Your course advisor will be in touch with you within two business days. If you have immediate questions about your enrollment, call 303-676-8238.
Welcome to the Colorado Outward Bound School! This is a place of challenge, learning, and community and we’re so glad you’re joining our crew. As you’re getting ready for your course experience, we wanted to share with you a bit more about what to expect. A COBS course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to face new challenges in a supportive environment; to find success through mistakes; and to navigate through adversity with compassion for self and others. The breathtaking mountains, rivers, and canyons of Colorado and Utah are our classroom. And the life lessons are as limitless as the views.
As in all of life’s adventures, elements outside of our control may require adjustments to the details and we often adapt our itineraries to meet dynamic environments, but one thing’s for sure: we’re going to connect with new people, try new things, and explore some amazing places together. Here at COBS, we believe there is more in you than you know and we’ll use the inherent beauty and challenge of the natural world to test our comfort zones and to discover opportunities to work hard, learn, and reflect. And the memories you’ll take home will last a lifetime. Read on and we’ll see you soon!
Course Code: CCYE-341
6/10/2023 - 6/24/2023
Colorado has some of the best backpacking and rock climbing in the country. On this classic course you’ll experience the best of both worlds. During your climbing section, you’ll take on a new set of challenges, exploring the physical, emotional, and mental challenges of moving through step rock terrain. As you transition to backpacking, you will hike up to alpine meadows and camp below gorgeous cirques of peaks, diving deeper into the physical, emotional, and mental challenges of expeditionary living and working with your crew.
Alpine Backpacking will develop a foundational outdoor skillset for students allowing comfortable living during course. Traveling mostly above treeline, students will carry everything they need - food, shelter, clothing and gear – allowing them to go deep into the wilderness where few people go. Backpacking provides a sense of freedom, allowing students to eat when hungry, set up camp when tired, and exercise complete control over what is accomplished each day. The simplicity of backpacking gives students the opportunity to focus both internally on their own thoughts, as well as externally to connect deeply with others as they talk, sing, play games and spend time together without distraction. With the Colorado Rockies as a backdrop, students are introduced to backpacking with lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. As this section progresses, students learn Leave No Trace techniques, map and compass navigation, camp craft, and obtain an understanding of the area’s human and natural history.
Photo: Dave Erbe |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands
Rock Climbing creates opportunities for students to enterprise their curiosity, practice tenacity and perseverance, and learn skills which will progress them to greater heights. Climbing allows learning of new body mechanics, balance, and energy maintenance techniques which will help students climb efficiently and unlock the incredible feeling of flowing up a route. Students will learn there are many ways to climb the same rock, allowing each climber to solve the puzzle in their own individual way. During this section, students will learn basic climbing techniques, helmet and harness use, climbing commands and belaying, and anchor building principles. Depending on the length of the section, students may have the opportunity to attempt multi-pitch climbs or lead climbing.
Photo: Joe Kubis |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands
Guided Reflection and Transference
At Outward Bound we believe there is no learning without reflection. Throughout course, you will be prompted to reflect on what you’re experiencing on course, and what it means in the greater context of your life. Sometimes this is a journaling exercise, sometimes a group sharing experience, and sometimes a moment of solitude to sit and think. You spend focused time toward course progression end exploring how your new knowledge, skills and attributes can apply to your life after course.
Course with hiking sections includes lessons in basic travel and camping techniques. Students will carry small backpacks from campsite to campsite as their heavier equipment is shuttled by our staff. This allows students to learn fundamental backpacking skills while keeping the level of physical challenge appropriate. 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. The simplicity of hiking gives students the opportunity to be active and to focus both 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.
Depending on your course length and environmental factors, your solo may range from a few hours to an overnight experience. Solo provides an important break from the rigors of both the expedition and the distractions from everyday life. This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With sufficient food and equipment, you’ll have time to journal, rest, reflect, and look ahead to future goals. Your solo site will be close enough to the Instructors in case of emergency, but far enough removed to assure your solitude. You will not travel during this time and your Instructors will check on you occasionally. Many students are initially nervous about solo, but later recall solo as one of the highlights of their entire course.
