and each team must construct a shelter to house at least two of your team members. Teams may only use the provided materials. Each team must elect a group leader to guide the trek. The group leader’s hands are severely frostbitten so they cannot physically aid in the construction of the shelter, they may only direct. On the other hand, whiteout conditions are blinding the rest of the team members, so they are unable to see the construction of the shelter and will be blindfolded. Each team will have 5 minutes to practice and 30 minutes to construct the shelter. When time is up, we will see which shelter can withstand the “winds of the storm”. At this point I will power on the box fans and challenge each team’s work.”

4. Distribute materials to each team.

5. Give the teams 5 minutes to brainstorm, elect a group leader, and blindfold the rest of the team.

6. Allow the teams to construct the shelter for 30 minutes. Let the teams know how much time is remaining (when they have 15 minutes remaining, 5 minutes remaining, and a two-minute warning).

7. At the end of the 30 minutes, power up the electric fan to see which shelter can withstand the winds of the storm.

8. Debrief the challenge.

Learning Outcomes:

  • problem solving
  • team communication
  • creative thinking
  • cooperation
  • leadership
  • time Management
  • trust

Useful Tips: To make this activity less challenging, you may let each team start with two group leaders who are not blindfolded. You may also let the teams start with one group leader and allow them to elect a second group leader at the half-way point. The addition of a second group leader will allow a second team member to gain leadership experience.

Suggested Review Questions:

  • What did you find most difficult about this challenge?
  • Did you come up with a strategy before starting the challenge?
  • Did your strategy work? If not, why not? How did you respond to this?
  • How did you feel being blindfolded?
  • How did the group leader feel not being able to physically help?
  • Did you miscommunicate at any point during the challenge?
  • How did you get back on track?
  • Overall how well do you feel you worked as a team? What did you do well? What could you improve?
  • Did you delegate based on strengths and weaknesses?
  • Looking back on the challenge, what is one thing you can take away from it?