"Outward Bound is an amazing experience that has been passed down through the generations of my family. My grandmother attended in 1985, my mother in 1987 and 1995, then me in 2015 and 2016. There’s nothing like coming home from Outward Bound with a newfound sense of self."
- Zeke Wagner
On this 14 or 22 day rock climbing and backpacking course, you’ll hike among the towering pines, along glassy, blue alpine lakes and rock climb on granite. As a beginner rock climber or if you’re advancing your skills, the western side of the Sierra Nevada has some of the best climbing granite around.
With a longer format of two weeks or more, you’ll have more training and attention from Instructors, so you can implement feedback and practice technical and interpersonal skills. This will lead to a deeper understanding of strengths, a more independent and self-directed crew and a greater level of student empowerment.
As your technical and leadership skills advance along with the group, you’ll move through a progression, gradually taking on decision making on navigation, route finding, sharing of duties and setting-up camp. This is the group's opportunity to make the course its own unique experience.
This course is closed for the season. 2019 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.
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.
The course starts with several days of rock climbing where students will learn the basics of climbing technique, belaying and knots, while building trust with team members and confidence in themselves. During this section students challenge themselves physically on solid rock cliffs and push their mental strength with a free hanging rappel with stunning views of the surrounding granite domes.
Following the climbing portion, students will begin a backpacking expedition that takes them into the heart of the Sierra Nevada range. Here students will learn Leave No Trace camping and travel skills, outdoor cooking techniques, map and compass use, route finding and how to set up shelters in the backcountry. They will spend time hiking on and off-trail, both in forested areas and in the micro-climates of an alpine environment high above tree line, often camping next to icy alpine lakes that offer the opportunity to swim and rinse off after days of hiking.
In addition to technical skills, Instructors will teach and facilitate the interpersonal skills needed for students to function effectively as a team, accomplish goals and tackle new challenges every day. Challenges on course are designed to guide students through taking risks, drawing upon inner resources and developing trust in one another for activities like the peak attempt. With lighter packs, participants will start before the sun rises to summit a mountain and be rewarded with 360 degree views and an incredible sense of accomplishment.
Service to others and to the environment are core values of Outward Bound and they are integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as part of their service to the environment. Students develop an ingrained appreciation of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand, by multiple small acts of service with and for their crewmates while leading and supporting each other throughout the journey.
Outward Bound believes in order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. Within course, the solo is that opportunity. It is a chance to experience solitude in the wilderness without distraction while also taking a break from the physical rigors of course. Students are separated from their group for a period of time which depends on course length and Instructor assessment of group capability. Solo sites are chosen to provide solitude. Participants have all necessary equipment, food and water. Solos range in length from 12 hours to 72 hours.
Outward Bound courses vary in length from four (4) to 85 days. On shorter courses, participants will receive an introduction to leadership skills, strength of character and a desire to serve while activities fill most of the time and the pace is quick. With longer courses, the same outcomes and benefits are achieved with the opportunity to reach a more profound level of mastery as there are more chances to develop technical skills, receive and implement feedback and further personal development. However many days the expedition lasts, the strength and impact of the experience lasts a lifetime.
Backpacking, rock climbing and wilderness navigation techniques are great practice for the essential skills and habits that help prepare for new challenges at school, work, home and in the community. Outward Bound expeditions encourage students:
The Sierra Nevada range is California’s backyard and wonderland of wilderness, waterfalls, lakes and peaks. It’s an enormous range – spanning more than 400 miles from north to south, and 70 miles east to west. Outward Bound courses take place in the southern and western parts of the Sierras: Ansel Adams Wilderness, Yosemite National Park and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park.
Summer in the Sierras is mostly sunny, with occasional rain and cold evenings. Snowfall is unlikely, though June courses may traverse atop lingering winter and spring snow. Summer temperature tends towards the 70s and 80s during the day dipping into the 30s to 50s in the evening and overnight.
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.