The majority of the expedition takes place at glacier-fed Ross Lake, which stretches for 23 miles and serves as the ideal outdoor classroom. Learn basic paddling skills that allow you to explore the surrounding wilderness and enjoy plenty of games and laughter as you hone camp craft, cooking and Leave No Trace skills. Work together as a team to travel around Ross Lake, practicing communication, leadership, followership and compassion at every step of the journey. Spend the final few days of the course at basecamp in Mazama, Washington. Surrounded by jagged peaks, learn basic rock climbing and belaying at one of our local crags.
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 begins with a two-mile hike to the lake with camp gear and food, followed by a short paddle to the first established campsite along the lake. At camp, students work as a team with the instructors to learn the art of setting up a backcountry camp. Camp skills include setting up shelters, cooking meals and helping to decide where the following days will lead. Along the way, students encounter hundreds of natural wonders, including waterfalls flowing into the lake from the glaciers above, eagles soaring overhead in search of trout and miraculously clear blue waters.
Toward the end of the course students travel to the Outward Bound basecamp, tucked in the shadow of Goat Peak in Mazama, WA. The rock climbing section takes place at climbing sites known as “Fun Rock” and “Finster’s Crag” where students learn the basics of climbing technique, belaying and knots. Rock climbing is physically, mentally and sometimes emotionally demanding. For many students, rock climbing is the high point of the course. For others, it’s a mental challenge to tackle and overcome.
Solo is an important part of the Outward Bound experience and allows students time to rest, recharge and reflect on their own development towards the end of the course. Solos may vary from a few hours up to three days depending on the length of the course, age and maturity of the students and itinerary of the expedition. During Solo, students set up their own independent campsite near their instructors and spend their time resting, writing in their journal, enjoying the quiet of the wilderness and reflecting on their experience. Instructors will check on the students throughout their Solo. For many students, Solo is both a challenge and a respite and is often a highlight of their course.
Acquire a taste for adventure. Courses shorter than two weeks in length provide a perfect introduction to the Outward Bound experience, reminding students of their connection to nature and leaving them feeling inspired to take on real challenge. Through these condensed experiences, students become more comfortable living and working together in the wilderness while practicing the values of Outward Bound. These learnings transfer easily back home, where students can build upon them and continue to grow and develop after course.
Ross Lake, Washington
Accessible only by boat or trail, this glacier-fed lake borders the dramatic Picket Mountain Range. Ross Lake extends all the way into Canada. It is nestled in the North Cascades National Park and the Pasayten Wilderness Area. Nearby Jack and Hozomeen Mountains rise 9,066 and 8,066 feet respectively, soaring up out of the lake and crowning it with jagged ridge-tops. This part of the park is commonly known as the "Alps of America" for the sheer cliff faces and deep glacially carved valleys characteristic of the European alpine environment. The area was made famous by the Beat Generation writer, Jack Kerouac whose writings were inspired by his work as a fire spotter at the Desolation Peak Lookout on the east side of Ross Lake. Temperatures typically range from freezing to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This program runs on the eastern side of the North Cascades, an area that receives significantly less rainfall than the western coast of Washington.
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.