Learn to backpack and rock climb in California's breathtaking High Sierra.
This male-identified course will give you the opportunity to develop your leadership, learn outdoor skills and challenge yourself - all a great start to wilderness travel. As a single gendered course, your group will be able to focus on positive risk taking, working through conflict and communicating about emotions, all within in a peer group who is at the same developmental stage.
NOTE: For the health and safety of students and staff in the COVID-19 pandemic, students may be required to travel to course start by private transportation. Please work directly with your Course Advisor for your course for the most up-to-date and regionally-focused travel options. All students and staff must provide a current negative COVID-19 viral test result before arrival to course and/or consent to having a COVID-19 test administered at course start. Outward Bound requires students and staff to follow COVID-19 protocols for 14 days prior to course start and while traveling including physical distancing, wearing a mask in public, and frequent and thorough handwashing.For complete “Health and Safety Practices for Outward Bound Expeditions,” click here.
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For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean, click here.
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist spots will become available. In the event a spot becomes available, those on the waitlist may have an opportunity to secure the available spot. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. Upon completion of your application, a $500 deposit is required to reserve the waitlist spot. If you choose to remove your application from the waitlist, or if a spot does not become available, you will be refunded the $500 deposit. If a spot becomes available and you elect not to take it, Outward Bound will keep $150 of the deposit.
Waitlist spots are prioritized in the order of returned paperwork, not in the order applications are received, so be sure to return the initial paperwork as soon as possible! Please be aware that waitlist spots may become available up to two weeks before the course starts. While cancellations do occur, we cannot guarantee a spot will become available. Applicants may only be listed on one waitlist. If there is another course that still has availability and is also of interest to you, we recommend applying for that course instead. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
ENROLLMENT CLOSED 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.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
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.
of Kenja Griffin
of Rikki Dunn
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.
Students on backpacking courses (XMME-134) will spend the majority of their time navigating on-trail, occasionally venturing off-trail to connect to another section of trail or to climb a 'walk up' peak which does not require ropes or the occasional use of hands (Class 2). Backpacking courses may also spend more time 'below tree line,’ have limited to no travel on snow, and utilize bridges to cross creeks where available.
Students on alpine backpacking courses (XMME-132) spend the majority of their time navigating off-trail, 'above tree line', including terrain that crosses talus, boulder fields and snow. Peaks that are climbed on course do not require ropes, but may require the occasional use of hands for balance (Class 3-4), and creek crossings are often void of bridges.
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.
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.
Course start, introductory lessons to camp craft
Intro to rock climbing, belaying and rappelling
Anchor building and rock protection, mock leading
Main expedition, alpine peak attempt, Solo
Final expedition: focus on leadership among group members
Personal Challenge Event, gear clean and de-issue, graduation
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.