Located in the remote wilderness of northern Washington and Southern British Columbia, Ross Lake offers miles of beautiful paddling and exploring. On this North Cascades Canoeing & Rock Climbing course, students will learn basic paddling skills that allow them to explore the wilderness around the 25-miles long Ross Lake. Games and laughter are plentiful as students hone their camp craft, cooking and Leave No Trace skills. While working together as a team through communication, leadership and followership and compassion, students travel around Ross Lake.
For the final few days of the course, students will transfer to our basecamp in Mazama, WA. Surrounded by jagged peaks, students will learn basic rock climbing and belaying at one of our local crags.
This program runs on the crest of the North Cascades, an area that receives significantly less rainfall than the western coast of Washington.
Benefits of a single-gender course
In early adolescence, many female students experience physical and cognitive development at different rates compared to male adolescents. Outward Bound has seen this in practice, and has created single gender early adolescent courses composed of students at similar levels of development, which allows Instructors to effectively accommodate and teach to the groups’ abilities.
Some notable differences include single gender courses allowing more open space to talk about fears and concerns, providing greater chance for females to take leadership roles, ensuring less distraction from appearance and lessening the potential for stereotyping behaviors to occur. Co-ed courses allow for more variety of perspectives within the group and the ability to learn from all participants’ strengths.
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 take for granted the day-to-day routine 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 begins with a two mile hike to the lake with camp gear and food followed by a short paddle to the first established campsite along the lake. At camp, students will work as a team with their Instructors to learn the art of setting up a backcountry camp. Camp skills include setting up shelters, cooking meals, and helping to decide where the following days will lead. Along the way, students encounter hundreds of natural wonders, including waterfalls flowing into the lake from the glaciers above, eagles soaring overhead in search of trout and miraculously clear blue waters.
Toward the end of the course students will travel to the Outward Bound basecamp, tucked in the shadow of Goat Peak in Mazama, Washington. The rock climbing section will take place at climbing sites known as “Fun Rock” and “Finster’s Crag” where students will learn the basics of climbing technique, belaying, and knots. Rock climbing is physically, mentally, and sometimes emotionally demanding. For many students, rock climbing is the high point of the course. For others, it’s a major mental challenge to face.
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 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. Shorter courses may or may not have an organized service project.
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 experience time away from their group for short periods of time throughout the course. These “mini-solos” are at solo sites chosen by instructors to provide as much solitude as possible (within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Participants have all necessary equipment, food and water. On this course, solos range from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on itinerary limitations and instructor preference.
Ten day canoe courses will introduce students to the ideas of leadership, character development, and service that are integral to Outward Bound courses. Students will begin to develop these skills in an expedition setting so that they can continue to grow once they return home. Instructors will work to challenge students to try new things and step outside their comfort zones. As a team, each group will work together to complete difficult tasks necessary for backcountry travel.
Ross Lake, Washington
Accessible only by boat or trail, this glacier-fed lake borders the dramatic Picket Mountain Range. Ross Lake is 25 miles long, and extends all the way into Canada. It is nestled in the North Cascades National Park and the Pasayten Wilderness Area. The nearby Jack and Hozomeen mountains rise 9,066 and 8,066 feet respectively, soaring up out of the lake and crowning it with jagged ridge-tops. This part of the park is commonly known as the "Alps of America" for the sheer cliff faces and deep glacially carved valleys characteristic of the European alpine environment. The area was made famous by the Beat Generation writer, Jack Kerouac whose writings were inspired by his work as a fire spotter at the Desolation Peak Lookout, on the east side of Ross Lake. Temperatures typically range from freezing to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
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.