This backpacking expedition is an exceptional opportunity for veterans to find challenge, purpose and camaraderie – and develop skills and confidence that they bring home to their communities, careers and families.
Alpine backpacking in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is a spectacular way to explore some of the most beautiful wilderness and tallest peaks in the United States. Backpacking courses carry less weight than mountaineering courses and focus on covering greater distances through more diverse landscapes. Surrounded by magnificent landscapes and invigorated by physical and mental challenges, the participants take time each day to reflect, relate and support one another.
This course is not currently accepting enrollments. Please check back frequently, as this is subject to
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.
Arrival, issue gear, hike in and camp in the back-country
Backpacking, learn backcountry skills
Hike to trailhead, clean/de-issue gear, Graduation/Banquet
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.
This multi-day backpacking expedition takes participants into the heart of the Sierra Nevada wilderness. Here participants learn Leave No Trace camping and travel skills, outdoor cooking techniques, map and compass use, route finding and how to set up shelters in the backcountry. Participants spend time hiking on and off the trail, both in forested areas and in the alpine environment above tree line, often camping next to deep blue alpine lakes that offer the opportunity to swim and rinse off after a day of hiking.
In addition to technical skills, instructors teach and facilitate the interpersonal skills needed for participants to function effectively as a team, accomplish goals and tackle new challenges every day. Challenges on course are designed to impel participants toward taking risks, drawing upon inner resources and developing trust in one another. One such challenge might include a peak attempt. With lighter packs, participants start before the sun rises to summit a mountain and be rewarded with 360 degree views and an incredible sense of accomplishment.
On every Outward Bound course reflection is an integral part of the learning process. During the Solo phase of course, students will find reprieve from the rigors of daily travel and spend a structured period of rest and reflection near the group’s base camp. The primary focus of this time is to provide structured and unstructured journaling as well as time for students to contemplate their life back home. Solo for adult courses is typically integrated into the daily flow of the course rather than a pre-determined time and place.
The Sierra Nevada Range hosts the largest continuous expanse of wilderness and some of the highest peaks in the United States. It extends over 400 miles from north to south, is 70 miles wide and is home to three national parks, twenty wilderness areas and two national monuments.
The Sierra Nevada offers fairly stable and beautiful weather. Spring can bring snow and cold temperatures. As summer advances, temperatures tend to become more moderate. Summer temperatures are in the 70s to 80s during the day and 30s to 50s in the evening. Our course area has some of the most famous, though often underutilized, alpine climbing and backpacking routes for participants to experience.