Peak Attempts present an opportunity for challenge, teamwork, and the need to pull together all of your learned skills for success. Your expedition will include at least one peak attempt. Peak attempts are major enterprises and typically require early morning starts and can take all day to complete. Weather, or other factors including group dynamics and physical readiness, may preclude even an attempt to ascend a peak.
Photo: Naomi Winard |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands
A Challenge Event may occur at the end of a student's course experience. These are opportunities to test the perseverance, endurance, and grit that you've developed on course. A challenge event might be individual, like long run or peak attempt. Your event might be a group focused challenge, including long final travel days or group challenges that require all of the skills and teamwork your groups has learned. The purpose of a challenge event is to help students realize the extent of their growth, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and to take home these learnings in an unforgettable way.
In addition to the expedition itself and all of the skills and learning associated with it, Outward Bound’s time-tested curriculum includes education on the many aspects of personal growth and learning that can be found in each activity you undertake. You will learn four important Outward Bound Core Values:
You may find that the most important lessons you take home are learning about yourself and your community while acquiring backcountry skills and having an adventure. You’ll learn to protect and appreciate the unique, unspoiled environments through which you travel.
Successful completion of your course demands mastery of skills, trust, fitness, confidence, tenacity, leadership, initiative and compassion. The promotion of these qualities and the discovery of what’s in you is the purpose of Outward Bound.
Sawatch Range, Colorado
The Sawatch sub-range of the Colorado Rockies is home to Colorado’s two highest peaks: Mt Elbert (14,439’) and Mount Massive (14,429’). The range is known for expansive, rolling alpine terrain and multiple high peaks, and encompasses the headwaters of the Arkansas River. The source of the name is somewhat disputed but some source it to Ute words meaning “green place” or “blue water.” These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) nation.
Photo: Terence Copeland |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands
Leadville Mountain Center, Colorado
Colorado Outward Bound’s 600-acre property at the base of Mount Massive. Our base camp encompasses mountain streams, wild plants, fields and forests. Lake Fork Creek (that runs into the headwaters of the Arkansas River) runs near the east of our property and the Colorado Trail borders us to the west. If the timing is right, colorful wildflowers will brighten the trails through the LMC. You might share camp with elk, deer, chipmunks and myriad other wildlife. This region is within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) nation.
📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands
What is a land acknowledgment?
At the Colorado Outward Bound School, we include land acknowledgments in our work as a formal way to recognize and respect the traditional territories and Indigenous Peoples as stewards of the land. It is important to understand and acknowledge the comprehensive past, present, and future of the places we travel and to seek to understand our role therein. To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation we give to the Indigenous Peoples who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. Read more about land acknowledgments at Outward Bound here.
Nestled in the Arkansas Valley, Turtle Rock provides the perfect venue for learning the basics of rock climbing. With sweeping vistas of the Collegiate Range to the west, students will climb and rappel on weathered granite domes while camping among the pinon pines and sage brush, in this high alpine desert environment. The Turtle Rock Campground provides a great introduction to camping, while still allowing for some frontcountry amenities like pit toilets and potable water. These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) nation.
Photo: Bethany Frakes |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands
Click here for COBS COVID-19 Program Practices
Packing for Backcountry Travel
Backcountry travel means you can and, for your comfort, should carry a lot less than you do in the regular world; most experienced backcountry travelers will tell you that they bring about the same amount of gear on a three-day trip as they would on a three-week trip.
Your COBS Packing List:
What to Wear While Travelling:
We recommend you wear course clothing and boots while travelling and bring all essentials (prescription meds, insurance card copy, cash) in a carry-on. This will minimize the inconvenience in the unlikely event your luggage is delayed in transport. Being dressed for course will also further the efficiency on your first day, especially since front country bathrooms and private changing areas are rarely available.
Head & Hand Layers:
|1||Baseball Cap or Visor||
Necessary for sun protection; full brimmed hats do not work well with backpacks.
