With a focus on self-realization, goals and decision-making, this 30-day Pathfinder expedition will help you explore your next step in life.
In the simplicity and challenge that only the mountains can provide, there will be space to reflect in nature and push yourself. This course can guide you towards life independence while providing a platform of confidence to make it happen. You’ll be immersed in the wilderness, learning the skills necessary to travel in wilderness terrain, carry your own gear, navigate a tricky trail or rock face and live and work together with your crewmates.
Instructors will guide you in leadership skills such as communication, collaboration and conflict resolution - the skills you’ll need to navigate your life path wherever it may lead. In the final days of the course, time is reserved for you to call your family and share your course experience with new found goals for the future.
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.
Backpacking expedition (Introductory lessons to backpacking, camp craft, and navigation)
1st Resupply, Service project, transition to Rock Section
Rock Climbing Section (belaying, rappelling, anchor building, mock leading)
2nd Resupply (Backcountry), Service
Solo, backpacking, peak attempts
Personal Challenge Event, service project
De-issue gear, graduation ceremony, phone calls to family to share goals and course experience
Sometimes the noise of daily life makes it difficult to know what we really want, to set clear goals for ourselves, and to forge a path forward. Here’s your reset button. Our Pathfinder expeditions are designed to support students in increasing self-knowledge and awareness, improving goal-setting and decision-making processes, and developing perseverance and self-efficacy. As in the field, so in life: challenge yourself to dream big, then identify your steps to get there and start moving. We’ll put the map in your hands. You chart your path.
Build skills, form connections: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork, adaptability and leadership skills. Participants will have the opportunity to chart a path and pursue it with their own motivation as extra fuel.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Resiliency to recover from set-backs is a treasured and useful skill that will play a part in any Pathfinder expedition. Participants will explore answers to their most pressing questions about what they value, where their strengths lie and what direction their lives will take next.
Demonstrate mastery: As students gain confidence in new skills, they will take on more leadership and decision-making responsibilities and gain a deeper understanding of who they are as individuals. The entire crew will work together and individually to achieve goals, solve problems and succeed.
What you’ll learn: After spending 30 days in the wilderness, you’ll have mastered multiple outdoor skills and you’ll know what it takes to traverse mountain passes, climb the steepest cliffs and successfully navigate the challenges of the natural world around you. You’ll discover more about your true self and what you want to achieve, how you overcome setbacks and, most importantly, how to move forward to reach important milestones.
Return home after broadening your horizons, learning how to adapt to new environments and trying untested possibilities, with an action plan for the future. With newfound leadership potential, self-awareness, and problem-solving skills, you’ll be ready for your next big step.
The first phase of this course is spent learning backpacking skills including group travel, gear selection and use, map and compass navigation, back country cooking techniques, weather/hazard assessment, camp craft, communication skills and effective teamwork. Participants will travel both on and off-trail to develop their technical skills, while Instructors teach and facilitate the interpersonal skills needed for participants to function effectively as a team, accomplish goals and tackle new challenges every day. Challenges on course are designed to guide participants toward taking risks, drawing upon inner resources and developing trust in one another. One such challenge might include a peak attempt. With lighter packs, participants will start before the sun rises to summit a mountain and be rewarded with 360 degree views and an incredible sense of accomplishment.
Several days will focus specifically on skills associated with technical rock climbing including knots, anchors, movement over rock, top-rope belaying, equipment use and care of harnesses and other items. Participants will have ample opportunity to actively improve their personal skill with various types of outdoor, granite climbs. The climbing section provides an introduction to personal climbing skills while building trust among crew members as they belay one another and set goals as a group.
As the course progresses and the group's skill and experience increase, Instructors will turn more responsibility over to the crew. Participants will eventually take over decision making on navigation, route finding, sharing of duties, campsite set up and daily routines. This section is the culminating opportunity where participants use the teamwork, communication and technical abilities they have learned on course to make the remaining time their own, unique experience and to achieve autonomy as a crew.
Service to others and to the environment are core values of Outward Bound and they are integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as part of their service to the environment. Students develop an ingrained appreciation of service, seeing the impact of their actions, firsthand, by multiple small acts of service with and for their crewmates while leading and supporting each other throughout the journey.
Outward Bound believes in order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. Within course, the solo is that opportunity. It is a chance to experience solitude in the wilderness without distraction while also taking a break from the physical rigors of course. Students are separated from their group for a period of time which depends on course length and Instructor assessment of group capability. Solo sites are chosen to provide solitude. Participants have all necessary equipment, food and water. Solos range in length from 12 hours to 72 hours.
Outward Bound courses vary in length from four (4) to 85 days. On shorter courses, participants will receive an introduction to leadership skills, strength of character and a desire to serve while activities fill most of the time and the pace is quick. With longer courses, the same outcomes and benefits are achieved with the opportunity to reach a more profound level of mastery as there are more chances to develop technical skills, receive and implement feedback and further personal development. However many days the expedition lasts, the strength and impact of the experience lasts a lifetime.
Backpacking, rock climbing and wilderness navigation techniques are great practice for the essential skills and habits that help prepare for new challenges at school, work, home and in the community. Outward Bound expeditions encourage students:
to remain engaged and present, giving every challenge the best effort, even when the goal seems beyond reach.
to form a team and focus on the team effort.
to share responsibilities, communicate and lead. Leadership roles are shared within the group, and responsibilities rotate each day.
to find reserves of tenacity and compassion. Outward Bound courses are designed to expand and stretch your limits so that every expedition is a true accomplishment and a memorable journey.
The Sierra Nevada range is California’s backyard and wonderland of wilderness, waterfalls, lakes and peaks. It’s an enormous range – spanning more than 400 miles from north to south, and 70 miles east to west. Courses take place in the southern and western parts of the Sierras: Ansel Adams Wilderness and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park.
Summer and Early Fall in the High Sierra is mostly sunny, with occasional rain and cold evenings. Snowfall is unlikely, though June courses may traverse atop lingering winter and spring snow. Summer temperature tends towards the 70s to 80s during the day, dipping into the 30s to 50s in the evening and night.
These regions are the ancestral lands of the Northern Paiute, Western Mono/Monache, Me-Wuk (Central Sierra Miwok), Eastern Mono/Monache, and Tübatulabal nations. We acknowledge them as the past, present, and future caretakers of this land, and also pay respect to their elders, both past and present. We recognize and continually support and advocate for the sovereignty of the Native nations of this territory and beyond. By offering this land acknowledgment we affirm tribal sovereignty, commit to working to support these tribes, and commit to holding Outward Bound California accountable to this work.
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.