Open to all levels of experience, this course demands a high level of motivation to tackle the rugged and challenging terrain of the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountain range. Build technical skills in navigation, route finding and setting up camp - and gain interpersonal experience as you practice sharing duties, setting daily routines and making group decisions. With ample time for training, plenty of attention from instructors and lots of opportunities to implement feedback, you’ll grow on a daily basis. Complete the expedition with a deeper understanding of strengths, a more independent and self-directed crew and a greater sense of personal empowerment.
This course is closed for the season. 2018 courses coming soon.
No two Outward Bound expeditions are ever quite the same. Every crew is unique; every route is distinct; and every adventure is dynamic. But one thing remains the same. On each course, students rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places – and find strength and determination along the way.
The course starts with several days of rock climbing where students will learn the basics of climbing technique, belaying and knots, while building trust with team members and confidence in themselves. During this section students challenge themselves physically on solid rock cliffs and push their mental strength on a free-hanging rappel with stunning views of the surrounding granite domes.
Following the climbing portion, students begin a backpacking expedition that takes them into the heart of the Sierra Nevada range. Here students learn Leave No Trace camping and travel skills, outdoor cooking techniques, map and compass use, route finding and how to set up shelters in the backcountry. They spend time hiking on and off the trail, both in forested areas and in the micro-climates of an alpine environment high above tree line. Students often camp next to icy alpine lakes that offer the opportunity to swim and rinse off after days of hiking.
In addition to technical skills, instructors teach and facilitate the interpersonal skills needed for students to function effectively as a team, accomplish goals and tackle new challenges every day. Challenges on course are designed to impel students toward taking risks, drawing upon inner resources and developing trust in one another. One such challenge might include a peak attempt. With lighter packs, participants start before the sun rises, summit a mountain and are rewarded with 360-degree views and an incredible sense of accomplishment.
Service to others and the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Designated service projects are coordinated with land managers like the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service to collaborate on land restoration projects. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home.
In order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. Within course, the solo is that opportunity; it is a chance to experience solitude in the wilderness without distraction while also taking a break from the physical rigors of course. Students are separated from their group for a period of time that depends on course length and instructor assessment of group capability. Solo sites are chosen to provide solitude. Participants have all necessary equipment, food and water. The maximum time for solo on this course is 72 hours.
This course varies in length from 14 to 22 days. On shorter courses, participants will receive an introduction to leadership skills, build strength of character and cultivate a desire to serve. With longer courses, the same outcomes and benefits are achieved with the ability to reach a more profound level of mastery as there are more opportunities to develop technical skills, receive and implement feedback and further personal development.
The Sierra Nevada Range hosts the largest continuous expanse of wilderness and some of the highest peaks in the United States. It extends over 400 miles from north to south, is 70 miles wide and is home to three national parks, 20 wilderness areas and two national monuments.
The Sierra Nevada offers fairly stable and beautiful weather. Spring can bring snow and cold temperatures. As summer advances, temperatures tend to become more moderate. Summer temperatures are in the 70s to 80s during the day and 30s to 50s in the evening. Our course area has most famous, though often underutilized, alpine climbing and backpacking routes.
"Outward Bound is an amazing experience that has been passed down through the generations of my family. My grandmother attended in 1985, my mother in 1987 and 1995, then me in 2015 and 2016. There’s nothing like coming home from Outward Bound with a newfound sense of self."
- Zeke Wagner
If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.