The wilderness is kind of unpredictable. What do Instructors do to manage risk on course?
“In addition to ongoing training and mentoring that is always happening for field staff, Instructors have numerous conversations before, during and after course about how to manage risks and make specific plans to keep students safe emotionally and physically. The goal is to offer students enough opportunities involving perceived risk, such as rock climbing, so that they are stretched to step outside their comfort zones. It is through those experiences that they have powerful learning experiences. We are also teaching students how to use what they learn so they too can prevent incidents and respond proactively to our greater teacher – nature - which can often be unpredictable!” Kelly – Outward Bound Instructor
The Blue Ridge Mountains are some of the oldest in the world and are home to hundreds of waterfalls, diverse flora and fauna, over a million acres of national forest, park and public land, unique rock formations and the highest peaks in the Eastern United States. During this course, you will backpack through temperate rainforests and wildflower fields, with ample breaks to enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountain views. This course also allows for a rock climbing portion that helps break up the travel days and gives a whole new appreciation for the trust and communication skills the crew is building. In addition to learning new skills in backcountry travel and climbing, you will also develop confidence, teamwork and leadership skills while working together within the group to meet daily goals.
This course is closed for the season. 2019 courses coming soon.
Are you ready to take a journey that will change your life? You won’t look at day-to-day drama the same way after you’ve conquered a high mountain ridge, made a boat obey your command in windswept waves or slept under the stars watching bats swoop overhead. Joining an Outward Bound expedition changes you. Your crew, your Instructor, your route and your adventures will have a profound and lasting impact on you as you rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places.
After you come home, many of the character, leadership and service traits you uncovered on your expedition stay with you, helping you navigate your daily life with more resilience and success.
Students will be backpacking in Pisgah National Forest where they will learn to travel through the backcountry, navigate varied terrain with a map and compass and how to do these activities responsibly using Leave No Trace principles. Equally important will be time spent learning conflict resolution skills, communication styles, how to lead and how to be a team player. After the crew has practiced these skills, their Instructors will step back and let the group work together to lead their own way through the wilderness where they will be rewarded with stunning, misty mountain vistas.
With a focus on safety, climbing instruction will start by teaching the basics, such as working with ropes and learning to tie knots. As students progress, they will learn how to climb up or rappel down a rock face. They may even have the opportunity to work through a high ropes obstacle course together. These uniquely structured activities provide opportunities not only for self-reliance, but also for communication and collaboration as participants confront and work through their fears.
Service to others and the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand, and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home. On longer courses, students have the opportunity to do a formal service project with a local agency. Common projects include doing trail work, helping at local food pantries and other local non-profit organizations. Service projects can be a few hours up to a full day.
A little more than halfway through course, students will participate in a reflection period called Solo. During this time, Instructors assign students their own individual spaces within a designated area. These sites are both secluded and within hearing distance of other group members and Instructors for safety. Students will be given all the necessary gear, food, water and skills to enjoy this time alone. Solo is a great opportunity for students to relax, recharge and reflect on their course after having long days of strenuous group activities. They also know the location of their Instructors should they need to contact them for any reason. Instructors will be monitoring students closely during this experience.
Acquire a taste for adventure. Courses less than 14-days in length provide a perfect introduction to the Outward Bound experience; reminding students of their connection to nature and leaving them feeling inspired to take on real challenge. Through these condensed experiences, students become comfortable living and working together in the wilderness while practicing the Four Pillars of Outward Bound; craftsmanship, self-reliance, physical fitness, and compassion. They also create a solid foundation of skill sets that they can further build upon once off course.
Blue Ridge Mountains, NC
The Blue Ridge Mountains, or Southern Appalachians, is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. While the mountains themselves formed over 250 million years ago, some of the rocks that underlie the region are over a billion years old.
The long geologic and evolutionary history of the Southern Appalachians has created one of the most biologically diverse regions in the modern world; some even say it is “rainforest-like.” This region is home to beautiful rushing rivers, hundreds of waterfalls and some of the highest peaks in the Eastern United States—including Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. The area’s diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.
Outward Bound students can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 different kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 different types of birds and over 50 species of amphibians. The huge numbers of tree and plant life is actually what gives these mountains their namesake. Trees put the ‘blue’ in the Blue Ridge Mountains from the organic chemicals they release into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the distinctive color of these mountains.
Temperatures in this area range between 50 and 85 degrees in the summer, 30 to 65 degrees in the spring and fall and 10 to 50 degrees in the winter.
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.