The Northwest Wilderness Leader Expedition is a specialized Outward Bound course in the Central Cascades, Smith Rock State Park and on the Deschutes River in Oregon. The skill sets gained on the expedition are designed to train you for an entry level job in outdoor education.
The Deschutes River in Oregon is a wild and scenic river that flows from the Oregon Cascades to the Columbia River and then to the Pacific. A popular river for both whitewater rafting and fly fishing, the river is spring fed, which results in unusually constant water flow and cold water even in the summer. Bordering one-third of the Lower Deschutes is the Warm Springs Reservation.
Courses travel 96 miles over rapids as high as Class IV. The environment is very dry and arid desert, which equals very hot summers. Wildlife in the area includes ospreys, bald eagles, deer, bighorn sheep, rattlesnakes and waterfowl such as mergansers and mallard.
The Central Cascades is home to the Three Sisters, Mount Washington and Mount Jefferson Wilderness areas. Four 10,000+ foot glaciated volcanoes are present in this course area with a total of eight major volcanoes. Courses will attempt to climb at least one peak in the area.
The west side of the range is lush, and the east side is more dry. Snow travel is definite on the Spring course and a possibility on the Fall course. Peaks include: Broken Top, South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson and The Husband.
Smith Rock is a world-renowned climbing destination that attracts climbers of all abilities from around the world. It is widely considered one of the top sport climbing areas in the country. Smith Rock is a uniquely beautiful area that commonly graces postcards and calendars. The Crooked River lazily winds its way through the canyon, cutting a path through the cliffs and spires. To the west, the snow-capped volcanoes of the Cascade Range rise on the horizon, above the flat checkerboard of irrigated plains. One of the most striking features is Monkey Face, a prominent spire that takes the shape of a monkey's face. Given the dry and temperate climate, rock climbing is feasible year round.
WILDERNESS LEADER EXPEDITION
Enhance your readiness to work in outdoor programs by participating in this extensive multi-faceted educational expedition. Develop your skills in rafting, mountaineering and rock climbing. Learn group facilitation methods and creative course planning strategies. Study risk management with groups in a variety of settings and situations, planning for and actually teaching area youth. Wilderness First Responder course included; academic credit is available.
Your group of 6 to 10 students will complete an expedition Outward Bound style, learning about wilderness education through direct experience. Your instructors and other staff will enrich your expedition with seminars and discussions about how to teach both the skills you know and those you learn, plus broader issues concerning how to manage a wilderness experience to achieve specific goals for individuals and groups.
THE OUTWARD BOUND DIFFERENCE
The wilderness inspires more than just personal introspection and a sense of awe and mystery. It can inspire leadership. If this is your calling, pursue a career in outdoor instruction through an Outward Bound instructor development course. Students are given the opportunity to thrive in genuine leadership situations and gain practical experience in leading a group toward common goals. You'll learn Outward Bound philosophy, teaching techniques and the fundamentals of experiential education. Discover first hand the power of learning by doing.
After pickup and transportation from the Nez Perce County Airport (LWS) in Lewiston, Idaho you begin the Northwest Wilderness Leader Expedition with a course overview, introductory activities and classroom lessons. Lessons and workshops throughout the course will include topics such as Outward Bound philosophy; adventure and experiential education; teaching styles and techniques; group dynamics; group facilitation and debriefing practices; leadership theory; conflict resolution; judgment and decision-making; risk management; course planning and logistics design. This phase incorporates an essential focus on judgment and risk-management.
The Northwest offers stunning course areas, and a reputation of expertise in training instructors that makes it an ideal location for a 50-day instructor course. During this course, students will have the opportunity to learn and master whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountaineering, first aid and backpacking in some of the most renowned course areas in the United States, while building the human and educational skills necessary to be an effective instructor.
All the while students are gaining their own Outward Bound experience, working in a team, pushing personal limits, and exploring personal values, students will also have the opportunity to explore how to structure this experience for others in the future. They will even have the chance to practice their skills with some students from youth organizations in the NW.
At the end of the course, students will leave with Wilderness First Responder certification; basic skills and experience in sea kayaking, light weight backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, wilderness travel, and state-of-the-art training in safety management and educational programming.
Workshops include sessions on Outward Bound philosophy; adventure and experiential education; teaching styles and techniques; group dynamics; group facilitation and debriefing practices; leadership theory; conflict resolution; judgment and decision-making; risk management; course planning; and logistics design.
River Skills I
This initial river expedition will focus on whitewater rafting skills such as river safety, strokes, ferries, eddy-turns, peel-outs, rapid swims, river reading, rope throws, river/rapid classification, rescue concepts, hydrology and group management. This expedition will also focus on establishing important group cohesion and communication skills that will serve as a foundation for the entire course. Course area will be the Deschutes River.
Rock Skills I
The next several days will focus specifically on skills associated with technical rock climbing. Topics will include knots; anchors; movement over rock; top roping; belaying; belay escapes; harnesses and other equipment; site assessment; and management and facilitation skills. Students will have ample opportunity to actively climb and improve their personal skill with various types of climbs including bouldering, face climbs, cracks and multi-pitch. Course area will be Smith Rock and rock sites at the Odin Falls basecamp.
Wilderness First Responder & CPR
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification is recognized as the standard level of expertise in backcountry first aid. Our WFR certification will be taught by professionals from the Wilderness Medical Training Center at our basecamp in Redmond, Oregon. Get your certification and develop the following skills: patient assessment; knowledge of body systems; equipment improvisation; trauma; environmental medicine; toxins; wilderness protocols; backcountry medicine; and wilderness rescue.
Rock Skills II
After a well-deserved break day, you will head back to the rock to continue with your development of technical rock climbing skills. Topics will pick up where Rock Skills I left off. Course area will be Smith Rock and rock sites at the Odin Falls basecamp.
Mountaineering/Snowshoeing/Snow Camping/Backpacking Skills
Head for the hills as the focus turns to the development of backpacking and mountaineering skills. During our spring course you will be on snowshoes and snow camping the entire time. The Fall course will have less snow on the ground Topics will include group travel; gear selection and usage; map & compass navigation; cooking; weather/hazard assessment; third class travel; snow/glacier travel and camping; group management; and facilitation skills. You will have an opportunity to complete a major summit climb, dependent on weather and group dynamics. Course area is in the Central Cascades.
River Skills II
The final expedition of your course will take you to another river to continue focus on whitewater rafting skills. Topics will pick up where River Skills I left off. Course area will likely be the Lower Salmon, Owyhee or another alternative river, depending on conditions.
Your course completes with a trip back to basecamp to focus on topics like course evaluations; how to conclude a course; tying student experiences together; culmination experiences; metaphorical necessities on an Outward Bound course; clean-up and de-issue; and complete a personal challenge event. Each student will complete a final individual development plan prior to completing the course. Transportation to the airport is provided at the conclusion of the course.
NOTE: Instructor courses are designed for those with a serious interest in a career in outdoor education. They are not interchangeable with our semester courses.
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.