The wild and scenic Deschutes River flows from the snowcapped Central Cascades to the Columbia River. This expedition will take you 50 miles through a beautiful desert river corridor carved out of volcanic basalt and schist. Traveling down river for the first five days of the course, you will learn paddle captaining skills, river hydrology, river safety, teamwork, campsite set-up, backcountry cooking and Leave No Trace principles.
During the second half of the course, the crew will hike into the Central Cascades. Backpacking through spectacular wilderness areas will give you the opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful and pristine areas in central Oregon. Backpacking courses carry less weight then mountaineering courses and focus on covering greater distances with more time for exploration. Expect to travel on and off trail through wildflowers and pine-forests. Along your journey, you’ll learn to set up shelters, cook, navigate using a map and compass and administer basic first aid.
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.
Students will travel on the river for four to seven days in four to six person paddle rafts, and learn to “captain” (maneuver) their paddle raft team through Class II to Class IV rapids. After lessons in basic river travel and safety, students progress to learning to read currents, anticipate obstacles, scout rapids and negotiate technical portions of the river. Students will also learn river hydrology, swimming in currents, paddle techniques and expeditionary travel skills. While on the rafting expedition, there may also be an opportunity for short day hikes.
Backpacking courses focus on wilderness skills such as navigation, natural history and living in the backcountry. Backpacking courses spend time both on and off trail, and travel to remote and beautiful places that are ideal Outward Bound classrooms. Activities include: leadership and communication skill activities, peak ascents and traversing mountainous terrain. 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 elevation.
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. As a team, each group will work together to complete difficult tasks necessary for backcountry travel and expedition living. 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 course end.
Deschutes River, Oregon
The Deschutes River is part of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers system. The river flows north from the Oregon Cascades to the Columbia River and then on to the Pacific Ocean. The Lower Deschutes is a popular river for both whitewater rafting and fly fishing. The river is spring-fed, which results in an unusually constant water flow and consistently cold water. Excellent geologic evidence is present all around the area. Courses generally travel anywhere from 50 to 100 miles along the Lower Deschutes. The rapids on the Deschutes, rated up to Class IV, are mostly Class II-III, and are excellent for learning paddle skills and teamwork. The group camps each night along the banks of the river. The Deschutes region has a colorful human history, with a railroad bordering much of the length of the Lower Deschutes.
Central Cascades, Oregon
Volcanoes dot the spine of the Cascade Mountains, rising over 10,000 feet above the forests, lakes and rivers of the surrounding region. These glaciated peaks run north and south and create perfect mountaineering objectives for this course. The Central Cascade range is home to the Three Sisters, Broken Top, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Jefferson. Four 10,000-foot high glaciated volcanoes are present in this course area, with a total of nine major volcanoes at home in the region. One can find a unique blend of dry east side and wet west side weather conditions which allow diverse types of vegetation to flourish. The area has a complex geologic history that continues today. Active glaciers methodically carve away the mountains and the dramatic traces of avalanches that have altered the landscape can be found throughout.
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.