This expedition includes alpine backpacking in the La Sal Mountains, canyon backpacking and canyoneering in or around Canyonlands National Park and rafting on the Colorado or the San Juan River. Ideal for motivated individuals seeking skills for a lifetime, this course combines whitewater rafting, mountaineering and the mysteries of the canyons. Start out by learning the most important elements of the wilderness lifestyle, including environmental stewardship, outdoor cooking, safety and first aid. On the river, skilled instructors teach you how to work together as you paddle as a team on rafts or sit-on-top kayaks, coordinate your positioning and spacing, and even time your strokes to help and protect each other as you go. In the mountains and the canyons, climb over high passes, descend into lush, vegetated valleys and attempt several summits, learning to rely on and help each other at every step of the way.
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.
- Build core skills: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Form a crew that supports and encourages one another, and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
- Practice Outward Bound values: Learn to incorporate Outward Bound values into everyday life by pushing your own limits and seeking challenge as an opportunity for personal growth.
- Demonstrate mastery: As the course nears the end, take on more leadership and decision-making responsibilities. Work together to apply new skills and achieve team goals during this final phase of the expedition.
- What you’ll learn: Return home a stronger, more resilient individual. Discover increased self-confidence, improved leadership, and a desire to make a difference.
Each day on the river is spent learning to recognize and navigate various obstacles and hazards in the river, and how to anticipate the forces of the current from far enough upstream. You and your companions will work to become a team, coordinating your spacing and paddle strokes. You will have an opportunity to be the captain of your raft and put to use what you’ve learned as you maneuver through adrenaline-filled rapids and flat-water sections.
In places, the canyon rims rise thousands of feet above, enclosing you in a remote world of rushing water, delicate ecosystems, and unbelievable beauty. Most courses get the opportunity to take day hikes away from the river and up to the canyon rim. These hikes provide amazing views, a change of pace and often the chance to see Native American ruins, petroglyphs, pictographs and strange but beautiful geological formations.
Canyoneering involves travel in canyons that are often narrow and steep with many obstacles to negotiate. Traveling through them requires a combination of scrambling up and down-climbing over boulders, rappelling, lowering packs and walking with packs on. This rugged, rocky terrain requires teamwork and effective decision-making. To meet the demands of technical terrain, instructors begin by teaching the foundational skills necessary for efficient travel, such as basic movement over rock.
The course begins with lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. Along the way, students learn Leave No Trace techniques; map and compass navigation; camp craft; and get a feel for the human and natural history of the area. Students wind through sage, aspen groves and above tree line to The La Sal’s highest peaks. Most importantly, students spend time in an incredible area of the desert, sleep under the stars, feel the sunshine on their face, and maybe watch a few sunsets over this simple but magical landscape.
In the mountains or on the river students spend a day experiencing the thrill and grace of rock climbing or the control and exhilaration of rappelling. This is a great opportunity for students to challenge fears and push themselves to places they never thought possible. Rock climbing/rappelling instruction is for all levels and includes basic climbing techniques, helmet and harness use, climbing commands and belaying.
The course ends with the Final Expedition, during which the team heads back into the field to put newly acquired skills into practice. Depending on the team’s ability levels, instructors step back during this section and allow the crew to take over decision-making responsibilities for navigation, time schedules, communication and general leadership.
La Sal Mountains, Utah
The La Sal Mountains are located in Southeastern Utah, right outside the sporting mecca of Moab. This range was originally named when the Spanish came through in the early 1500’s and they mistook the snow for salt. The La Sals are known for their groves of aspen, scrub oak and incredible views into Canyonlands National Park and the Four Corners area. Hidden lakes dot the landscape. Peaks in the La Sals range from 10,000 to just under 13,000 feet and include Mt. Tukuhnikivatz, Mt. Mellinthin, Mt. Waas, Mt. Tomasaki and Haystack Mountain.
Canyon Country, Utah
The most spectacular aspects of the Utah desert are hidden within its vast canyon networks, formed by millennia of wind and water. In 1869, while exploring the Green and Colorado Rivers, John Wesley Powell first described what was then the largest uncharted area in the United States: the canyon lands. Now, as then, this area is desolate, mysterious and beautiful. It is made up of fascinating geological formations: sandstone and slick rock canyons which are sculpted into a labyrinth of alcoves, rock bridges, pinnacles, buttes, box canyons, ledges and arches.
San Juan River, Utah
The San Juan River is a major tributary of the Colorado River. It flows through the deeply incised sandstone of the Colorado Plateau in many tight “goosenecks.” The San Juan is well known for archeological sites of ancient Indians: Fremont and Anasazi. Along with challenging rapids, the San Juan offers the fun boating phenomenon of “sand waves.”
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.