The Oregon Rafting and Mountaineering course offers students an opportunity to challenge themselves physically and mentally while exploring amazing wilderness areas. The first days of your trip will be spent on the wild and scenic Deschutes River building critical skills in teamwork and outdoor skills as well as learning paddling skills, river hydrology, raft captaining, and rescue techniques. Trade your wet shoes for hiking boots as you explore diverse mountain habitats among the volcanoes of the Central Cascade mountain range, learn basic mountaineering and backpacking skills and master navigation using a map and compass. The course also includes an emphasis on leadership, character development, and an ethic of service. Whether navigating through rapids, paddling into headwinds, or carrying a heavy pack, wilderness travel is demanding. You do not need to have any previous experience, but arriving physically fit and excited for the opportunity for personal development will enhance your experience and allow you to take full advantage of the expedition.
This course is closed for the season. 2021 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 in four to six-person paddle rafts, and learn to “captain” (maneuver) their paddle raft team through Class II to III rapids. After lessons in basic river travel and safety, students will learn to read currents, anticipate obstacles, and scout rapids. Students will also learn river hydrology, swimming in currents, and paddle techniques. There may also be an opportunity for short day hikes.
Mountaineering courses move through high mountain terrain and focus on preparation for a peak attempt that may require the use of ropes, technical equipment, and possibly rock climbing or snow travel. Students will start by learning backpacking skills, map and compass navigation, and campsite selection, and progress to basic mountaineering skills. The Instructor-to-student ratio is never more than 1:5 during this section, allowing for personal coaching on the physical techniques of mountaineering, as well as tailoring the curriculum to the interests and aptitudes of individual course participants.
Service to others and to our environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Groups follow Leave No Trace ethics as they engage in acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Designated service projects are coordinated with land managers like the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service to collaborate on land restoration projects. Additionally, students may have the opportunity to work alongside select social service agencies like nursing homes, hospitals, and organic farms. Students see the impact of their actions firsthand, and may develop a desire to continue service in their home communities.
In order for profound learning to take place, students spend time reflecting 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 course length, 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 participant at regular intervals, as safety is always a top priority.
Courses typically end with a Challenge Event—an individual final physical push. This typically takes the form of an endurance run or triathlon-style challenge.
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.
Deschutes River, Oregon
The Deschutes River is part of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers System, flowing north from the Oregon Cascades to the Columbia River and then on to the Pacific Ocean. Courses generally travel anywhere from fifty to one hundred miles along the Lower Deschutes. The rapids on the Deschutes are rated to class IV, mostly class II-III. The group camps each night along the banks of the river.
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. The Central Cascade Range is home to the Three Sisters, Broken Top, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt. Jefferson. Active glaciers, traces of avalanches, and the volcanoes themselves are the perfect setting for learning the more technical aspects of mountaineering and backpacking. Depending upon the peak, your summit attempt may necessitate glacier and roped-team travel.
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.