"I started on this trip with an intention of hitting a mental reset button and proving to myself that I am not my anxiety. I shut myself away from the world because of fear of rejection and failure. I felt drawn to this course because of the challenge and I gave myself permission to not shrink back. I never thought I would be capable of anything like this, but everyday on course taught me something about myself, the world around me and the people in it. I carried a huge backpack for tens of miles, climbed rock walls many stories high and shared intimate details of my life with strangers. However the most astounding part is how much sense it made to all those things. As the expedition unfolded, I realized I looked forward to doing those things, things I thought I would never be able to do in my life. I realized I didn’t have to live in fear anymore and was no longer a prisoner to my own shortcomings. I am free to be and do exactly what I want and need, after just one month. That freedom is something I’ll never forget and will be grateful to OBCA for the rest of my life." – An excerpt from Emma Turner's course end letter, Pathfinder Joshua Tree Backpacking & Rock Climbing
Joshua Tree has drawn artists, musicians, outdoor aficionados and soul seekers to its fantastically jumbled rock creations and magical dark skies for decades. With the desert as your classroom, you’ll develop technical outdoor skills and interpersonal skills like effective communication, self-awareness and resiliency. Pathfinder courses make space for reflection without the noise of everyday life. You’ll navigate your future path and depart with a clarified sense of identity and direction for life after course
|XJPE-061||1.30.20 - 2.28.20||30||18 - 25||$6,395||APPLY NOW|
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
Sometimes you don’t know where you want to go in life until you spend a few weeks in the middle of nowhere. Pathfinder expeditions give you time and space to understand what’s important to you and the skills to get there. Over the next 30 days, you’ll rise to meet natural challenges, becoming accustomed to setting goals, making decisions, and recovering from set-backs, all of which help clarify bigger choices that await you in life beyond your course.
Return home after broadening your horizons, learning how to adapt to new environments and trying untested possibilities, with an action plan for the future. With newfound leadership potential, self-awareness, and problem-solving skills, you’ll be ready for your next big step.
Backpackers carry everything they need - food, shelter, clothing and gear – allowing them to spend more time in the backcountry and venture into less visited places. This desert backpacking course includes both on-trail and off-trail terrain. The trails, when present, are usually of high quality. The off-trail routes can be especially challenging as these routes travel through boulder filled canyons across vast desert plains. Joshua Tree is a high desert, with areas of the park over 5,000 feet. This landscape provides an opportunity for a pre-dawn start to a peak attempt.
As water is scarce to come by naturally in the desert, staff will resupply food and water along the way at different water cache sites designated by Outward Bound California and the National Park. Though the landscape is demanding, there are few places in the world that compare to the beauty and uniqueness of where this backpacking leads.
The rock climbing section provides an introduction to personal climbing skills while building trust among crew members as they belay one another and set goals as a group. Groups will set up a backcountry “basecamp” as students explore the canyons and wander through unique rock formations looking for the next climbing area.
Students will acquire and build skills associated with technical rock climbing, including introductory rock climbing basics, knots, anchors, movement over rock, top-rope belaying, equipment use and care of harnesses and other items. This section will include a variety of styles: crack-climbing, face climbing and bouldering. Participants will climb some of the highest quality granite in one of the most popular world destinations for rock climbers.
Service is an integral part of the Outward Bound Pathfinder curriculum. We encourage service to the environment in the form of leaving campsites cleaner than we find them and practicing Leave No Trace ethics throughout the course. We coordinate service projects with land managers (Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, local land trusts, etc). One full day will be dedicated to service on this course.
The solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition. With sufficient food and equipment you’ll spend time alone at an assigned campsite to rest, reflect, and practice the camp craft skills you have been learning throughout the course. We choose your solo site to offer as much solitude as possible, but within earshot of instructors for management considerations. You will not travel during this time and your instructors will check on you periodically. Many students are initially nervous about solo but most are ready for a break from the group when the time for solo arrives. This activity may be abbreviated or eliminated as instructors assess the weather, terrain, or other factors that could affect the outcomes of solo. For this program, a solo progression is structured into course. For example, you may start with a solo lasting only a few hours and culminate with a full 3-day solo towards the end of your course. Many of our past students express this was one of the most powerful elements to their course.
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.
Welcome to the high desert moonscape, where rugged mountains and desert plateaus have been sculpted by wind and rain. Three distinct ecosystems come together to form this land of extremes: the dark, cold, star-filled nights against warm sand and boulder-filled days. Participants will travel through granite monoliths and through narrow canyons.
The Mojave Desert’s winter weather is perfect for a week on the trail or basecamping below the next climb. Weather in the park is generally dry, cold and rainfall is sparse, though unpredictable, and sometimes persistent thunderstorms do occur. Temperatures vary, with lows around 40 and highs around 70 degrees, to a much colder temp of 30 degrees at night and potentially hitting 100 early or late in the season.
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.