Learn to backpack and rock climb in the Sierra Nevada’s breathtaking granite peaks and mountain lakes.
On this backpacking and rock climbing 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.
At Outward Bound, we are crew, not passengers. We support each other and share in our challenges and our victories. Your crew becomes a critical piece of your experience while on course, and beyond! While all our courses are inclusive for all gender identities, we understand the value of affinity spaces, too. During this time of development, when young people need a safe and supportive space, this course builds self-esteem and community, and creates opportunities to make lifelong friends.
This is a traditional Outward Bound course, specially designed for boys and gender-expansive students who are looking for this kind of community on their course. And when we say “for boys,” we mean we cis-boys, trans-boys and nonbinary young people who want to be in a boy centered space. You are welcome here – let’s adventure together!
Students can expect a progression of activities to initiate personal growth and conversation about our unique and shared experiences. We will spend time having guided discussions on a variety of topics, as well as opportunities for individual reflection, while embracing the affirming and healing powers of nature.
Outward Bound’s affinity courses are designed to build community and cultivate self-efficacy. Expeditions are led by trained Instructors and aim to create a safe space for those who have experienced being marginalized due to their identity, and/or are exploring their gender identity. Outward Bound is a place for all people to learn, grow, make friends, and have fun! We encourage you to talk with one of our course advisors if you have questions about which course is the best fit for you.
Affinity Groups, Gender-expansive, Middle School, Single Gender
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This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
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JOIN WAITLIST Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist positions become available. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. A $500 deposit is required. This $500 deposit includes a $150 non-refundable application fee and a $350 tuition payment. The $350 tuition payment is refundable only if you cancel your waitlist application or if an open position does not become available. If a position does become available, the applicant will be applied to the open position and the Application and Cancellation Policies of the Regional Outward Bound School will be followed, including forfeiture of the $500 deposit if you cancel 90 days or less prior to the course start date.
Waitlist applicants are encouraged to complete all required admissions documents while awaiting an open position. Positions may become available up to two weeks prior to the course start date. Applicants may only apply to one course. We recommend applying to a course with open positions instead of a course that is accepting waitlist applications. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
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Rock section (climbing technique, belaying and rappelling and camp craft lessons)
Hike to base of alpine peak
Alpine peak attempt
Finals, hike out
Service, Personal Challenge Event, clean gear and de-issue, graduation ceremony
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, heard the echoes at the edge of a vast canyon, 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 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: For Middle School students, heading away from home means taking on new responsibilities and expectations with crewmates who are strangers when you first meet and trusted teammates by the end of your expedition. It’s all about confidence.
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.
This course provides an introductory experience in the art and craft of backpacking while exploring a rich national treasure. No prior experience is necessary, as Instructors will teach the crew how to cook, set up tarp shelters and conduct on-trail navigation.
Instructors also facilitate activities and lessons focused on teamwork, communication and self-discovery. Each young person is capable of more than they know, and this course will help students realize their own potential and return to their day to day lives with increased confidence, work ethic and self-awareness.
Please note: Students carry both personal and group gear, which means packs can be heavy. Students should be physically able to hike with a 40-pound backpack to be successful on this course. If the applicant is under 5 feet tall and/or 85 pounds, please call Outward Bound prior to enrollment.
The course starts with several days of rock climbing; 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.
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 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. As they see the impact of their actions, firsthand, students develop a value of service, and transfer this desire to serve their communities once they return.
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. On this course, the Solo time will not exceed 12 hours.
Outward Bound expeditions encourage students to grow into the best version of themselves. Compassion for self and others is foundational to our educational approach. Students work collaboratively with their peers and as individuals to navigate challenging circumstances and the everyday harshness of the natural environment. The physical and mental challenges students experience on course allow them to discover their strengths and build authentic connections. Through intentionally tiered technical skill instruction, students also gain self-efficacy in outdoor competencies related to their course. Consistent and cultivated space for introspection or interactive reflective processes supports students making connections between their experiences and their life back home Whether the expedition is a few days or a few months, students realize that they are stronger than they know, and develop confidence and perseverance that will last a lifetime.
Some of the social and emotional learning outcomes students can expect include:
Belonging – a sense of connection in the group founded upon respect, inclusion, empathy and compassion
Courage – catalyzing strengths in order to persevere and take on challenge and risks
Physical Engagement – develop body awareness and confidence through sensate and bodily experiences
Self-Regulation – the ability to counter distraction and strong emotions by calming, refocusing, and turn-taking
Reflection – examination and questioning of actions, roles, relationships and assumptions
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. 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 temperatures tend to be in the 70s to 80s during the day, dipping into the 30s to 50s in the evening and night. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Northern Paiute, Western Mono/Monache, Me-Wuk (Central Sierra Miwok), Eastern Mono/Monache, and Tübatulabal nations.
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.