Wool or fleece – no tassels or brims as it must be able to fit under a helmet.
Should be insulated and weather resistant. To wear when the temps are a little colder when hiking and in camp.
To be worn at course start, during social distancing, during travel days, while preparing food, while in close proximity to others, and when requested by COBS staff.
Synthetic or Merino wool materials recommended. Camisoles with built-in bra are a great cold-weather option.
|3-4||T-Shirts - Synthetic & Cotton||
Merino wool or synthetic t-shirt for use as a base layer during physical activity. Synthetic and/or cotton tees for travel and basecamp days.
Long Sleeve Shirt (Sun Hoody)
|Loose, light colored for sun protection at rock days, on the river, or in the canyons. Sun hoodies are optimal for the additional head protection, but long sleeve button up shirts also work; cotton or nylon materials are ok. UPF materials are suggested for individuals more prone to sunburns. (Thrift shop = $) (Black Diamond/Patagonia=$$)|
|1||Long Sleeve Mid Layer||
Medium weight wool or expedition weight Capilene®/ 100 weight fleece, etc. (REI=$) (Patagonia=$$)
|1||Long Sleeve Base Layer||
Thin, skin layer, synthetic or merino wool shirt.
|1||Fleece/Softshell/Thin Puffy Jacket||
200 or 300-weight fleece; or a thin synthetic puffy jacket. Options for this layer provide a variety of warmth-to-weight ratios, durability, and costs. A hood is recommended. (REI Hyperaxis Fleece=$) (Patagonia Nano Puff=$$)
|1||Waterproof, Breathable Rain Jacket||
This layer should have a Gore-Tex or other waterproof coating that stops outside moisture from entering; must fit over all your other layers including a helmet. **See more detailed notes on rain gear (REI or Outdoor Research=$) (Patagonia/Black Diamond=$$)
For males, we recommend briefs or boxer briefs. For females, we recommend at least one pair of cotton nighttime underwear for breathability. Synthetic, quick drying underwear for daytime activities and cotton for sleeping. (Nylon/Spandex=$) (Wool=$$)
Quick-drying, athletic shorts; for potential swimming days, and river sections. Lightweight nylon fabric wicks moisture and dries quickly. Board shorts or running shorts work well. Pockets are always nice. (What you have already or Thrift Store=$) (REI=$$)
|1||Base Layer Bottoms||Thin, skin layer, synthetic or merino wool pants.|
|1||Quick Dry Pants||
Lightweight, quick-drying, nylon fabric that packs easily. These are loose fitting for ease of movement. Course environment can be rough on clothing. We recommend pants that are semi-durable, or that you won't mind getting torn. (Thrift Store or REI=$) (KUHL or Patagonia=$$)
|1||Medium Weight Pants||Mid-weight wool or fleece pants – for keeping warm at camp on cool days and evenings. (REI=$) (Smartwool=$$)|
A durable pair of pants for use at rock camp. They should be loose fitting. These pants will get torn up a bit due to the rough nature of rock climbing. Thrift store pants will do just fine and Cotton is okay. (What you have already or Thrift Store =$)
|1||Rain-Shell Pants||Similar to your rain jacket, this layer should have a breathable, waterproof coating that stops outside moisture from entering; must fit over other pant layers and ideally has lower leg zips for easy on/off without removing boots. **See more detailed notes on rain gear. (REI or Marmot=$) (Patagonia=$$)|
|1||Lightweight Synthetic Belt||Something that will fit smoothly under your backpack belt.|
|Heavy Wool or Synthetic - important for very cold days. Make sure new boots are fitted with the thickest socks|
Medium-weight Hiking or Ski Socks
|Wool or Synthetic - base hiking sock; ski socks are nice because they pull up to the knees and provide extra warmth|
|For Rock Camps, around camp, and travel days|
The most essential piece of clothing or gear that you will purchase.
* Please see the additional boot document for more guidance.
This will be your dry, comfortable, camp shoe. It should be somewhat lightweight and sturdy. (old pair of running shoes=$)
SPF 30 or greater. For courses 15 days or longer, consider bringing a small bottle to carry and a larger bottle to resupply from.
