This demanding course ascends Mount Baker (originally Mt. Kulshan, elevation 10,781 ft), the second most heavily glaciated peak of the Cascade Range and a classic peak of the North Cascades.
This challenge of a lifetime mountaineering course is designed for students with previous backpacking, rock climbing or mountaineering experience and is also well suited for Outward Bound alumni who want to continue their technical and personal skills development. Learn technical mountaineering skills and practice communication, conflict resolution, and decision-making strategies while exploring high mountain meadows and stunning glaciers. The course includes a focus on cultivating skills around leadership, character development, service to others and interpersonal development. With a hope to summit, the key to success is acclimation, good weather, and being in good physical condition (having endurance). Acclimation is integrated into our course design.
NOTE: Outward Bound strongly recommends that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 and up to date as defined by the CDC prior to arriving to their course start. For all open enrollment courses beginning on or after April 15, 2023, Outward Bound will no longer require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
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!
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.
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.
The following is an example of what your course itinerary might look like. Your actual course plan will vary according to weather, student skills and abilities, and instructor preferences.
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 courses move through high mountain terrain and focus on preparation for a peak attempt. Successful peak climbs require patience, efficiency and teamwork to reach the summit, and may involve roped climbing on snow and/or rock. Students will start by learning backpacking skills, map and compass navigation, Recreate Responsibly ethics and then progress to basic mountaineering skills. The instructor to student ratio is never more than 1:5 during this section, allowing for personal coaching from our expert climbing and mountaineering instructors on the physical techniques of mountaineering.
Since its inception, Outward Bound has both taught an ethic of service on courses and sent students into our local communities for service projects. Students may do impromptu trail service or campsite service in the Okanogan National Forest or Pasayten Wilderness. This might include breaking apart illegal fire rings or covering up social trails. Lastly and perhaps the most important of all, students learn that by offering compassion to each other and supporting the crew through their daily chores of putting up tarps and cooking and cleaning, service can be given freely and daily in small acts of kindness. Students see the impact of their actions firsthand, and develop an appreciation of service and desire to serve their communities back home.
In order for profound learning to take place, students spend time reflecting on their experience, and Solo is that opportunity. 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. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up camp at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first portions of the course. The amount of time students spend on Solo is based on course length, weather, student condition, age and Instructor preference. Solo campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their Solo time journaling, drawing, reflecting, thinking and resting as they process lessons of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at regular intervals, as safety is always a top priority.
Due to the short nature of this course and its greater degree of technical skills needed, students may or may not have a short final expedition. Final expeditions are an opportunity towards the end of course for students to travel without Instructors immediately present and utilize the skills they have learned on course as a team.
Outward Bound promotes character development, leadership and service in the most engaging classroom possible, the wilderness. In real time, students experience the effects of their decisions on themselves and the other members of their group as they work to complete difficult tasks necessary for wilderness travel. Instructors challenge students to try new things and step outside their comfort zones. They also provide feedback that students implement on course and when they return to their communities.
Known as the “American Alps” for their rugged beauty and glaciated peaks, the North Cascades host the greatest concentration of glaciers in the “Lower 48.” Mount Baker offers some of the most spectacular mountaineering in Washington, with views of jagged, snow-covered peaks, alpine waterfalls and mountain flora and fauna. Our mountaineering courses operate primarily on the east side of the Cascade Range, which receives significantly less rainfall than the west side. Temperatures range from freezing to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Early season courses (May and June) may spend time camping on snow, while mid-summer courses tend to have more moderate temperatures.
These regions are the ancestral lands of the Syilx tmixʷ (Okanagan), Yakama, Nłeʔkepmx Tmíxʷ (Nlaka'pamux), Methow, np̓əšqʷáw̓səxʷ (Wenatchi), Coast Salish, Skagit, Tulalip, Entiat, Chelan, Skykomish and Nuxwsa'7aq (Nooksack) nations.
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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.