This 8-22-day backpacking course takes place in the Rocky Mountains and focuses on the art of traveling light, exploring the natural world and becoming a high functioning team. The bulk of the course takes place at 9000 feet or higher so students must be physically fit and ready to embrace challenge. The emphasis of this course is to teach smart and efficient backpacking and alpine travel techniques. During the course, you can expect to travel on and off trail, over wooded and alpine terrain which can be rough, steep and exposed to heights.
You will learn Leave No Trace camping and travel skills, outdoor cooking techniques, basic first-aid, map and compass use, route finding, and how to use an ice axe if necessary on your route. You will backpack up through the alpine environment and attempt a peak ascent. As the course progresses and your skills and experience increase, your instructors will turn more and more responsibility over to you and your crew.
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.
Your course will begin with lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. Along the way, you learn Leave No Trace techniques; map and compass navigation; camp craft; and get a feel for the human and natural history of the area. Backpack in the valleys and long ridges, camp in basins with views like the top of the world, and stop along the way to explore microclimates and alpine ecosystems.
Most importantly, you get to spend time in an incredible area of the mountains, sleep under the stars, feel the spring or fall sunshine on your face, and maybe watch a few sunsets over this magical landscape.
The course will end with your Final Expedition, where you and your team will head back into the field to put all your newly acquired skills into practice. Depending on your team’s ability levels, your instructors will step back during this section and allow you and your team to take over decision-making responsibilities for navigation, time schedules, communication, and general leadership.
The Rocky Mountains, one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world, stretch 3,000 miles from Alaska to New Mexico. They have provided the inspiration for legend and have had a profound influence on the development of the continental United States. It is in and around these majestic mountains that your Outward Bound Wilderness course will take place.
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.