Start by learning the basics, and then progress quickly as a paddler. The expedition offers a unique, immersive learning environment – an extremely practical setting for learning advanced paddle strokes, rescue techniques and marine natural history. Work together as a motivated, goal-oriented, cohesive team as you move from island to island, pack for expeditionary travel, build camp and cook using Leave No Trace ethics. All this learning transfers well into the North Cascades, where you’ll trade your charts for maps and learn mountain navigation. Enjoy rugged scenery as you travel on and off the trail, explore fir forest valleys and high wildflower meadows and scramble to rocky summits.
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.
Students seek out beaches where they sleep under the stars and get acquainted with the fascinating natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest coast. Instructors teach students the teamwork and communication skills necessary to travel as a group of kayaks in a working waterway. Students may also have the opportunity to do a service project with a local land agency, hike to an island vista or just comb the beach.
During the backpacking section the students are transported to the North Cascades, where they hike into the Sawtooth, Pasayten, or Glacier Peak Wilderness areas. They travel with backpacks on and off trail through rugged mountain terrain. The overall technical emphasis of this section is to learn backpacking skills, Leave No Trace methods, and develop navigation and camp-craft skills. Leadership, communication, and responsibility continue to develop as students prepare for the “final expedition.” Our 15-day courses tend to focus on navigation, wilderness travel and backpacking skills.
The course includes at least one peak attempt, depending upon the weather and the students’ physical preparedness. Peak attempts are day-long enterprises often entailing pre-dawn starts. Successful peak climbs require patience, efficiency and teamwork to attain the summit. On 22-day courses they frequently involve roped climbing on snow and/or rock, utilizing technical mountaineering skills.
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 two weeks and longer 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, Puget Sound, Washington
Nestled between Vancouver Island and the North Cascades, the San Juan Islands are a unique coastal cruising ground with large expanses of sparkling water and mountain scenery. Students encounter coastlines with a combination of sandy and rocky beaches, shallow and deep harbors, placid 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 islands get less average rainfall than the surrounding area due to the rain-shadow effect of the Olympic Mountains. Summertime high temperatures are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit while lows could be in the 40’s.
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 and North Cascades National Park on the east side of the North Cascades and receive significantly less rainfall than the western coast of Washington. Early-season courses (May, June) may spend time camping on snow, while mid-summer courses tend to have more moderate temperatures.
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.