Both the 15 and 22-day Washington Sea Kayaking and Alpine Backpacking courses begin in the San Juan Islands, a maze of islands surrounded by swirling currents, and world-renowned as a paddling destination. You’ll start with the basics and progress quickly as a paddler, immersed in learning through expedition experience, learning advanced paddle strokes, rescue techniques, and marine natural history. Moving camp from island to island, you and your crew will learn how to pack for expeditionary travel, build camp and cook using Leave No Trace ® ethics, and work together as a motivated, goal-oriented, cohesive team. All this learning transfers well into the North Cascades, where you’ll trade your charts for maps and learn mountain navigation. You’ll travel both on and off the trail through fir forest valleys and high wildflower meadows, and scramble to rocky summits.
|WWTJ-842||8.10.18 - 8.24.18||15||16 - 18||$3,500||CALL|
This course may be full or preparing to leave in the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
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 conquered a high mountain ridge, made a boat obey your command in windswept waves 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.
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.
Students will seek out beaches where they will sleep under the stars and get acquainted with the fascinating natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest coast. Instructors will teach the teamwork and communication skills necessary to travel as a group of kayaks in a working waterway. Students may also have the opportunity to do a service project with a local land agency, hike to an island vista, or just comb the beach. Our 15-day and 22-day courses follow a similar progression, with the 22-day courses allowing for more advanced skills and the opportunity to visit and camp on more islands.
During the backpacking section the group will be transported to the North Cascades where students will hike into the Sawtooth, Pasayten, or Glacier Peak Wilderness area. Students will travel with backpacks on and off trail through rugged mountain terrain. The overall technical emphasis of this section is to learn backpacking skills, Leave No TraceÒ methods, and develop navigation and camp-craft skills. Leadership, communication, and responsibility will continue to be developed as the the group prepares for the “final expedition.” Our 15-day courses tend to focus on navigation, wilderness travel and backpacking skills. Our 22-day courses follow a similar progression but allow for increased skill mastery and opportunities for more autonomous travel as a team. The third week of course is when many groups truly come together as a well-functioning expeditionary team.
The course will include at least one peak attempt depending upon the weather and the group’s physical preparedness. Peak attempts are day-long enterprises often entailing pre-dawn starts. Successful peak climbs require patience, efficiency and teamwork to attain the summit. Our 22-day courses frequently involve multiple or more involved peak attempts, a longer solo period, and a chance to explore and travel deeper into the backcountry.
The course includes at least one peak attempt, depending upon the weather and the students’ physical preparedness. Peak attempts are day-long enterprises often entailing pre-dawn starts. Successful peak climbs require patience, efficiency and teamwork to attain the summit. On 22-day courses they frequently involve roped climbing on snow and/or rock, utilizing technical mountaineering skills.
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. Additionally, students may have the opportunity to work alongside select social service agencies like nursing homes, hospitals and organic farms. Participants develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand 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. Solo is that opportunity, and that time can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. It is a chance to experience solitude in the wilderness without distraction while also taking a break from the physical rigors of activities. Students experience short periods of time away from their group throughout the course for reflection. These “mini-solos” are at solo sites chosen by Instructors to provide as much solitude as possible (within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Participants have all necessary equipment, food and water during their Solo time, and safety is always the top priority.
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.
Kayaking, backpacking 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:
San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, Washington
Nestled between Vancouver Island and the North Cascades, the San Juan Islands are a unique coastal cruising ground with large expanses of sparkling water and mountain scenery. Students will encounter coastlines with a combination of sandy and rocky beaches, shallow and deep harbors, placid and reef-studded bays. Knotty, twisted madrona trees grow along much of the shorelines while evergreen fir and pine forests cover large inland areas. Sightings of harbor seals, porpoise and eagles are common as well as the occasional glimpse of an Orca whale. The islands get less average rainfall than the surrounding area due to the rain-shadow effect of the Olympic Mountains. Summertime high temperatures are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit while lows could be in the 40s.
The North Cascades, Washington
The North Cascades are called the “American Alps” for their rugged beauty and glaciated peaks; they remain some of the wildest and most unrestricted wilderness in the United States. The North Cascades host the greatest concentration of glaciers in the “Lower 48” and are full of high mountain meadows peppered with wild flowers. The Outward Bound course area hosts some of the most stunning alpine climbing and backpacking routes in the United States. Our backpacking programs operate in the Pasayten Wilderness and North Cascades National Park on the east side of the North Cascades and receive significantly less rainfall than the western coast of Washington. Early-season courses (May, June) may spend time camping on snow, while mid-summer courses tend to have more moderate temperatures.
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.