Sample Itinerary
15-Day Course
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
Personal Challenge Event and course end celebration
Transportation home

It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.  

  • 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 into 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: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and 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.

high school backpacking trip in the rockies
Photo courtesy of Tyler Adams
outdoor leadership class for young adults
Photo courtesy 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 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 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.

rock climbing in the colorado rockies
Photo courtesy of Griff Jones
rock climbing trip for teens in the colorado rockies
Photo courtesy of Hannah Trim
rock climbing class for teens in colorado
Photo courtesy of Griff Jones
teens learn rock climbing skills in colorado
Photo courtesy of Griff Jones
rock climbing camp for teens
Photo courtesy of Griff Jones
rock climbing class for teens
Photo courtesy of Hannah Trim

Rock climbing is the ultimate opportunity to challenge oneself physically, mentally and emotionally. Students 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. Learning new body mechanics, balance and energy maintenance techniques 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.

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. Past projects have included working on a goat farm, building trails, cleaning trash and debris from natural spaces, working with a local community garden, and removing invasive species.

In order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. 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.  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 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 Instructors at regular intervals, as safety is always a top priority.

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 a 15-day or 22-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 backpacking. Students get to know fellow crewmates surprisingly well as they share this immersive and intense experience. All along the way, students experience a wide variety of some of the most beautiful wilderness in the US.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Adams

The Colorado Rocky Mountains, one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world, stretch 3,000 miles from Alaska to New Mexico. Colorado offers the greatest concentration of peaks above 13,000 feet in continental U.S., with hundreds of “Thirteeners” (13,000+ feet in elevation) and 54 “Fourteeners” (14,000+ feet in elevation). The state is famous for its abundant wilderness adventure possibilities, from skiing to rock climbing to 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.  Each of these Colorado ranges present unique challenges, but are all beautiful, wild and rugged. These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Cheyenne, Arapaho, Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux), Eastern Shoshone, Jicarilla Apache, and Pueblos nations.


Getting Started

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.