Explore some of Washington’s most stunning landscapes - from the sparkling waters of the San Juan Islands to the rugged alpine peaks of the North Cascades to the rocky crags of the Mazama base camp. Learn technical skills in sailing and alpine backpacking, and practice methods of communication, conflict resolution and decision-making. Face and overcome challenges, work with the other members of your crew, and learn who you are and what you are capable of - at ever step of the journey.
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 sailing course focuses on maritime and wilderness skills such as navigation, natural history, exploring islands, and living aboard. Students explore the rugged coastlines of the San Juan Islands aboard a historic wooden “longboat” well-suited to the inland waters of the “Salish Sea.” When the wind is up, students learn how to handle the boat’s sails to skim from island to island. When the wind is calm, students put out oars and row as a team to get to where they need to go. Students learn the basics of nautical navigation through the use of charts, compasses and tide/current tables. Students plot the course of travel and learn how to live aboard a small boat with the other members of their crew. Some nights students sleep aboard the boat, and some nights they camp on shore.
During the alpine backpacking section of the course, students work together to explore the high mountain landscape of the North Cascades. Students learn the essentials of backcountry travel necessary to carry them into remote meadows and high mountain vistas, including navigation with map and compass, Leave No Trace campcraft, and backcountry cooking. Depending on the group and the conditions, students may attempt to summit one of the many rugged alpine peaks in the course area. Peak attempts often require pre-dawn starts and a high degree of personal and group tenacity.
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 longer than two weeks provide the opportunity for full immersion into the Outward Bound experience, with more time for the personal growth that comes from facing both successes and failures. Through these longer 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.
San Juan Islands, WA – Nestled between Vancouver Island and the North Cascades, the San Juan Islands are a unique coastal cruising ground with large expanses of pristine water and mountain scenery. During the journey, students encounter coastlines with a combination of sandy and rocky beaches, shallow and deep harbors, serene and reef-studded bays. Knotty, twisted madrona trees grow along much of the shorelines while evergreen fir and pine forests cover large inland areas. Sightings of harbor seals, porpoise and eagles are common as well as the occasional glimpse of an Orca whale.
The North Cascades, Washington
The North Cascades are called the “American Alps” for their rugged beauty and glaciated peaks. They remain some of the wildest and most untrammeled wilderness in the United States. The North Cascades host the greatest concentration of glaciers in the “Lower 48” and are full of high mountain meadows peppered with wild flowers. This course area hosts some of the most famous alpine climbing and backpacking routes in the United States. Backpacking programs operate in the Pasayten Wilderness, Sawtooth Wildernss, and North Cascades National Park on the east side of the North Cascades and receive significantly less rainfall than the western coast of Washington.
Mazama Basecamp, Mazama, Washington
This facility is the office and support site for all wilderness courses conducted in Washington. The rustic property is located in the Methow Valley and has on-site access to great rock climbing and backpacking.
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.