This expedition challenges new and experienced backpackers alike, as the crew travels above 9,000 feet and completes high mileage days. With the help of skilled instructors, master the art of navigation and learn the skills you’ll need for independent wilderness travel. Develop a self-sufficient team in which each crew member supports one another – and helps each other face daily challenges. The length of this course, together with its single focus on backpacking, allows for longer travel distances and additional opportunities to implement feedback from instructors and crew. Return home with picturesque memories, a sense of accomplishment and the realization that indeed, there is more in you than you know.
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.
This multi-day backpacking expedition will take students into the heart of the Sierra Nevada. Here students will 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. Students will spend time hiking on and off trail, both in forested areas and in the alpine environment above tree line, often camping next to deep blue alpine lakes that offer the opportunity to swim and rinse off after a day of hiking.
In addition to technical skills, instructors will teach and facilitate the interpersonal skills needed for students to function effectively as a team, accomplish goals and tackle new challenges together every day. Challenges on course are designed to impel students toward taking calculated risks, drawing upon inner resources and developing trust in one another. One such challenge might include a peak attempt. With lighter packs, participants will start before the sun rises to summit a mountain and be rewarded with 360-degree views and an incredible sense of accomplishment.
As the course progresses and their skills and experience increase, the crew will take on more responsibility as the instructors step back. Students will eventually take over decision making on navigation, route finding, sharing of duties, campsite set up and daily routines.
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. More formal 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 learn the value of service as they see 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 which 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 is 72 hours.
This course varies in length from 14 to 22 days. On shorter courses, participants will receive an intro 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 develop technical skills, receive and implement feedback and further personal development.
The Sierra Nevada Range boasts 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. This course area allows participants to experience some of the most famous, though often underutilized, alpine climbing and backpacking routes.
As parents, we were nervous for our son based on his anxiety and the physical challenge in front of him. Despite this, he undertook a journey, which initially seemed like a small segment of his life, but turned into an evolutionary experience which, quite literally, he takes with him every day. He was instilled a willingness not to yield to physical and mental obstacles encountered, and he grew with a compassion and respect for the world and people around him. Nothing taken for granted, ever. The accomplishment and physicality didn't quite seem possible at first, but the incredible leaders and group fostered a support and encouragement he's now able to implement in his own everyday college life and engage others just like him. How is all of this possible in three weeks? He's made good decisions in his life, but when asked, he'll tell you Outward Bound was his best.
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.