Lip Balm or Chap Stick
|SPF 30 or greater|
2-4 oz., plastic container. Products with Picaridan or DEET (10 - 35%) are most effective. *No sprays or aerosols.
|4-6 oz. per week for dry feet and hands|
Travel-size toiletries for basecamp use.
Choose the method you are most comfortable with such as pads, menstrual cups, or tampons and include extra/supplemental supplies. Many of our staff love a reusable menstrual cup (MeLuna, DivaCup or Lena), because it reduces the amount of waste that will need to be carried. If you’ve never used a menstrual cup, we recommend you research and trial it before course. If using tampons, consider a non-applicator tampon to reduce bulk and waste that needs to be carried. Feel free to contact your course advisor with any questions. Regardless of your choice, we are able to share practices for managing periods and supplies in the backcountry and provide all the supplies to manage waste.
For extra cleaning and hygiene.
|1||Towel||For showering at basecamp.|
Large duffle bag or suitcase for travel to and from course with. Bag should be big enough to contain all of your personal items.
|1||ID & Insurance Card||
If you are covered under any medical insurance, please bring your card. The actual card is preferred, but a copy of the front and the back of the card will be okay. Store in ziplock bag.
This all-purpose piece of cotton absorbs sweat, cleans off trail-grime and offers a multitude of other camp and trail uses. 1-2 extra for female students on longer courses.
|1||Sunglasses with keeper strap||
Sturdy & dark wrap-around sunglasses for adequate protection from sun and wind. We recommend a higher quality pair for backpacking in the mountains and river travel, and a cheaper pair for daily use in the canyons and at rock camp.
|1||Prescription Eye Wear + Extra Glasses and/or contacts||
Contacts – bring extra pairs, as well as a backup pair of glasses. Glasses - Ensure these are compatible with your sunglasses, or bring prescription sunglasses. Bring an extra set in case of loss or damage
Wide-mouth 32 oz. water bottle. A hydration bladder is not recommended for river courses or sections with freezing temperatures. Please come hydrated to course start! (Nalgene=$) (Klean Kanteen=$$)
|1||Headlamp w/ Batteries||
LED headlamp with extra batteries - lithium batteries recommended. (Black Diamond or Petzl=$$)
|2||Prescription Medications including Asthma Inhalers||
THESE MUST BE DECLARED DURING THE APPLICATION PROCESS. Bring 2 sets in their original containers and a ziploc bag for storage on the trail - Please bring these to course start even if you feel they are unnecessary.
Must have alarm. Water resistant recommended.
Large Zip-Lock Plastic Bags
|Heavy duty to protect cameras, etc. from sand and water|
Travel to and From Course:
|Travel Money & Snacks||
For longer courses and when traveling from afar, extra cash and snacks are recommended for first and last days of course, as well as transition days. Consider unexpected travel expenses such as luggage fees, bus fare, etc.
Emergency Contact Numbers for Travel Delays
|Carry a copy of the phone numbers to use in case of travel delays (from the travel and itinerary document)|
|1||Clean Clothes for the Trip Home||Please bring a set of clean clothes for your travels home|
|1||Travel Insurance||COBS strongly recommends purchasing travel insurance to protect you in the event of an emergency cancellation or early medical departure. Please speak with your course advisor for details.|
|1||Vest||Fleece or other synthetic material – to be worn as an extra layer for core body warmth; some people love them and others do not.|
|Stationary, Stamps & 2 Pens||Bring stamps and envelopes if you would like to send mail. Consider pre-stamping and pre-addressing them before course. Put in a zip-lock bag with paper and pens|
|1 pair||Gaiters||COBS will provide a basic pair of gaiters. Higher end gaiters are nice to have and are easier to use. Tall gaiters recommended for mountain sections. Ensure they're fitted over your boots. (Outdoor Research or REI=$$)|
|1 pair||Trekking Poles||COBS provides basic poles for all backpacking sections. You may choose to bring your own pair if you experience knee problems, want more stability on the trail, or have trekking poles you prefer to use. Spring-loaded, adjustable length poles provide the best versatility and comfort.|
|1||Camera||Most people bring small, digital cameras or disposable 35mm cameras. Large cameras (SLRs, for example) are heavy, bulky and difficult to protect in the backcountry. Bring multiple cameras if disposable. If bringing a non- disposable camera, consider taking extra precautions like putting it in a Ziploc bag or Pelican hard case to keep out dirt and sand.|
½ liter size, maximum. Can be really nice for mid-day hot drinks.
