"That night I told everyone when we were sitting around the fire, reflecting on our day, that I was surprised that they were comfortable with me captaining them. Some people jokingly said that they were not, I fully expected that. But once the laughs died down, I had 14 people looking back at me smiling, complimenting me on my bravery and capability. I have never been more taken aback and appreciative than during that group reflection period." - Parker Mikesh, Outward Bound alumnus
Discover your strengths and learn skills that will shape your future on this 30-day rafting and canyon backpacking expedition. Backpack in the canyons and out across the mesas. See countless stars dotting an inky black nighttime sky. Stop along the way to explore amazing ruins or stand on top of a summit, gazing for over 100 miles in every direction. Experience the discipline of rock climbing or the rush of rappelling. Encounter exciting rapids that compare in scale to those of the Grand Canyon. In the nearby canyons, explore fantastic rock shapes carved by the whimsical forces of nature. At every step of the journey, focus on leadership skills such as communication, collaboration, decision-making and conflict resolution; skills you can fall back on in many situations throughout life.
|CUPO-861||3.18.18 - 4.16.18||30||18 - 25||
|CUPO-862||10.6.18 - 11.4.18||30||18 - 25||$5,995||ENROLL|
|CUPO-961||3.17.19 - 4.15.19||30||18 - 25||$5,995||ENROLL|
This course may be full or preparing to leave in the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
Sometimes you don’t know where you want to go in life until you spend a few weeks in the middle of nowhere. Pathfinder expeditions give you time and space to understand what’s important to you and the skills to get there. Over the next 30 days, you’ll rise to meet natural challenges, becoming accustomed to setting goals, making decisions, and recovering from set-backs, all of which help clarify bigger choices that await you in life beyond your course.
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.
Each day on the river is spent learning to recognize and navigate various obstacles and hazards in the river, and how to anticipate the forces of the current from far enough upstream. Participants will work to become a team, coordinating spacing and paddle strokes. They will have an opportunity to be the captain of their raft and practice new skills as they maneuver through adrenaline-filled rapids and flat-water sections.
In places, the canyon rims rise thousands of feet above, enclosing participants in a remote world of rushing water, delicate ecosystems and unbelievable beauty. Most courses get the opportunity to take day hikes away from the river and up to the canyon rim. These hikes provide amazing views, a change of pace and often the chance to see Native American ruins, petroglyphs, pictographs and strange but beautiful geological formations.
Canyoneering is like running the most exciting adventure course imaginable. Each obstacle occurs naturally - made by the power of water coursing across the desert, making its way to the river. A combination of climbing, scrambling, rappelling, hiking, and even swimming may be involved in getting through this unreal terrain. The adventure begins by hiking across the sunny desert mesa to drop into a canyon via rappel. As students travel further down, the canyon narrows, twists, turns, and drops, creating eerie cavelike conditions. Sunlight bouncing off the walls from far above causes the sandstone walls to glow red and orange. Exiting the canyon back into the desert daylight feels like returning from another world. This rugged, rocky terrain requires teamwork and effective decision-making. To meet the demands of technical terrain, instructors begin by teaching the foundational skills necessary for efficient travel, such as basic movement over rock. Over this section, students will experience technical canyoneering, slot canyons, day hikes and canyon backpacking.
Backpackers carry everything they need - food, shelter, clothing and gear – allowing them to go deep into the wilderness where few people go. Students feel a sense of freedom from deadlines and task lists as they grow accustomed to eating when hungry, setting up camp when tired and having complete control over what they accomplish each day. The simplicity of hiking gives students the opportunity to focus internally on their own thoughts and self-reliance, as well as externally to connect deeply with others as they talk, sing, play games and spend time together without distraction.
This course will begin with lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. Along the way, students learn Leave No Trace techniques, map and compass navigation and camp craft as they get a feel for the human and natural history of the area. Students backpack along valleys and long ridges, camp in basins with views of the top of the world and stop along the way to explore microclimates and alpine ecosystems. Most importantly, students spend time in an incredible area, sleep under the stars, feel the sunshine on their face and maybe watch a few sunsets over this magical landscape.
