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, you will learn basic paddling skills and explore the wilderness around the 25-miles-long Ross Lake. Games and laughter are plentiful as you hone your skills in camp craft, back country cooking and Leave No Trace practices. You’ll travel around Ross Lake, working together as a team: building communication, leadership, followership and compassion.
For the final few days of the course, you will transfer to our base camp in Mazama, Washington, where you will learn basic rock climbing and belaying at one of our local crags in a setting surrounded by jagged peaks.
Benefits of a Single-gender Course
This all-female identified course, will give you the opportunity to develop your leadership, learn outdoor skills and challenge yourself. A single gendered course allows you to be yourself and find your voice as a leader in an all-female identified peer group.
For some younger students, Outward Bound is the first time away from home, which may bring up feelings of homesickness. Thus, each student group is a maximum of 9 students and is accompanied by three instructors to increase the care, supervision, and guidance for each student. We design our courses to set students up for success no matter how much experience you have with wilderness travel and independence.
This course is closed for the season. 2020 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 to the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Groups follow Leave No Trace ethics as part of their service to the environment and engage in acts of service while leading and supporting fellow students. Seeing the impact of their actions firsthand, students develop an ingrained appreciation of service and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home.
In order for profound learning to take place, students need time to reflect 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 length of course, 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 student at regular intervals, as safety is always the top priority.
This course will introduce students to the ideas of leadership, character development, and service that are integral to Outward Bound. 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 Pickets Mountain Range of the North cascades. Ross Lake is 25 miles long, and extends across the border into Canada. It is nestled in the North Cascades National Park and the Pasayten Wilderness Area. 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 known for the stunning blue-green shade of the water and for the sheer cliff faces and deep glacially carved valleys. 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.