This expedition is your opportunity to explore dense boreal forests, pristine mountain lakes, stunning waterfalls and climactic mountaintop vistas. Greet the sunrise over Lake Superior each morning, and spend evenings cooking meals in the wilderness, huddled with your crew around a crackling fire. Learn technical skills in safe wilderness travel, including backpacking techniques, navigation, water purification, campsite selection, fire building and Leave No Trace methods. In addition to gaining useful technical skills, you’ll also be developing essential life skills and building strength of character.
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 expedition hits the ground running, as students start hiking on day one and spend eight to nine days in the Sawtooth Mountains. Equipped with everything they need, students hike three to 10 miles a day, depending on terrain and tend to camp near remote rivers and lakes. Each student’s backpack transforms from a heavy burden to carry to an organized system that provides the freedom to trek unassisted from the outside world.
Individual students come together to form an expedition crew as they master skills including wilderness travel, leadership, and teamwork. As the expedition progresses and students’ skills increase, they have the opportunity to take more ownership over the expedition, including group leadership, route selection, navigation and campsite set up. This intentional progression provides the crew with the opportunity to support each other as they decide where this adventure will take them.
Rock climbing combines control, strength and cunning as students ascend natural rock formations at Carlton Peak and Shovel Point. Each climbing site provides a variety of routes including cracks, sheer faces and chimneys, which provide the appropriate amount of challenge regardless of past experience. Students receive instruction in rock climbing equipment, safety and etiquette, belaying, climbing techniques and rappelling.
Climbing is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one, requiring students to stretch their comfort zone and believe in themselves. Encouraged and supported by their group in a non-competitive environment, students push past their perceived limits as they work towards the top of the climb. The stunning views from the top provide a visual reminder of the perceived barriers students overcame through the experience. Weather and time permitting, students have the opportunity to climb at the beginning and end of this expedition. Multiple climbing opportunities allow students to work towards mastery.
Weather and time permitting, a two- to four-hour solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. Many students use this reflection time to journal or write letters to friends and family. While students spend the majority of their solo time alone, Instructors do check on each student as often as needed to ensure that each student feels safe and comfortable.
Instructors choose solo sites to offer as much solitude as possible while retaining some proximity to the group. Students find that solo provokes profound and powerful learning in a short period of time and often becomes one of the most memorable parts of their Outward Bound experience.
Middle school students will build confidence by working on an “I can do it” attitude; gain an identity by realizing the strengths they have in taking responsibility; and know they belong to their crew. Students will build a strong team as they attain specific daily goals; each team member has a specific leadership role, ensuring all contribute to the group's success. They will leave course knowing “we did it together!” Students will learn the meaning of being “crew, not passengers” as they exhibit and practice compassion toward each other and the environment.
Early high school students will experience a sense of accomplishment as they learn about perseverance (or grit), risk taking, self-identity and self-reliance. Students will identify positive personal traits, learn to trust themselves, and push themselves harder as they own their choices and advance toward mastery in their skill development. Group adversity will teach each student critical thinking skills, collaboration and decision-making skills. They will witness leadership in action as they observe their potential become reality, and exhibit empathy and compassion towards others.
Regardless of course type, students can expect to get comfortable living and working together in the wilderness while creating a solid foundation of skill sets they can continue to build on after course.
Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota
On the southern edge of the massive Canadian Shield (a granite rock formation that runs from Minnesota all the way to Hudson Bay and the Northwest Territories) sits the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior.
Along the crest of the low mountains that border Superior’s rugged north shore sits the Superior Hiking Trail. Students backpack and camp along the trail throughout the course surrounded by majestic state and national forests. Near the southern terminus of the trail, the topography reaches its most dramatic at a peninsula called Shovel Point. Vertical granite cliffs that rise 100 feet straight out of the lake provide an incredible backdrop for students while they learn to rock climb as the culmination of the expedition. The trail travels over peaks with great views of the lake and down into the valleys through areas where students discover beaver dams, young forests, and rivers that pour into massive Lake Superior.
“I believe my daughter has more confidence in herself and has shown more compassion toward her brother and sisters as result of participating in Outward Bound.” – Parent
"Outward Bound was something completely new to him. Having never camped, he learned a lot about living in the wilderness. He has always been socially aware, but now he is more environmentally aware. It was tough, but he loved it!” – Parent
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.