Explore the backcountry, get to know your crew, and have fun while learning to rock climb and canoe in what is known as the “American Alps.”
North Cascades Canoeing & Rock Climbing offers teens the opportunity to explore one of Washington State’s most beautiful recreation areas. You can expect to learn how to travel and camp in the backcountry, paddle canoes, set up tarps, rock climb and navigate using a map and compass.
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 girls and gender-expansive students who are looking for this kind of community on their course. And when we say “for girls,” we mean we believe trans-girls are girls. 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.
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.
Affinity Groups, Gender-expansive, Middle School, Single Gender
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.
Team building, campcraft, wilderness travel, and canoeing skills
Explore the lake by canoe and develop leadership skills by taking turns leading the group each day. Routines are solidified and group roles are reinforced.
Rock climbing. Trust building and personal challenge through rock climbing and belaying crew mates. Personal Challenge Event and course closing ceremony.
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.
During the canoeing expedition, students will travel between campsites 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 plan for the days ahead. Along the way, they will encounter the natural wonders of lake travel, including access to waterfalls, wildlife sighting and miraculously clear blue waters.
Students learn the basics of climbing technique, belaying, rappelling 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. Courses generally include 1-2 days of rock climbing, depending upon individual course itineraries and student groups.
Since its inception, Outward Bound has 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 Roosevelt Lake Recreation Area. 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, 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.
Solo is an opportunity for students to reflect on their experience, rest from the rigors of course, and think how their new insight and awareness can be transferred back home. Every Solo experience is unique and can range from a few hours to 72 hours, with age being a consideration for determining the appropriate length. Solo is not a survival test. Students have the necessary equipment, food, and water. Solo campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible but are within emergency whistle-signaling distance from other group members. Safety is always a top priority, and instructors check on each participant at regular intervals.
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 together 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.
Depending on weather, snow melt and other conditions, the canoeing portion will take place at one of two Washington lakes. Both lakes offer the unique opportunity to explore a region of Washington by boat.
Ross Lake, Washington
Accessible only by boat or trail, this 25 mile long glacier-fed lake is nestled in the North Cascades National Park and the Pasayten Wilderness Area. This part of the park is known for the surrounding 8,000 ft. mountain peaks, deep glacially carved valleys, and clear blue-green water. Waterfalls flow into the lake from the glaciers above, and eagles soar overhead in search of trout. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Nłeʔkepmx Tmíxʷ (Nlaka'pamux) and Syilx tmixʷ (Okanagan) nations.
Lake Roosevelt, Washington
This lake, which sits behind the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, is 130 miles long and is nestled in the beautiful forested hills of Northeastern Washington. Lake Roosevelt features calm, turquoise water and gorgeous fir and pine-forested shores. There are nearby waterfalls and hiking trails to explore along the lake, as well as a myriad of wildflowers and wildlife on the shoreline. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Syilx tmixʷ (Okanagan), Ktunaxa ɁamakɁis, Colville, Ktunaxa, San Poil and Spokane 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.