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.
The course will challenge new and experienced backpackers as your crew travels above 8,000 feet and completes high-mileage days. The length of this course, together with its single focus on backpacking, allows for longer travel distances and additional opportunities to implement feedback from Instructors and crew.
At Outward Bound, we are crew, not passengers. We support each other and share in our challenges and our victories. Your crew becomes a critical piece of your experience while on course, and beyond! While all our courses are inclusive for all gender identities, we understand the value of affinity spaces, too. This is a traditional Outward Bound course, specially designed for girls and gender-expansive students who are looking for this kind of community on their course. And when we say “for girls,” we mean we believe trans-girls are girls. You are welcome here – let’s adventure together!
You’ll learn technical skills like navigation and fine-tune leadership skills like effective communication and conflict resolution. Your group will learn and practice together – with the iconic Rocky Mountains and expansive starry skies as your classroom.
Students can expect a progression of activities to initiate personal growth and conversation about our unique and shared experiences. We will spend time having guided discussions on a variety of topics, as well as opportunities for individual reflection, while embracing the affirming and healing powers of nature.
Outward Bound’s affinity courses are designed to build community and cultivate self-efficacy. Expeditions are led by trained Instructors and aim to create a safe space for those who have experienced being marginalized due to their identity, and/or are exploring their gender identity. Outward Bound is a place for all people to learn, grow, make friends, and have fun! We encourage you to talk with one of our course advisors if you have questions about which course is the best fit for you.
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.
Affinity Groups, Gender-expansive, High School , Middle School, Single Gender
Alpine Backpacking, Ropes Course, Service, Base Camp
Basic First Aid
Food Preparation and Cooking
Map and Compass
Positive Risk Taking
This course is closed for the season.
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.
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.
Travel back to base camp.
Personal Challenge Event and course end
Course start, team building activities, high ropes course
Begin backpacking. Skills focusing on: learning how to build a shelter, loading a pack, hiking on and off trail, reading a map and compass, and cooking
It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.
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: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and independence.
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.
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.
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.
Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home. Past projects have included working on a goat farm, building trails, cleaning trash and debris from natural spaces, working with a local community garden, and removing invasive species.
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 Colorado Rocky Mountains, one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world, stretch 3,000 miles from Alaska to New Mexico. Colorado offers the greatest concentration of peaks above 13,000 feet in continental U.S., with hundreds of “Thirteeners” (13,000+ feet in elevation) and 54 “Fourteeners” (14,000+ feet in elevation). The state is famous for its abundant wilderness adventure possibilities, from skiing to rock climbing to mountaineering. Colorado courses may take place in The Gore, The Holy Cross, The Sawatch, The Elks, The Sangre de Cristos, the Rawah or the San Juans. Each of these Colorado ranges present unique challenges, but are all beautiful, wild and rugged. These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Cheyenne, Arapaho, Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux), Eastern Shoshone, Jicarilla Apache, and Pueblos nations.
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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.