This course is a tour de force of the American West that culminates with the opportunity to climb Ecuador’s highest peaks. As you travel through pristine mountains, into meandering canyons and across continents into a new culture, you’ll encounter considerable challenges that push you physically, emotionally and socially. These challenges offer a chance to discover your strengths and potential, and also to learn tools to help you better cope with difficult situations in the future. Through hands-on experience, learn the importance of compassion, service and social and environmental responsibility – and return home with a keen appreciation for giving to others, staying involved in your community and caring for the environment.
|CCGL-881||1.22.18 - 4.12.18||81||18 and up||$11,895||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.
Our Gap Year and Semester expeditions take you out of the classroom – and into the world. These courses are all about cultivating independence, developing technical skills, and engaging with the people and places around you. Learn from the best Instructors in the industry. Tackle challenges alongside a supportive crew of motivated peers. Amidst rugged natural landscapes, learn to lead and to follow; to give and receive feedback; and to trust in your own capabilities.
Outward Bound is accredited with the American Gap Association and is the longest running program in this elite group dedicated to providing safe, meaningful and high-caliber educational experiences to students.
Your decision to attend the Rockies to Ecuador Leadership Semester is an important commitment and should be made with complete awareness of the course's depth, challenges and complexity. You will live under Outward Bound values and guidelines in the field for 81 days and you will be a crucial part of making it a valuable experience for everyone in your patrol. The 8-20 people (depending on course size) you spend 81 days with - day and night, through hardship and exuberance, sunshine and foul weather, harmony and conflict, working together to overcome wilderness challenges - become like a small family and community. Many previous students have become best and lifelong friends. However, like any family or community, there are times when everyone gets along and times when they don’t.
However, the trust and camaraderie that develops among you is the key to your patrol’s success, and an integral part of your Outward Bound course. Through shared adventures, learn to accept and respect one another’s differences, minimize each other’s shortcomings and maximize each other’s strengths. Each member of the patrol makes a valuable contribution to what becomes a smoothly functioning team, capable of feats that would be unthinkable for an individual member.
Successful completion of your course demands mastery of skills, trust, fitness, confidence, tenacity, leadership, initiative and compassion. The technical skills gained on this course will benefit you in your outdoor pursuits in the future, but the true value of your course experiences lies in the “soft” skills: the essential abilities and characteristics of great citizens and leaders. They are applicable to all facets of life — school, career, relationships, community and home, as well as the out of doors. The promotion of these qualities, and the discovery of what’s in you, is the purpose of Outward Bound.
The course begins with lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. Along the way, students learn Leave No Trace techniques; map and compass navigation; camp craft; and get a feel for the human and natural history of the area. Students backpack in the valleys and long ridges, camp in basins with views like the top of the world, and stop along the way to explore microclimates and alpine ecosystems. Most importantly, students get to spend time in an incredible area of the mountains, sleep under the stars, feel the spring or fall sunshine on their face, and maybe watch a few sunsets over this magical landscape.
Our Mountaineering courses focus on teaching students the skills to climb technical peaks that require harnesses, ropes, and ice axes to successfully summit. Instructors train students to use all equipment necessary for technical mountaineering. During this course, students can expect to travel on and off trail over wooded and alpine terrain that can be rough, demanding, steep and exposed and may at times require the use of ropes and ice axes to traverse a slope or ascend a pass.
Peak Attempt: The expedition includes at least one peak ascent attempt. Peak attempts, with or without the use of ropes and technical gear, 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.
Canyoneering involves travel in canyons that are often narrow and steep with many obstacles to negotiate. Traveling through them requires a combination of scrambling up and down-climbing over boulders, rappelling, lowering packs and walking with your pack on.
This rugged, rocky terrain requires teamwork and effective decision-making. To meet the demands of technical terrain you encounter, instructors begin by teaching the foundational skills, such as basic movement over rock, necessary for efficient travel.
In the mountains 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 their fears and push themselves to places they never thought possible. Rock climbing/rappelling instruction is for all levels and includes basic climbing techniques, helmet and harness use, climbing commands and belaying.
The Rocky Mountains, one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world, stretch 3,000 miles from Alaska to New Mexico. These legendary peaks have had a profound influence on the development of the continental United States. These courses may take place in The Gore, The Holy Cross, The Sawatch, The Elks, The Sangre de Cristos, the Rawah or the San Juans. Each of these Colorado ranges present unique challenges, but they are all beautiful, wild, and rugged.
Canyon Country, Utah
The most spectacular aspects of the Utah desert are hidden within its vast canyon networks, formed by millennia of wind and water. In 1869, while exploring the Green and Colorado Rivers, John Wesley Powell first described what was then the largest uncharted area in the United States: the canyon lands. Now, as then, this area is desolate, mysterious and beautiful. It is made up of fascinating geological formations: sandstone and slickrock canyons which are sculpted into a labyrinth of alcoves, rock bridges, pinnacles, buttes, box canyons, ledges and arches.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
A surreal, magical landscape with Dr. Seuss like plants and many animal species which combine to create an alien-like landscape. The bizarre and jumbled rock formations have created one of the most popular and diverse climbing sites in the U.S., drawing both traditional and sport climbers. Set in the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree is made up of extensive 50' to 300' granite outcroppings. These provide over 5,000 different routes of all types and for all abilities. The variety of cracks, slabs, face and bouldering is what makes Joshua Tree a mecca for rock climbers. The sunny weather in the Mojave Desert is conducive to maximizing your time on the rock.
Ecuador is often referred to as the Jewel of the Andes and is a small paradise of biodiversity, with a wealth of landscapes and climates. With the Pacific Coastal beaches to the west and the steamy rainforests to the east, the Andes run north to south through Ecuador, creating a dramatic spine of mountainous highlands and peaks. The Ecuadorean Andes are home to the largest concentration of volcanoes in the world and are a vivid landscape of imposing glaciated volcanoes rising from misty cloud forests and lush valleys.
Our Ecuador portion of the semester explores the length of these highlands - from the historic capital city of Quito, through the high valleys and into the highest peaks of the country. Students have the opportunity to experience the wonderful culture of Ecuador, in addition to learning the basics of undertaking a high altitude glacial mountaineering expedition. Students will have several chances to summit volcanoes higher than 5000m (16,400ft). Students feel like they are standing on a floating island as they take in 360-degree views from the snow-cloaked summits above the clouds down into villages and farms in the high valleys and across to other spectacular volcanic peaks.
The course ends in Ecuador, which gives students the opportunity to stay on in Ecuador and travel on their own if they choose to do so.
"Students were challenged, they conquered fears ... Relationships formed, some made best friends, some fought, some were leaders, others followed and families were missed. Days were long, food was low, miles were logged, laughs were loud and singing was essential. Canyons were narrow, 5.10 seemed impossible, the Gore range glowed and the lightning was way too close. We created culture and experienced a new one, the altitude hurt, a volcano was summited. Some thought they couldn't do it, then they did. Some didn't. Crampons were forgotten, moments were shared, lives were lived like never before." - Vince, Outward Bound alumni
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.