Develop outdoor skills. Enhance your leadership and communication abilities. Strive to increase your knowledge of the environment - all while you learn wilderness travel techniques in a variety of natural Utah environments. The ultimate goal of the semester is to develop the confidence, knowledge and integrity essential for effective leadership. Whether you are learning how to safely tie in on belay, deciding as a group how to navigate through new terrain, or setting up a minimum-impact campsite for the evening, you’ll be reinforcing, honing and practicing skills for life.
|CUGL-871||3.4.18 - 4.22.18||50||18 and up||$7,895||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.
Making up more than half of this 50-day course, 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 coordinate spacing and paddle strokes. They will have an opportunity to be the captain of their raft and practice new skills as they maneuver through technical rapids and scenic flatwater 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.
*Summer semesters only, subject to water levels
In addition to rafts, students also go downriver in sit-on-top kayaks. Sit-on-top kayaks combine stability with maneuverability. Students take their experience predicting whitewater and hydrology from the rafts and apply it to a smaller, yet more responsive watercraft. In a kayak students move, predict and react with every movement of the water and are met with exhilaration as they charge through crashing waves and negotiate the river’s obstacles. Students learn new skills specific to kayaking: eddy turns, bracing, surfing and self-rescue. Students travel close together and support one another through rapids, and share stories of each rapid with ear-to-ear grins. With these boats, everything depends on the student: their effort, their planning and their decisions.
*Spring and fall semesters only.
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 packs on. 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 two-week section, students will experience technical canyoneering, slot canyons, day hikes and canyon backpacking.
Nearly a week of the course is dedicated to canyon backpacking. Students backpack in the canyons and out across the mesas, camp on vast expanses of desert slickrock, and stop along the way to explore amazing ruins and interesting geology. Most importantly, students spend time in an incredible area of the desert, sleep under the stars, feel the sunshine on their face, and maybe watch a few sunsets over this simple but magical landscape.
Students will take a break from rafting and 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.
Course areas may vary and will include some, but not all of the locations listed below.
La Sal Mountains, Utah
The La Sal Mountains rise dramatically out of the desert, towering 9,000 feet above the surrounding canyonlands and the sporting mecca of Moab. The La Sals are known for their groves of aspen, rich amount of wildlife, high summits and incredible views overlooking Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and the Four Corners area. Hidden lakes dot the landscape. Peaks in the La Sals range from 10,000 to just under 13,000 feet and include the highest peaks in Southern Utah.
The Uintas are Utah's highest mountain range with Kings Peak rising more than 13,000 feet above sea level. The Uintas are dotted with alpine lakes and have vast expanses of terrain above treeline within one of Utah's largest designated wilderness areas.
Canyon Country, Utah
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 erosion. The canyonlands of Southern Utah are still as stunning, mysterious and wild as they were for the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont Indians who roamed these lands over 800 years ago, and whose ruins and rock art still abound in the canyons. The sandstone canyons are a geological playground with scrambling, teamwork and rappelling. They are composed of a spell-binding labyrinth of alcoves, fins, pinnacles, buttes, towering walls, ledges and arches just waiting to be explored.
San Juan River, Utah
The San Juan River in southern Utah; a major tributary of the Colorado River, flows 83 miles through the deeply incised sandstone slick rock country of the Colorado Plateau in many tight bends. The San Juan is world renowned for archaeological sites of ancient Indians 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.
Desolation/Gray Canyon on the Green River, Utah
Deeper in some spots than the Grand Canyon, Desolation Canyon is characterized by spectacular rock formations, ancient Indian rock art and abandoned ranches including the McPherson Ranch (once frequented by Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-Wall gang). The tiered rock walls of Desolation give way to the earthy bluffs of Gray Canyon, creating a striking contrast in scenery for the last 25 miles of the journey.
Gates of Lodore on the Green River, Colorado and Utah
Whitewater on the Green River begins the start of the course where the river enters the imposing Gates of Lodore. Red sandstone escarpments rise up 2,000 feet above the river as it carves a 45-mile course of placid flat-water and raging rapids through three dramatic canyons — Lodore, Whirlpool and Split Mountain. This section of river is enclosed within Dinosaur National Monument, and students will be privileged to witness the towering cliffs as well as rock art from the Fremont Indians, who called these canyons home over 1,000 years ago.
Cataract Canyon of the Colorado River
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.”
The 50-day Southwest Leadership Semester journeys through mountains, canyons, deserts and rivers by way of rafting, canyoneering, backpacking and kayaking, in one of the most geologically stunning landscapes in the world.
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.