COURSE OVERVIEW

CUTO-252: Southwest Alpine Backpacking, Canyoneering & Rafting

Course Code: CUTO-252

Start Date: 7/18/22

End Date: 8/8/22

There is no other course of this length that combines so many different elements and environments. You will be floating on some of the most geologically stunning rivers in the world, winding through red rock spires and pink sandstone. You will then don your backpacks to navigate through graveled washes, sweeping mesas, and narrow grottos. Finally ending by traversing pine forests before ascending the summit of a 12,500’ peak. Outward Bound teaches technical skills where you learn how to traverse a rocky ridge, captain raids, and anticipate a flash flood. The outdoor skills act as an amplifier to learning more about place, community, and yourself.

Challenge is an essential element in an Outward Bound course which can be the physical duration of a peak climb, but also spending extensive time with a new group of people, how to teach with patience, or finding your leadership style. At Outward Bound you will explore mountains, canyons, and rivers, as well as your groupmates and yourself. On course you will learn what connects strength to service, place to peace, and challenge to compassion.

Course Areas and Land Acknowledgement

La Sal Mountains, Utah

The La Sal Mountains rise dramatically out of the desert, towering 9,000’ above the surrounding canyonlands and the sporting mecca of Moab.  This range was originally named when the Spanish came through in the early 1500s and they mistook the snow for salt.  The La Sals are known for their groves of aspen, rich amount of wildlife, high summits, and incredible views overlooking Canyonlands and Arches National Park and the Four Corners area.  Hidden lakes dot the landscape.  Peaks in the La Sals range from ten thousand to just under thirteen thousand feet and include the highest mountains in Southern Utah. The La Sal Mountains are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute).

Photo: Dave Erbe |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands

 

Cataract Canyon, Utah

You hear “ALL FORWARD!” shouted above the roar of the rapids by the captain of your raft (that could be you). Next thing you know, you’re digging your paddle blade in deep to meet some of the biggest and best whitewater of the West. One of the most rugged and beautiful canyons in the West, Cataract Canyon takes you through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. You will learn how to guide a whitewater raft as you float past natural wonders and ancient ruins to the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers while preparing for what awaits downstream.  The Colorado River roars through 29 exciting rapids that rate with those of the Grand Canyon in power and difficulty, including the famous Mile Long Rapids and “the Big Drops.”  In the nearby canyons, fantastic rock shapes carved by the whimsical forces of nature await you as your group ventures off-river to jaw-dropping views. This region is located within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute).

 Photo: Olivia Schneider |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands

Moab Canyons, Utah

The most spectacular aspects of the Utah landscape are the hidden treasures found within its vast canyon networks, formed by millennia of wind and water. The Canyonlands of Southern Utah are stunning, mysterious and wild. Archeological sites and rock art from the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont Native Americans who roamed these lands over 800 years ago still abound in the canyons. The canyons are composed of a spell-binding labyrinth of alcoves, fins, pinnacles, buttes, towering walls, ledges and arches just waiting to be explored. Canyoneering courses also venture into narrower, deeper chasms two feet wide with walls several hundred feet on each side. These sandstone slot canyons are a geological playground for scrambling, teamwork and rappelling. These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Pueblos, and Diné Bikéyah nations. 

Photo: F4D Studios |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Pueblos, and Diné Bikéyah 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

Activities

Alpine Backpacking

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.

A group of students are hiking up a field of large, loose rock above treeline. They are wearing helmets and using trekking poles while carrying backpacks.

Photo: Dave Erbe |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands

Canyon Backpacking

With your crew, you will journey through the intriguing and difficult-to-explore canyon country, taking in the infinite shapes of the arches, towers, buttes, amphitheaters, overhangs, and domes. While doing this, you will be carrying a 45 to 60 pound backpack which will have all you need to thrive in the wilderness. Sometimes students will shed their backpacks for smaller daypacks to navigate into narrow slots or explore thousand-year-old cliff dwellings and rock art. Crews camp on expansive rock slabs, stopping along the way to explore microclimates and canyon ecosystems. All the while, you continue learning how to use maps and compasses, to cook meals for yourself and your crewmates, negotiate slickrock obstacles, find water, and live comfortably in the immense canyons. The days can be long and hard, but the canyons reward you with their jaw-dropping beauty. You will spend time in an incredible area where life becomes more in tune with the essentials of traveling through a landscape of rock, sand, sky -- feeling the sunshine on your face and watching the setting sun give way to stars.

📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands

Rafting

On the river, each day is spent learning to navigate various obstacles and how to anticipate the forces of the current from upstream. You and your companions will work to become a team, coordinating your spacing and paddle strokes. You will have an opportunity to be the captain of your crew and put to use what you’ve learned as you maneuver your raft through Class II-III rapids. Interspersed between the rapids are flat-water sections where there is a current, but no whitewater. At times, you will take advantage of this calm water to hone your skills and enjoy the view. Time in a raft is ideal for getting to know each other and forming boat pride, laughing your way downriver as you relax into river life. Afternoons can bring strong up-canyon winds, which create a challenge as you dig in to reach the camping destination. Rafting connects you to the river: the oasis of flora and fauna (including humans!) that rely on the river to survive in the desert. The soaring canyons complement the roar of whitewater, as well as the silences that can only be found in such remote beauty.

Photo: Curtis Huey |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Diné, and Pueblos lands

Solo

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.

Service

Service to others and the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Students follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do acts of service while leading and supporting each other. Understanding leadership through service is an outcome of activities that require working together to meet and navigate challenges throughout course. 

Sample Itinerary
Sample Itinerary

The following is an example of what your itinerary may look like. Your actual course plan will vary according to weather, your group’s skills and abilities, and Instructor preferences.
 
Day 1: Course Start
Day 2-9: Alpine Backpacking, Peak Attempts, Hiking, Solo, Resupply Canyon Day
Day 10-15: Canyon Backpacking
Day 16-21: Launch on Cataract Canyon, Whitewater Rafting, Hiking
Day 22: Final Challenge Event and Course End
What You’ll Learn

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:

  • Compassion
  • Integrity
  • Excellence
  • Inclusion and Diversity

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.

Tuition and Payment

For your convenience, you may pay the balance of your tuition online through your invoice or make a payment by phone. 

Please have the student's name, course number, course start date and balance due when using this payment option.

In most cases, a $500 deposit has been paid when you applied. Please refer to your Enrollment Email to confirm your balance*. If you are unsure of your balance due, please call (720) 381-6589 or email [email protected].

If your payment is not received by the due date listed in your Enrollment Email, you will risk losing your position on the course and your $500 deposit. Please review the Admissions and Cancellation Policies.

Tuition:  $6,595.00
Tuition Deposit:    -$500.00
Remaining Balance Due*:   $6,095.00
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