Raft through desert canyons and climb volcanic peaks in the untamed wilderness of Oregon.
The Oregon Rafting & Rock Climbing 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 building critical teamwork and outdoor skills. You will learn climbing techniques, basic gear, knots, and rope systems amidst various rock formations. Along the wild and scenic Deschutes River, you will learn paddling methods, river hydrology, raft captaining and self-rescue techniques. The course also includes an emphasis on leadership, character development and an ethic of service. Whether navigating through rapids, hiking long distances to reach climbs, or keeping calm when exposed to heights, 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.
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.
For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean,
Thank you for your interest in Outward Bound!
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
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.
Course Start, welcome and introductions, duffle shuffle, course overview
Whitewater rafting: Use of PFD, safety topics, captaining a raft, reading water, swim assessment, navigation, and camp-craft skills. Opportunity for a day hike, rock jump, rock climbing, rappelling.
Complete the 96 mile river rafting section by taking out at Deschutes State Park. De-issue river gear. River closing and celebration.
Rock Climbing – orient to new environment and new equipment.
Rock Climbing: Introduction to rock climbing systems. Movement on rock, belaying, top roping and lowering. Experience various types of rock climbs and difficulties.
Personal Challenge Event, de-issue gear, de-brief, course end celebration and graduation
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.
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.
Students will receive individual instruction and test their skills against vertical cracks, steep faces and boulders. Among the skills students will learn are: basic climbing equipment, rope management, wearing harnesses, tying knots, belaying and rappelling techniques and movement on rock.
Service to others and to our environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Groups follow Recreate Responsibly 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.
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, as well as provide feedback that students implement on course and when they return to their communities.
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. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the Tenino 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.