Mountaineering in the spectacular North Cascades gives you the opportunity to climb and explore in some of the most pristine and remote wilderness in the contiguous United States, nicknamed the “American Alps.” The North Cascades are one of the world’s premier mountaineering destinations. Traversing the range, you will learn what you’ll need to reach summits: teamwork, tenacity and leadership. You will learn how to belay, rock climb, rappel and ascend a fixed line. Late Spring courses will learn to use ice axes to travel on steep snowy slopes. All the learning comes together for summit attempts, where everyone’s efforts are critical to reach the top.
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 look at day-to-day drama the same way 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 North Cascades offers some of the most spectacular mountaineering in the world, with views of jagged, snow-covered peaks, alpine waterfalls and remote mountain flora and fauna. On this classic Outward Bound course, our expert climbing and mountaineering Instructors will demonstrate safe and efficient travel techniques for the mountains. To explore remote technical terrain, much of the course will be spent backpacking through the wilderness learning and practicing skills for peak attempts.
Activities include: leadership and communication skill exercises, rock climbing and mountaineering, peak ascents and traveling through mountainous terrain both on- and off-trail. Leave No Trace camping techniques, navigation and first aid are additional skills students will learn. Students will travel over terrain that may reach up to 9,000 feet in altitude.
The course will likely include at least one peak attempt depending upon the weather and the group’s physical preparedness. Peak attempts are day-long enterprises often entailing pre-dawn starts. Successful peak climbs often involve roped climbing on snow and/or rock, and require patience, efficiency and teamwork to reach the summit.
Outward Bound believes that an appropriate amount of independence is a powerful educational tool. During the travel sections of this course, Outward Bound Instructors purposefully and gradually transfer certain leadership responsibilities to the students culminating with our “Final Expedition.” Near the end of course—if the group has demonstrated the necessary leadership, team problem solving and wilderness living skills—students may have the opportunity to travel without Instructors immediately present. Many of our students feel this phase of the course is the most rewarding, as the group learns to work as a team, problem solve and accomplish a goal independently, while utilizing all the skills they have acquired.
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 provides an opportunity for students to learn and practice the ideas of leadership, character development and service that are integral to Outward Bound. Students will develop and apply these skills in an expedition setting so that they can continue to grow once they return home. Instructors will work to challenge each student to try new things and step outside their comfort zones, as well as provide feedback that can be acted upon before the end of the course. As a team, each group will work together to complete difficult tasks necessary for backcountry travel and expedition living.
The North Cascades, Washington
Known as the “American Alps,” the North Cascades offer glaciated mountains, alpine lakes and high alpine meadows for endless exploration. The North Cascades host the greatest concentration of glaciers outside of Alaska, and are full of high mountain meadows peppered with wild flowers. The Outward Bound course area is home to some of the most stunning alpine climbing and backpacking routes in the United States.
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.