|1||Toys, Instruments, Books||
You are welcome to bring hacky sacks, frisbees, musical instruments, and other fun stuff - just know that for all or some parts of the course you may not have access to these things.
|1||Cell Phone & Charger||
You may have opportunities to use your phone and listen to music, or use during travel to and from course.
Recommended if you are a light sleeper.
|1||Inflatable Sleeping Pad||
COBS provides an insulated foam pad. Inflatable sleeping pads provide more comfort and lumbar support. Must be a lightweight, backpacking pad, with the appropriate R-value for the cold. If electing to bring an inflatable pad, please bring a patch repair kit. (Therm-a-rest=$$)
|1||Crazy Creek Chair||
Crazy Creek and REI are popular brands. No chairs with legs can be brought! Must be lightweight and packable/rollable
|if owned||Climbing Gear: Helmet, Harness, Belay Device, Climbing Shoes, or Climbing Chalk Bag||
COBS provides basic models. If you already have your own, bring them. If you are sure you will continue to climb after this course, you may want to go ahead and invest in these items. If you are new to climbing, we recommend getting your instructor's advice about this gear. (Black Diamond/Petzel/C.A.M.P.=$)
|1||Water MicroFilter||COBS disinfects backcountry water with Aquamira, bleach, or by boiling. If you prefer to filter your drinking water and wish to bring your own, it must be effective at filtering both giardia and cryptosporidium. (MRS SweetWater/Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter=$$)|
Items not Allowed on Course:
Weather During Your Course:
Expect temperatures ranging from 40-80 degrees (Colorado) with nighttime temperatures ranging from 15-40 degrees. Despite these recommendations of what is “normal weather,” our course environments are characterized by unpredictable weather. Please check the weather prior to your course for Leadville, Colorado at www.weather.com to have an idea of what to expect, but please bring everything on this list since weather patterns can change quickly.
1:30 PM Mountain Time
Denver International Airport (DIA) Baggage Claim –18 Jeppesen (Main) Terminal, Level 5
A Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS) representative will be available at Baggage Claim 18 on baggage claim Level 5, from approximately 10:00 AM - 1:30 PM to meet students. We cannot accommodate picking up or dropping off students from other locations.
COBS representatives will be wearing clothing with the COBS logo and will have a table with a COBS banner. They will ensure everyone has arrived and will be available to answer any last-minute questions. Participants not fully confirmed by their Course Advisor will not be allowed in the van.
Please be ready to go, having eaten and made any necessary phone calls before 1:30 PM. Please send your student with cash or a credit card to use for purchasing food/snacks on travel days. Expect to be in the van for multiple hours. Again, please DO NOT MISS THE VAN. It is extremely difficult to get late participants to the course start. If your flight has been delayed call 720.381.6589 immediately.
Your course will end and the van will transport participants back to Denver International Airport (DIA). You should arrive back to Denver International Airport at approximately 10:00 AM. Outward Bound staff will be available in the airport to assist students until 4:00 PM. We cannot guarantee that you will be able to make a flight departing before 12:30 PM.
For those who are being picked up at DIA, participants can be picked up at Baggage Claim 18 between 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM. This is the only location students can be picked up from.
