Come explore the volcanic landscape of the Pacific Northwest on this rafting and rock climbing course. The wild and scenic Deschutes River flows from the snowcapped Central Cascades all the way to the Columbia River. A spring-fed river, the Deschutes has a very consistent flow throughout the year and offers rapids ranging from Class II to Class IV. This expedition will take you 97 miles through a beautiful desert river corridor carved through volcanic basalt and schist. Traveling down river for the first six 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.
Smith Rock State Park, a world renowned climbing destination, serves as the location for the second section of the course. You will learn about basic climbing equipment and techniques, rope management, wearing harnesses, tying knots, belaying and rappelling techniques and movement on rock. You will then test your skills against the vertical cracks, steep faces and boulders in the area.
Two unique technical skills, rafting and rock climbing, combined with stunning natural environments, make this a powerful and memorable course for you to experience with Outward Bound that will stay with you long after you come home.
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 will progress into 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. While on the rafting expedition, 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. Camping will be in a front country site at Smith Rock State Park among the multicolored cliffs and spires. Students will learn about basic climbing equipment, rope management, knots, belaying and rappelling techniques and movement on rock.
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 with consistently cold water. Excellent geologic evidence is present all around this 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.
Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
Smith Rock is widely considered to be one of the best sport climbing areas in the country and the variety of climbing offered attracts climbers of every ability level. It is a uniquely beautiful area that commonly graces postcards and calendars. The Crooked River lazily winds its way through the canyon, cutting a path through the cliffs and spires. To the west, the snow-capped volcanoes of the Cascade Range rise on the horizon, above the flat checkerboard of irrigated plains. One of the most striking features is a prominent spire called the Monkey Face. Given the dry and temperate climate, rock climbing is feasible most of the year.
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.