The Northwest Sea Kayaking & Alpine Backpacking course is a multi-element expedition in the San Juan Islands and the North Cascade Mountains of Washington State. It includes two distinct expeditions - one by kayak and one on foot. Our 15-day course combines kayaking with alpine backpacking, and is less technically focused than our 22-day Sea Kayaking and Mountain Expeditions.
The Outward Bound curriculum is designed to give you greater responsibility as your skills and experience increase. Early in the course, you will learn how to paddle your sea kayak, perform self and assisted kayak rescues, plan routes and navigate on the water, set up camp and plan and cook meals. During the mountain expedition you will learn land navigation and how to travel both on and off trail in rough terrain.
In addition to technical skills, your Outward Bound instructors will teach and facilitate the interpersonal skills that will allow the group to function effectively as a team to accomplish your goals. Outward Bound courses are team environments where you and your group work closely together to travel, navigate and camp together every day. Throughout Outward Bound’s 60-year history, we strive to deliver new perspective on compassion and being of service to others.
As you near the last days of course, you and your teammates will be able to maximize your independence and decision making as your Instructors empower you to use your newly acquired confidence and skills to make the decisions that will see you through the final days of your adventure.
Each Outward Bound course in Washington includes a solo experience. Your instructors thoughtfully manage solo so that it is a time where you can relax from the physical and mental rigors of course and spend some time reflecting upon the experience. While you will be largely alone during this time, you will be camping close to the instructor basecamp and your instructors will check on you regularly. Our courses also include a service component. Service projects range widely depending on the course, but may include projects such as trail repair, removal of invasive species, assisting at our local food bank farm or doing repairs at our community non-profit nursing home.
Successful completion of your course demands mastery of skills, trust, fitness, confidence, tenacity, leadership, initiative and compassion. The promotion of these qualities and the discovery of what strength is in you is the purpose of Outward Bound.
The San Juan Islands are located between the Olympic Coast Range, Vancouver Island and the North Cascades. The combination of glaciated peaks and sparkling waters make the San Juan Islands one of the best kayaking venues in the world. Sightings of Orca whales, seals, porpoise and eagles are common. There are over 400 islands in Puget Sound that are rimmed by rugged shorelines, pristine beaches and mountains.
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. Our course area hosts some of the most famous alpine climbing and backpacking routes in the United States. Our land programs operate in the Pasayten, Sawtooth and Glacier Peak Wilderness areas on the east side of the North Cascades and receive significantly less rainfall than the western coast of Washington.
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. For full fee schedule and process, click here. Course tuitions listed do not include our application fee or transportation fee.