Join a group of young explorers for an introductory wilderness experience that builds comfort and confidence with backcountry living skills while developing strong, fun and inclusive teams.
This all-girls eight-day backpacking course takes place in the Sawatch Range in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. All students who identify as girls are welcome to join! You’ll learn everything about thriving in the wilderness and discover new strengths within. You’ll also learn how to work as a team, each doing her part to support the group. Sleep under starry skies high up in the pristine Colorado Rockies. The Sawatch Range is sometimes called a “sea of mountains,” as reaching a summit gives you views of the many surrounding peaks.
NOTE: This course requires that students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
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For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean, click here.
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.
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 summited a high mountain ridge 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.
Build skills, form connections:Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
Demonstrate mastery:As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group. At the end of course, you and your crew will undergo a Personal Challenge Event.
What you’ll learn: For Middle School students, heading away from home means taking on new responsibilities and expectations with crewmates who are strangers when you first meet and trusted teammates by the end of your expedition. It’s all about confidence.
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.
Benefits of a Similarly-identifying Peer Group
In early adolescence, physical and cognitive development varies between boys and girls . Outward Bound has seen this in practice and has created gender specific early adolescent courses comprised of developmentally similar students who self-identify with the group. This allows Instructors to tailor teaching to each groups' unique abilities. Single gender courses provide affirming spaces to talk about fears and concerns, promote participation for girls in leadership roles, and lessen the potential for stereotyping behaviors to occur.
This eight-day course, like all Outward Bound expeditions, is 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, students learn camping and expedition basics, as well as the skills specific to the course activity. Students get to know fellow crew mates surprisingly well as they share this immersive and intense experience.
of Ben Sheppard
of Dan Susman
of Hannah Marshall
of Ian McConnell
of Ian McConnell
of Bob O'Rourke
of Mackenzie Mitchell
of Mackenzie Mitchell
of Mackenzie Mitchell
of Mackenzie Mitchell
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 an attempt to ascend a peak.
Service to people 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 community based, and students may serve at a horse rescue or renovating historic structures. As they see the impact of their actions firsthand, students develop a value of service and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home.
In order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. 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. 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 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 Instructors at regular intervals, as safety is always a top priority. 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.
The Sawatch Range
As you hike through alpine meadows full of columbine, paintbrush, and thistle, you’ll learn along the way how to slow down and appreciate the little things. The gentle contours make the Sawatch Range a perfect introduction to backpacking in the Colorado Rockies. This range forms a portion of the Continental Divide and contains 15 peaks with elevations higher than 14,000 feet including Mount Elbert, which is the highest peak in the Rockies. Sawatch comes from a Ute word meaning sand dune as some of the peaks have a sandy color after the spring snows melt. These peaks are high enough that snow typically lasts into late July and some years may last year round. These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) nation.
Course start at the Leadville Mountain Center: group challenges, games and high ropes course
Shuttle to the trailhead, begin backpacking
Peak attempt: You’ll get up before the sun and move quickly to get out of camp and start the ascent. From the summit you’ll get amazing views of the sea of mountains around you.
Solo: time to rest and reflect on how far you’ve come and what new things you have discovered about yourself.
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.