Build backpacking prowess as your group travels from the trailhead deep into the hearts of the mountains and off the beaten path.
Explore the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, one of Washington State’s most remote and beautiful alpine environments. You can expect to learn wilderness skills such as setting up tarps, cooking, backpacking, climbing and navigating using map and compass. Our mountaineering courses have added technical components that could include off-trail travel and alpine rock or snow objectives. The course includes a focus on cultivating skills around leadership, character development, service to others and interpersonal development. From getting up early to hiking in a mountain environment all day, wilderness travel is demanding. You do not need to have any previous experience but arriving physically prepared and excited for personal development will enhance your experience and allow you to take full advantage of the expedition.
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.
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 start by learning backpacking skills, map and compass navigation, Recreate Responsibly ethics and 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. Instructors will tailor the curriculum to the interests and aptitudes of individual course participants. June courses tend to have more snow objectives due to the timing of the year, while July and August courses tend to have more alpine rock climbing objectives.
Since its inception, Outward Bound has taught an ethic of service on courses and sent students into our local communities for service projects. A structured, half day of service is scheduled into most of our courses. In Mazama, at our Washington base, we work with a number of different local organizations. These include:
Methow at Home: fire mitigation and yard work for elderly community members
Classroom in Bloom: weeding, planting, harvesting at an educational garden located at the local high school
Methow Trails: trail work on the Methow Valley trail network
Methow Valley Interpretive Center: working in the native plant garden and learning about local indigenous communities
Methow Arts: projects to bring art to the valley and community
Little Star: Montessori school serving pre-K and Kindergarten that offers scholarships to local children
In addition to scheduled, formal service, 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.
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 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.
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,” 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 covered with wildflowers. The Outward Bound course area hosts some of the most stunning alpine climbing and backpacking routes in the United States. 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.