Alpine Backpacking, Service, Whitewater Rafting, Base Camp
Basic First Aid
Food Preparation and Cooking
Leave No Trace Methods & Ethics
Positive Risk Taking
Sense of Social Connection
Challenge yourself physically and mentally while experiencing some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the country.
The Oregon Rafting, Mountaineering & Rock-Climbing course offers adventures on the Deschutes River, as well as in the Central Cascade Range and at the world-famous Smith Rock State Park. You’ll have the opportunity to escape your usual routine, explore stunning wilderness areas and enjoy yourself to the fullest. You’ll learn climbing safety and equipment, including knots and systems amidst towering geologic formations. Your team will learn paddling techniques, river hydrology, raft captaining and self-rescue techniques as you raft the Deschutes River. The mountain expedition brings you through diverse mountain landscapes including snow-capped volcanoes. Every aspect of this course will enhance your camp craft skills, including navigation using a map and compass. Building critical skills in teamwork and outdoor skills are an integral part of this course, enhanced by the emphasis on leadership, character development and an ethic of service. Wilderness travel can be challenging, but with appropriate pre-course preparation, using tools we provide, adults of various ages and body types can be successful. You don’t need to have any previous experience but arriving as physically fit as possible and excited for the opportunity for personal development will enhance your experience and allow you to take full advantage of the expedition.
NOTE: For details on current COVID-19 policies, including vaccination, please contact an Admissions Advisor at the National Admissions Office at 866-467-7651.
This course is closed for the season. 2023 courses coming soon.
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!
Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist spots will become available. In the event a spot becomes available, those on the waitlist may have an opportunity to secure the available spot. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. Upon completion of your application, a $500 deposit is required to reserve the waitlist spot. If you choose to remove your application from the waitlist, or if a spot does not become available, you will be refunded the $500 deposit. If a spot becomes available and you elect not to take it, Outward Bound will keep $150 of the deposit.
Waitlist spots are prioritized in the order of returned paperwork, not in the order applications are received, so be sure to return the initial paperwork as soon as possible! Please be aware that waitlist spots may become available up to two weeks before the course starts. While cancellations do occur, we cannot guarantee a spot will become available. Applicants may only be listed on one waitlist. If there is another course that still has availability and is also of interest to you, we recommend applying for that course instead. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
ENROLLMENT CLOSED 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.
Do you ever want to unplug, step away from the daily grind to take on new challenges? Are you ready to conquer harder skills and remind your senses (or discover for the first time) what it’s like to crest a mountain peak, hear the echoes at the edge of a vast canyon or feel the rush of white water spray on your face? Take a break from your routine, radically change your surroundings and test your tenacity. Put some “firsts” in front of you and find moments of unexpected discovery along the way. Experience Outward Bound as an adult and prepare for an injection of adventure, awareness and adaptability that sticks with you long after you unpack your backpack.
Build skills, form connections: Meet like-minded peers and make connections as you work through priorities and adventures together, learn outdoor skills at the hands of expert Instructors, and earn every good night’s sleep.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Re-discover your inner strength, renew your natural leadership abilities and practice adapting to new environments. Tap in to your trust and compassion as you tackle obstacles with a support crew standing beside you.
Demonstrate mastery: As you awaken your wilderness skills and dig deep to rise to the physical and mental challenges, the bulk of the expedition’s leadership and decision-making responsibilities transfer from the Instructor to the crew. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both individually and together.
What you’ll learn: Watch, try and share more difficult outdoor skills that you’ll master on your expedition. Discover and then remind yourself that there’s more in you than you know. Having taken the risks, learned from and adapted to all sorts of new situations and environments, you’re ready for whatever life hands you going forward.
Return home with newly expanded wilderness abilities, an energized outlook, a rekindled allowance of empathy into situations and relationships and an eye toward the future.
of Colby Blue
of Colby Blue
of Kim Budd
Students will travel on the river in four to six-person paddle rafts, and learn to “captain” (maneuver) their paddle raft team through Class II to III rapids. After lessons in basic river travel and safety, students will learn to read currents, anticipate obstacles, and scout rapids. Students will also learn river hydrology, swimming in currents, and paddle techniques. There may also be an opportunity for short day hikes.
of Colby Blue
of Colby Blue
of Colby Blue
of Colby Blue
of Jor El Zajatz
Students will receive individual instruction and test their skills against the vertical cracks, steep faces and boulders of Smith Rock State Park. Among the skills students will learn are: basic climbing equipment, rope management, wearing harnesses, tying knots, belaying and rappelling techniques and movement on rock.
of Rachel Grasso
of Rachel Grasso
Mountaineering courses move through high mountain terrain and focus on preparation for a peak attempt that may require the use of ropes, technical equipment, and possibly rock climbing or snow travel. Students will start by learning backpacking skills, map and compass navigation, and campsite selection, and progress to basic mountaineering skills. The Instructor-to-student ratio is never more than 1:5 during this section, allowing for personal coaching on the physical techniques of mountaineering, as well as tailoring the curriculum to the interests and aptitudes of individual course participants.
Service to others and to our environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Groups follow Leave No Trace ethics as they engage in 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. Students see the impact of their actions firsthand, and may develop a desire to continue service in their home communities.
In order for profound learning to take place, students spend time reflecting on their experience, and Solo is that opportunity. 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. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up camp at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first portions of the course. The amount of time students spend on Solo is based on course length, weather, student condition, age, and Instructor preference. Solo campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their Solo time journaling, drawing, reflecting, thinking and resting as they process lessons of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at regular intervals, as safety is always a top priority.
Outward Bound believes that an appropriate amount of independence is a powerful educational tool. During the travel sections of this course, Outward Bound instructors purposefully and gradually transfer certain leadership responsibilities to the students culminating with our “final expedition.” Near the end of course—if the group has demonstrated the necessary leadership, team problem solving and wilderness living skills—students may have the opportunity to travel without instructors immediately present. Many of our students feel this phase of the course is the most rewarding, as the group learns to work as a team, problem solve, and accomplish a goal independently, while utilizing all the skills they have acquired.
Courses typically end with a Challenge Event—an individual final physical push. This typically takes the form of an endurance run or triathlon-style challenge
of Ari Kosal
Central Cascades, Oregon
Volcanoes dot the spine of the Cascade Mountains, rising over 10,000 feet above the forests, lakes, and rivers of the surrounding region. The Central Cascade Range is home to the Three Sisters, Broken Top, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt. Jefferson. Active glaciers, traces of avalanches, and the volcanoes themselves are the perfect setting for learning the more technical aspects of mountaineering and backpacking. Depending upon the peak, your summit attempt may necessitate glacier and roped-team travel. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Yoncalla, Molalla, Kalapuya, Tenino and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs nations.
Deschutes River, Oregon
The Deschutes River is part of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers System, flowing north from the Oregon Cascades to the Columbia River and then on to the Pacific Ocean. Courses generally travel anywhere from fifty to one hundred miles along the Lower Deschutes. The rapids on the Deschutes are rated to class IV, mostly class II-III. The group camps each night along the banks of the river. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the Tenino nations.
Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
Smith Rock State Park is a world-renowned climbing destination that attracts climbers of every ability level. The Crooked River winds its way through the canyon, and to the west, the snow-capped volcanoes of the Cascade Range rise on the horizon. One of the most striking features is a prominent spire, Monkey Face. Given the dry and temperate climate, rock climbing is feasible most of the year. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the Tenino nations.
Personal Challenge Event, de-issue gear, graduation and celebration
Course end, transportation home
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.