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Photograph (above) taken by Jack Klim
Sample Itinerary
15-Day Courses
DAY1
Course start, inspect and issue gear, meet Instructors
DAY2-6
Backpacking and rock climbing in the backcountry. Developing skills in backcountry travel and navigation, ropes systems, camp cooking, shelter building, and Leave no Trace.
DAY7-11
Mountaineering and rock climbing, technical peak attempt. Learn about ecology, geology, and snow dynamics as you progress in your backcountry skills. Learn the basics of first aid for the wilderness.
DAY12-13
Final expedition, instructors may shadow the patrol from a distance. This is your chance as a crew to run the show and call the shots. Work together as a team to plan the route each day and support each other.
DAY14
Challenge Event and course end celebration
DAY15
Transportation home
22-Day Courses
DAY1
Course start, inspect and issue gear, meet Instructors
DAY2-8
Backpacking and rock climbing at a backcountry undeveloped climbing site. Developing skills in backcountry travel and navigation, ropes systems, camp cooking, shelter building, and Leave no Trace.
DAY9-17
Mountaineering and rock climbing, technical peak attempt. Learn about ecology, geology, and snow dynamics as you progress in your backcountry skills. Learn the basics of first aid for the wilderness.
DAY18-21
Final expedition, instructors may shadow the patrol from a distance. This is your chance as a crew to run the show and call the shots. Work together as a team to plan the route each day and support each other.
DAY21
Challenge Event and course end celebration
DAY22
Transportation home

Through opportunities to lead on this trip, I was able to experience critical thinking, decisive decision making and sensible self-denial. All things necessary in life.

— Austin Outward Bound alumnus

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 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: 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.

mountaineering class for teens
Photo courtesy of Griff Jones
teens learn mountaineering skills in colorado
Photo courtesy of Hannah Trim
mountaineering course for teens
Photo courtesy of Mareya Becker
outdoor education backpacking trip
Photo courtesy of Griff Jones
teens learn leadership skills on outdoor course
Photo courtesy of Mareya Becker
mountaineering trip for teens in colorado
Photo courtesy of Mareya Becker

Mountaineering is perhaps the most rugged and exciting form of backcountry travel, granting access to secret stashes of epic wilderness to the few who are willing to work for it. On this course, students will practice mountaineering techniques like kicking steps, glissading and ascending fixed lines over mixed routes of snow, ice and rock. As the course progresses, students use backpacking skills to travel into remote technical terrain where they’ll use ice axes and advanced techniques to reach summits 13,000 feet or even 14,000 feet in elevation. The challenges are significant but the rewards are great.

The expedition includes technical peak attempts. 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 an attempt to ascend a peak.

rocky mountain rock climbing
Photo courtesy of Angela Henderson
rock climbing camp for teens in colorado
Photo courtesy of Ian McConnell
teens learn how to rock climb in colorado
Photo courtesy of Ian McConnell
rock climbing trip for high schoolers
Photo courtesy of Ian McConnell

Rock climbing is the ultimate opportunity to challenge oneself physically, mentally and emotionally. Contrary to common belief, upper body strength is not the determining factor in being able to climb well. 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 individual way. Students will learn basic climbing techniques, helmet and harness use, climbing commands and belaying.

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. 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 Outward Bound 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 maintain 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 progressively hand over more of the decision making and leadership of the expedition to the crew, allowing each person to test the new technical and interpersonal skills they have learned. 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.

Photo courtesy of Jack Klim
Photo courtesy of Jack Klim
Photo courtesy of Ian McConnell
Photo courtesy of Ian McConnell

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. These legendary peaks have had a profound influence on the development of the continental United States. The Colorado Rocky Mountains have 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 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 Juan 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.

Course Stories

All things necessary in life

Through opportunities to lead on this trip, I was able to experience critical thinking, decisive decision making and sensible self-denial. All things necessary in life.

— Austin Outward Bound alumnus

OTHER COURSES YOU MAY LIKE

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. 

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ENROLL TODAY