The expedition includes at least one peak attempt. Peak attempts are major enterprises and typically require early morning starts and take all day to complete. Weather or other factors including group dynamics and physical ability may preclude even an attempt to ascend a peak.
In the canyons or on the river students spend a day experiencing the thrill and grace of rock climbing or the control and exhilaration of rappelling. This is a great opportunity for students to challenge fears and push themselves to do things they never thought possible. Rock climbing or rappelling instruction is for all levels and includes basic climbing techniques, helmet and harness use, climbing commands and belaying.
Service to others and the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do 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. Some projects are more social services based, and participants may visit a nursing home or hospital to provide service there. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home. Past projects have included working on a goat farm, building trails, cleaning trash and debris from natural spaces, working with a local community garden, and removing invasive species.
In order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. Solo is that opportunity, and that time can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours or more, depending on the length of the course. Weather and time permitting, 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. Many students use this reflection time to make decisions about their future, journal and enjoy the beauty of their surroundings unencumbered by the constant external stimulation of modern life. The duration of Solo depends on the course length and type, as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group. With all the food, skills and supplies they need, participants are given a secluded spot to reflect alone and are monitored by staff throughout the experience to maintain safety. Students find that Solo provokes profound and powerful learning in a short period of time and often becomes one of the most memorable parts of their Outward Bound experience.
Whether you go on an 8-day course or an 80 day course, all Outward Bound expeditions are focused on building character and leadership skills. Short courses are a great option for students looking for an introduction to the outdoors or for those who need a quick recharge. On shorter courses, you’ll learn camping and expedition basics, as well as the skills specific to your course activity such as climbing or rafting. You’ll get to know your fellow crew mates surprisingly well as you share this immersive and intense experience.
On longer courses, your Instructors will progressively hand over more of the decision making and leadership of the expedition to you and your crewmates, allowing each person to test the new technical and interpersonal skills they have learned. On semesters, you will learn advanced technical skills and on some courses, earn certifications. Longer courses give your crew the opportunity to get past the “honeymoon” stage where individuals show more of their “real” selves. Through the dynamics of an evolving group setting, you will have more freedom to investigate who you are and how you want to develop personally, and to start that inner journey. Longer solos will give you more time to reflect on your course and your life direction. All along the way, you will experience a wide variety of some of the most beautiful wilderness in the US and the world.
The most spectacular aspects of the Utah landscape are the hidden treasures found within its vast canyon networks, formed by millennia of wind and water. The Canyonlands of Southern Utah are still as stunning, mysterious and wild as they were for the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont Native Americans who roamed these lands over 800 years ago, and whose ruins and rock art still abound in the canyons. The canyons are composed of a spell-binding labyrinth of alcoves, fins, pinnacles, buttes, towering walls, ledges and arches just waiting to be explored. Canyoneering courses also venture into narrower, deeper chasms two feet wide with walls several hundred feet on each side. These sandstone slot canyons are a geological playground for scrambling, teamwork and rappelling.
Cataract Canyon of the Colorado River, Utah
One of the most rugged and beautiful canyons in the West, Cataract Canyon cuts through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Natural wonders and ancient ruins are found in the canyon on the way to the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers. The Colorado River roars through 31 exciting rapids that rate with those of the Grand Canyon in power and difficulty, including the famous Mile Long Rapids and “the Big Drops.”
San Juan River, Utah
The San Juan River in southern Utah is a major tributary of the Colorado River, flowing 83 miles through the deeply incised sandstone slick rock country of the Colorado Plateau in numerous tight bends. The San Juan is world-renowned for archaeological sites of the Fremont and Anasazi featuring both petroglyphs and spacious cliff dwellings, accessible on side hikes from the river. The San Juan River is also well known for its exquisite natural scenery as you’ll soon find out once you are deep within the towering canyon walls.
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.