Mountaineering is perhaps the most rugged form of backcountry travel, allowing the elite few who are willing to work hard access to secret stashes of epic wilderness. As the course progresses, use your backpacking skills to travel into remote technical terrain where you’ll need tools like ice axes or fixed ropes to finally reach the summit. The challenges are significant but the rewards are great. The San Juans are very steep and receive a lot of snow that can persist year round. You and your team will need to backpack far enough into the range to approach the alpine zone. Once you reach tree line, you’ll focus on more technical climbing including ascending fixed lines, belaying and rappelling.
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.
Our Mountaineering courses focus on teaching students the skills to climb technical peaks that require harnesses, ropes, and ice axes to successfully summit. Instructors train students to use all equipment necessary for technical mountaineering. During this course, students can expect to travel on and off trail over wooded and alpine terrain that can be rough, demanding, steep and exposed and may at times require the use of ropes and ice axes to traverse a slope or ascend a pass.
Peak Attempt: The expedition includes at least one peak ascent attempt. Peak attempts, with or without the use of ropes and technical gear, 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.
The course ends with the Final Expedition, during which the crew heads back into the field to put all of their newly acquired skills into practice. Depending on the team’s ability levels, instructors step back during this section and allow the crew to take over decision-making responsibilities for navigation, time schedules, communication and general leadership.
Outward Bound courses vary in length from 4 to 85 days. On shorter courses, participants will receive an intro to leadership skills, strength of character and a desire to serve. With longer courses, the same outcomes and benefits are achieved with the ability to reach a more profound level of mastery as there are more opportunities develop technical skills, receive and implement feedback and further personal development.
The San Juans Mountain Range is the largest range in Colorado by area This remote range was primarily used for mining until the early 20th century as many of the peaks contain precious minerals. This rugged area does not have many roads and as a result some courses are resupplied by train. A narrow gauge railroad runs straight through the heart of the mountains, providing a unique opportunity to get students some fresh food and treats.
These rugged mountains are also home to sheepherders as the high alpine meadows provide ample opportunities for grazing. Lucky students will get a glimpse into the days of the old West as they see shepherds on horseback working their flock with help from their sheepdogs.
"I cannot begin to describe the feeling of triumph and elation when I crested that pass. I stood on a saddle between two peaks marveling at the beauty before me, knowing that I could do whatever I put my mind to from that moment on. And even though I still struggled at times on the rest of the trip, I knew in my mind that it was nothing compared to what I had triumphed over on that pass. A piece of inhibition had broken free inside me, and I was faced with the revelation that I could do absolutely anything I put my mind to." - Elias Hudson, Outward Bound alumni
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.