Participants will journey deep into the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, backpacking and rock climbing through some of the world’s oldest mountains, home to hundreds of waterfalls, over a million acres of national forest, park and public land, unique rock formations, and the highest peaks in the Eastern United States.
During this course, students will spend most of their time backpacking over varied terrain but there will be ample breaks and time to enjoy the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the company of the crew. This course also allows for a rock climbing portion that helps break up the on-foot expedition days. In addition to learning new skills in backcountry travel and climbing, participants will also develop confidence, teamwork and leadership skills while working together with their group to meet daily goals.
Outward Bound Classic expeditions traverse some of the wildest, most rugged, awe-inspiring landscapes in the world. Our students work for every technicolor sunset; every super-fresh morning; every breathtaking vista. And when they arrive at their destination, and pause to take it all in, they know, without a doubt, that they earned their place there. By the time they finally drift to sleep, our students have put in a full day of moving their bodies, learning, cooperating as a team, puzzling through problems, and digging deep to find what really lies within – always, inevitably, more than they know.
Although each expedition is unique, certain key components are a part of every Outward Bound Classic Expedition. The expedition begins with hands-on, progressive training in a variety of expedition and personal skills. As students learn to cook, sleep, stay warm, navigate and select routes together, crew members not only do their part; they also take turns leading and following. The idea that students are “crew, not passengers” is central to the Outward Bound learning approach. Wilderness living does not encourage students to contribute to the group; it requires it. After all, on an Outward Bound expedition, awareness of others is not optional; it is necessary for success.
Throughout the expedition, students build, practice, and reflect on skills, conduct service projects and also tackle at least one challenge element - rock climbing, a peak ascent or a big whitewater day - that pushes them to find undiscovered strength. During the expedition's final phase, students experience a rare gift and highlight of the course: time to think and reflect on the Solo. With sufficient food, equipment and skills, individuals spend three hours to three days alone at an assigned campsite – with Instructors periodically checking in on them. As the course nears the end, Instructors may gradually transfer leadership responsibilities to the students, culminating with a Final Expedition. During the Final Expedition, students work as a team and utilize the skills they have acquired to solve problems and make group decisions, while Instructors maintain overall risk-management for the group with check-ins and advanced scouting.
During this course, students will backpack in Pisgah National Forest learning safety precautions for backcountry foot travel, how to find campsites, how to navigate varied terrain, how to use a map and compass, as well as how to do these activities responsibly using Leave No Trace principles. Equally important will be time spent learning conflict resolution, communication styles, leadership and team building. After practicing these skills, the instructors will step back and let the crew work together to collectively navigate through the wilderness.
After having backpacked for a few days, students will spend a few days either climbing up a rock face or rappelling down one. Depending on weather and group dynamics, the crew may even have the opportunity to experience a high ropes obstacle course. These activities will push students to step outside their comfort zones to communicate and trust one another. With a focus on safety, this course activity will start with the basics, such as working with ropes and learning to tie knots.
Blue Ridge Mountains, NC
The Southern Appalachians, which include the Blue Ridge Mountains, are some of the oldest in the world and the birthplace of the North Carolina Outward Bound School. Western North Carolina is home to hundreds of waterfalls, over a million acres of national forests, park and public land, unique flora and fauna, rushing rivers and some of the highest peaks in the Eastern United States (the highest being Mt. Mitchell, 6,684 ft.) Because of its diverse and beautiful landscapes the Southern Appalachians have appeared in many motion pictures like The Hunger Games, Last of the Mohicans, The Fugitive, Dirty Dancing and Patch Adams.
Because the Appalachians were once one of the largest mountain ranges in the world, (during the Ordovician Period) they have many different geologic landforms, climates and soils. This long evolutionary history and temperate climate create an area which is teaming with life. Participants can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 different kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 different types of birds and about 40 species of amphibians.
Temperatures in this area range from 50-85 degrees in the summer, 30-65 degrees in the spring and fall, and 10-50 degrees in the winter.
To apply for this course click the apply button next to the course dates that work for you. The non-refundable application fee of $125 is due at the time of application. Course tuitions listed do not include our application fee or transportation fee. For full fee schedule and process, click here. You can also call one of our expert Admissions Advisors at 866-467-7651.