Wilderness travel means that participants carry and live with a lot less than they do in the regular world. And, it can literally take every waking moment to get from point A to point B. From getting up early to pack bags and cook breakfast, to hiking with a loaded backpack for hours, to climbing peaks that rise well over 13,000 feet high, traveling in the wilderness can be challenging – and extremely rewarding. Past students and instructors agree that arriving physically fit enhances participants’ ability to take full advantage of the expedition. No previous backpacking experience is necessary. Skilled instructors teach participants everything they need to know to travel comfortably.
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Outward Bound Veterans expeditions build on camaraderie and the challenge of the natural world as a pathway to healing. These expeditions encourage participants to connect with existing strengths and bond with fellow veterans in a safe, positive, mission-driven environment. As they harness the power of wartime experiences like carrying heavy packs, moving fatigued muscles and sleeping outside, these courses help build the self-confidence and sense of purpose veterans need to continue serving as leaders in their families, communities and the nation.
The course begins with lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. Along the way, participants learn Leave No Trace techniques, map and compass navigation and camp craft, and get a feel for the human and natural history of the area. Participants backpack in the valleys and long ridges, camp in basins with views like the top of the world, and stop along the way to explore microclimates and alpine ecosystems. Most importantly, participants get to spend time in an incredible area of the mountains, sleep under the stars, feel the spring or fall sunshine on their face and watch a few sunsets over this magical landscape.
The Colorado basecamp has its own ropes course, problem-solving activities and rock climbing sites nearby. In the mountains, participants may spend a day experiencing the thrill and grace of rock climbing or the control and exhilaration of rappelling. This is a great opportunity for veterans 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 Rocky Mountains, some of the most famous mountains in the world, stretch 3,000 miles from Alaska to New Mexico. These legendary peaks have had a profound influence on the development of the continental United States. This course takes place in the Sawatch Range. The towering Sawatch Range contains 8 of Colorado’s tallest peaks including Mount Massive, the summit of which is the highest point in Colorado at 14,440 feet.