Come backpacking and rock climbing in the legendary Colorado Rockies – a world-renowned adventure destination.
Colorado has some of the best backpacking and rock climbing in the country. On this classic combination course you’ll get to experience the best of both worlds. Hike up to alpine meadows and camp below gorgeous cirques of peaks. As you transition to climbing, you’ll get to take on a whole new set of challenges. Physical, mental, and emotional: both activities will give you insight into your strengths and abilities.
This course is closed for the season. 2021 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.
Build skills, form connections: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn:For High School students, the opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences fills the expedition as you go through numerous trials and triumphs. It’s all about independence.
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.
of Tyler Adams
of Tyler Adams
Backpackers carry everything they need – food, shelter, clothing and gear – allowing them to go deep into the wilderness where few people go. Students feel a sense of freedom from deadlines and task lists as they grow accustomed to eating when hungry, setting up camp when tired and having complete control over what they accomplish each day. The simplicity of hiking gives students the opportunity to focus both internally on their own thoughts and self-reliance, as well as externally to connect deeply with others as they talk, sing, play games and spend time together without distraction.
This course begins with lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. Along the way, students learn Leave No Trace techniques, map and compass navigation and camp craft as they get a feel for the human and natural history of the area. Students backpack along 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. Students spend time in an incredible area, sleep under the stars, feel the sunshine on their face and maybe watch a few sunsets over this magical landscape.
The expedition includes at least one peak attempt. Peak attempts are major enterprises and typically require early morning starts and take all day to complete. Weather or other factors including group dynamics and physical ability may preclude even an attempt to ascend a peak.
of Griff Jones
of Hannah Trim
of Griff Jones
of Griff Jones
of Griff Jones
of Hannah Trim
Rock climbing is the ultimate opportunity to challenge oneself physically, mentally and emotionally. Learning new body mechanics, balance and energy maintenance techniques will help students climb efficiently and unlock the incredible feeling of flowing up a route. There are many ways to climb the same rock, allowing each climber to solve the puzzle in their own way. Students will learn basic climbing techniques, helmet and harness use, climbing commands and belaying, placing gear, setting up top ropes and may have the opportunity to attempt multi-pitch ascents.
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. Designated service projects are coordinated with land managers like the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service to collaborate on land restoration projects. Some projects are more social services based, in which participants may visit a nursing home or hospital. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home.
In order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. Solo is that opportunity, and that time can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours or more, depending on the length of the course. Weather and time permitting, the Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their experience. Many students use this reflection time to make decisions about their future, journal and enjoy the beauty of their surroundings unencumbered by the constant external stimulation of modern life. The duration of Solo depends on the course length and type, as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group. With all the food, skills and supplies they need, participants are given a secluded spot to reflect alone and are monitored by staff throughout the experience to prioritize safety. 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.
Whether an 8-day course or an 80 day course, all Outward Bound expeditions are focused on building character and leadership skills. Short courses are a great option for students looking for an introduction to the outdoors or for those who need a quick recharge. On shorter courses, students learn camping and expedition basics, as well as the skills specific to the course activity such as climbing or rafting. Students get to know fellow crew mates surprisingly well as they share this immersive and intense experience.
On longer courses, Instructors will progressively hand over more of the decision making and leadership of the expedition to students, allowing each person to test the new technical and interpersonal skills learned. On Semester expeditions, students learn advanced technical skills and on some courses, earn certifications. Longer courses give crews the opportunity to get past the “honeymoon” stage where individuals show more of their “real” selves. Through the dynamics of an evolving group setting, students have more freedom to investigate who they are and how they want to develop personally. All along the way, students will experience a wide variety of some of the most beautiful wilderness in the US and the world.
of Tyler Adams
Colorado Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains, one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world, stretch 3,000 miles from Alaska to New Mexico. The Colorado Rocky Mountains has the greatest concentration of high peaks in the lower 48, with hundreds of ‘Thirteeners’ (13,000 plus foot tall mountains), and 54 ‘Fourteeners.’ The state is famous for its abundant wilderness adventure possibilities, from skiing to rock climbing and mountaineering. Colorado courses may take place in The Gore, The Holy Cross, The Sawatch, The Elks, The Sangre de Cristos, the Rawah or the San Juans mountains. Each of these Colorado ranges present unique challenges, but they are all beautiful, wild and rugged. The Colorado Rockies lie within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Cheyenne, Eastern Shoshone, Oceti Šakowiŋ (Sioux), Cheyenne, Arapaho, Pueblos, and Jicarillo Apache nations.
In an untamed corner of Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest, the granite jewels of Vedauwoo (pronounced “vee-dah-voo”) beckon rock climbers. This surreal land features phenomenal formations of rock nestled into aspen and pine forests. This is the place to discover the perfect mix of wilderness and classroom, as well as an expansive spectrum of beginner to advanced crack and face climbing. The climbing routes vary in length from 50 feet to 200 feet and provide excellent opportunities for both single- and multi-pitch climbing. Veduawoo lies within the ancestral lands of the Arapaho.
Turkey Rocks, Colorado
Turkey Rocks is situated in the South Platte area of Colorado. The crags offer some of the best face and crack climbing in Colorado. The crystalline granite is often compared to Joshua Tree in style and quality. Turkey Rocks lie within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) and Cheyenne.
Course start, inspect and issue gear, meet Instructors
Backpacking and rock climbing at a backcountry undeveloped climbing site, technical peak attempt
Rock climbing camp: multiple days of focus on rock climbing will provide a thorough introduction to the sport and to progress in climbing skills
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.
To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.