This six-day backpacking and rock climbing course offers veterans a unique opportunity for self-discovery in some of the oldest mountains in the world.
Home to hundreds of waterfalls, over a million acres of national forest, park and public land, unique rock formations and the highest peaks in the Eastern United States, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a beautiful, challenging natural environment for veterans discover or rediscover their true potential. Participants backpack for four days, spend one day rock climbing and rappelling and spend one day on a high ropes obstacle course, weather permitting. In addition to learning new skills in backcountry travel and climbing, participants build trust with their crew, practice leadership skills and develop initiative and compassion.
NOTE: Outward Bound strongly recommends that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 and up to date as defined by the CDC prior to arriving to their course start. For all open enrollment courses beginning on or after April 15, 2023, Outward Bound will no longer require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean,
Thank you for your interest in Outward Bound!
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.
Outward Bound Veterans expeditions build on camaraderie and the challenge of the natural world as a pathway to healing. These expeditions encourage participants to connect with existing strengths and bond with fellow veterans in a safe, positive, mission-driven environment. As they harness the power of wartime experiences like carrying heavy packs, moving fatigued muscles and sleeping outside, these courses help build the self-confidence and sense of purpose veterans need to continue serving as leaders in their families, communities and the nation.
Build core skills: Veterans receive hands-on training on expedition and personal skills. As part of an inclusive, supportive crew, they gain communication skills, establish trust and validate experiences among other veterans.
Practice Outward Bound values: Instructors focus on Outward Bound core values like compassion, integrity, excellence, inclusion and diversity to help veterans reflect, share insights and live in the present moment.
Process and Reflect: Journaling, one-on-one and group discussions help veterans understand how Outward Bound experiences might translate to coping skills back home.
What participants learn: Veterans return home inspired, ready to tap into rediscovered strengths and eager to find new ways to contribute to society.
Please note: Outward Bound expeditions for Veterans are designed for individuals (who do not already know each other) to come together to form an inclusive crew, work together to overcome adversity, and use the environment they’re in to learn as a team. If you have a group of 3 or more Veterans who already know each other, we have a different experience for that: please contact our National Admissions Office at 866-467-7651 to talk about custom group programs or fill out Custom Programs Form.
During this course, participants backpack in the Pisgah National forest of Western North Carolina. Participants learn risk management for backcountry foot travel, camp craft, how to navigate varied terrain, as well as how to do these activities responsibly using Leave No Trace principles. Equally important is time spent learning conflict resolution, communication styles, leadership and team building. After practicing these skills, instructors step back and let the crew work together to collectively navigate through the wilderness.
This course offers opportunities for veterans to:
Take a break from their busy lives
Challenge themselves in new ways
Develop skills that will assist them in re-adjusting to life at home
Candidly discuss obstacles faced by veterans and service members
Enjoy a unique and inspiring adventure surrounded by fellow veterans and service members in the beautiful country in which they served.
After having backpacked for a few days, students spend a day either climbing up a rock face or rappelling down one. With a focus on safety, this course activity starts with the basics, such as working with ropes and learning to tie knots. Depending on weather and group dynamics, the crew may even have the opportunity to experience a high ropes obstacle course. These activities push students to step outside their comfort zones and to communicate and trust one another.
The Southern Appalachians, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. While the mountains themselves formed over 250 million years ago, some of the rocks that underlie the region are over a billion years old.
The long geologic and evolutionary history of the Southern Appalachians has created one of the most biologically diverse regions in the temperate world. It is home to beautiful rushing rivers, hundreds of waterfalls, and some of the highest peaks in the Eastern United States—including Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Outward Bound students can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 different kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 different types of birds and over 50 species of amphibians.
This course area is situated within a million acres of national forests, federally protected wilderness areas and other public lands. Its diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures, including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.
Temperatures in this area range from 50-85 degrees in the summer, 30-65 degrees in the spring and fall, and 10-50 degrees in the winter.