Start out on the Deschutes River in Oregon, where you’ll build a strong group dynamic and also learn the rafting skills you’ll need for an international river expedition. Next, head into the Central Cascade mountain range for an intimate look at diverse mountain habitats and volcanic landscapes. The second half of the course takes place in India, where you’ll be joined by instructors from Outward Bound Himalaya. Head out on the Kuari Pass trek, where you’ll drink in Himalaya views and immerse yourself in local mountain culture. Then, after the challenge of the mountains, get on the Alaknanda River, a tributary of the Ganga. Float to its confluence with the Bhagirathi River, and then raft the Ganga River. The course ends in New Delhi. From here, you can opt to stay in India and travel on your own, or head home with a stash of vivid memories to share.
This course is closed for the season. 2018 dates coming October 25.
No two Outward Bound expeditions are ever quite the same. Every crew is unique; every route is distinct; and every adventure is dynamic. But one thing remains the same. On each course, students rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places – and find strength and determination along the way.
Students travel on the river in four to six person paddle rafts, and learn to “captain” (maneuver) their paddle raft team through Class II to IV rapids. After lessons in basic river travel and safety, students progress to learning to read currents, anticipating obstacles, scouting rapids, and negotiating technical portions of the river. Students 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.
Mountaineering/trekking 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. During this section of the course, students start by learning backpacking skills including on and off trail travel, map and compass navigation, and campsite selection. While in India, students learn to embrace the local traditions of large expeditions and use horses and support staff to move through the mountains. This allows participants to travel with light day packs and gives the opportunity to enjoy the surrounding landscape without the burden of a heavy pack. Please note that peak attempts are dependent upon variables such as weather, group dynamic and course outcomes.
Solo is an important part of the Outward Bound experience and allows students time to rest, recharge and reflect on their own development towards the end of the course. Solos may vary from a few hours up to three days depending on the length of the course, age and maturity of the students and itinerary of the expedition. During solo, students set up their own independent campsite near their instructors and spend their time resting, writing in their journal, enjoying the quiet of the wilderness and reflecting on their experience. Instructors will check on the students throughout their solo. For many students, solo is both a challenge and a respite and is often a highlight of their course.
This multi-element, international course provides the opportunity for full immersion into the Outward Bound experience, with more time for the personal growth that comes from facing both successes and failures. Through this longer experience, students become more comfortable living and working together in the wilderness while practicing the values of Outward Bound. These learnings transfer easily back home, where students can build upon them and continue to grow and develop after course.
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 cold water. Excellent geologic evidence is present all around this area. This course travels the entire 96-mile stretch of the Lower Deschutes. The rapids on the Deschutes are rated to Class IV, 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, and a railroad borders 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 the team. The Central Cascade range is home to the Three Sisters, Broken Top, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt. Jefferson. Four 10,000-foot glaciated volcanoes are present in this course area, with a total of nine major volcanoes. Students find a unique blend of dry eastside and moist west side weather conditions, which allow diverse types of vegetation to flourish, when they are not covered by the Cascades deep snowpack. The area has a complex geologic history that continues today. Students can find active glaciers methodically carving away the mountain and the dramatic traces of avalanches that altered the landscape. It is these features of the volcanoes that create a challenging playground from which the team learns the more technical aspects of mountaineering.
Kuari Pass Trek, Garhwal (Uttaranchal) India
The Kuari Pass trek, a classic route also called ‘Curzon’s Trail,’ wanders through mountain villages and forests of oak and rhododendron into the deodar belt and onto the high meadows with breathtaking views of the Himalaya. After crossing the Kuari Pass (3,658m/12,000ft,), students have an opportunity to summit Pangarchulli (5,000m/16,404ft). Frank Smythe, who came this way in 1931 en route to Kamet (7,757m/25,443ft), the second highest mountain in this region, summed it up beautifully. "We breasted the slope and halted, silent on the path. No words would express our delight. The Himalaya were arrayed before us in a stupendous arc". Some of the mountains seen are Kamet, Nilkanth (7,141m/23,425ft), Dunagiri (7,067m/23,182ft) and Changabang (6,864m/22,516ft), with even Nanda Devi herself visible. It is often said that this is one of the greatest mountain views in the world.
Alaknanda/Ganges River, India
After the challenge of the mountains, students head to the Alaknanda River, a tributary of the Ganga. Groups follow this river to its confluence with the Bhagirathi, and then raft the actual Ganga River. Getting a feel of a grand river and her environs, students camp on sandy beaches, check out small villages and look for elusive bird and wildlife. In Hinduism, the river Ganges is considered sacred and is personified as a goddess known as Ganga. It is worshipped by Hindus who believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins and facilitates Moksha (liberation from the cycle of life and death) the water of Ganga is considered very pure.
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