TRAVEL PROBLEMS AND EMERGENCY CONTACT:
If you encounter problems with your travel plans that will delay your arrival to Denver, we can help troubleshoot solutions so that you can get to your course start. During office hours, call your course advisor for assistance. After hours, call our 24-hour voice mailbox at 720.381.6589 and follow the prompts for a travel delay on a Colorado program. The mail boxes are checked regularly and you will receive a call back as indicated by the outgoing message. In the event of an emergency (such as a death in the family) where you need to reach a student who is on course call 720.381.6589 and follow the prompts for critical emergency for a student currently on a course. This will route to an on-call cell phone and you will get a prompt return call as indicated by the message.
UNACCOMPANIED MINOR PROVISION
Some airlines require this provision, while other airlines allow you to elect into this service. This is a service in which the airline will directly chaperone your child and which requires our personnel to pick up your child at the arrival gate. If you use this service, (whether required or electively), we must strictly adhere to specific flight times. For arrivals, flights for Unaccompanied Minors must arrive after 10:00 AM and before 1:00 PM. For departures, flights must depart after 12:30 PM and before 4:00 PM. For more information on travel to course start please read “Attending Outward Bound”.
If you need to arrive in Denver the day before course start or stay a day after the end of course we recommend that you book at the DoubleTree-Denver Central Park at 4040 Quebec St. This hotel offers a discounted rate for a single room to COBS participants. Before booking please reach out to your course advisor and they will provide you with a link that will allow you to access the discounted rates.
GETTING TO THE DOUBLETREE- DENVER CENTRAL PARK HOTEL:
From Denver International Airport (DIA)
Airport Train and Shuttle Service
For more information on the train service from DIA visit: https://www.rtd-denver.com/services/airport
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to learn more
Once you submit your initial application, your COBS Course Advisor will send you an enrollment email that contains links to the forms we need you to complete and submit online
Click here to read an example of a typical day on course and what you can do to be prepared
Click here to review COBS Essential Eligibility Criteria
Click here for ideas to prepare for and manage homesickness
Embarking upon multi-week expedition without most of our comforts from home can be an unfamiliar challenge, and receiving letters from family and/or friends can be incredibly encouraging for everyone on an expedition. Your mail will be delivered to you at transfers and resupplies as well as at the end of course. Your family and friends can send mail to you at the following address. Any undelivered mail received after the course will be forwarded to your home address. Please ask them to mail the letters at least 6 days before the course end. Packages are subject to opening prior to delivery to the student.
Name and Course #
c/o Colorado Outward Bound School
1930 Hwy 300
Leadville, CO 80461
Your instructors will explain the details of backcountry hygiene when you arrive. Groups carry soap and/or hand sanitizer for hand washing. Every student is given one wet wipe per day. You are welcome to bring and additional personal supply. Sometimes there are creeks, rivers, or lakes that groups can splash around in. Although showering and washing hair are not an option while on course, and there are usually no opportunities to wash clothing, it is not as bad as it sounds and we are all in it together.
Every course environment has different techniques and environmentally appropriate practices for going to the bathroom. You will learn how to dispose of human waste in latrines, cat holes, groovers, or other wilderness-area specific methods.
Getting your Period on Course
Diet, altitude, & fitness level can unexpectedly bring on your period or postpone it. You may experience irregularities while out on course. Choose the method you are most comfortable with such as pads, menstrual cups, or tampons and include extra/supplemental supplies. Many of our staff love a reusable menstrual cup (MeLuna, DivaCup or Lena), because it reduces the amount of waste that you will need to carry and pack out. If you’ve never used a menstrual cup, we recommend you research and trial it before course. If using tampons, consider a non-applicator tampon to reduce bulk and waste that needs to be carried. Feel free to contact your course advisor with any questions. Regardless of your choice, we are able to share practices for managing periods and supplies in the backcountry and provide all the supplies to manage waste.
Click here for guidance
Compassion is one of Outward Bound’s core values. Be prepared to offer it and expect it from your teammates. You will travel with and rely on a group of strangers each of whom have different reasons for attending Outward Bound and will come with varying levels of physical and mental strength. You may find that you will need to make compromises in your own expectations to support other members of your team. It is important to remember that in such a small group setting, your attitude and actions affect everyone.
Still have questions? Click here for more FAQs