Course Code: CCGL-382
Start Date: 9/9/23
End Date: 11/19/23
Embark on a 72-day journey through the mountains, canyons, deserts and rivers of one of the most beautiful and geologically stunning landscapes in the world on this leadership and outdoor skills focused Semester course.
Develop outdoor skills. Enhance your leadership and communication abilities. Strive to increase your knowledge of the environment – all while learning wilderness travel techniques in a variety of natural environments. The ultimate goal of the Semester is to develop the confidence, knowledge and integrity essential for effective leadership. Whether you are learning how to safely tie in on belay, deciding as a group how to navigate through new terrain, or setting up a minimum-impact campsite for the evening, you’ll be reinforcing, honing and practicing skills for life.
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
In an untamed corner of Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest, the granite jewels of Vedauwoo (pronounced “vee-dah-voo”) beckon rock climbers. This surreal land features phenomenal formations of rock nestled into aspen and pine forests. This is the place to discover the perfect mix of wilderness and classroom, as well as an expansive spectrum of beginner to advanced crack and face climbing. The climbing routes vary in length from 50 feet to 200 feet and provide excellent opportunities for both single- and multi-pitch climbing. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne and Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux) nations.
Photo: Matt Olsen |📍Arapaho, Cheyenne and Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux) lands
Utah Canyon Country
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 erosion. The canyonlands of Southern Utah are still as stunning, mysterious, and wild as they were for the Ancestral Puebloans and Fremont Indians who roamed these lands over 800 years ago. The sandstone canyons are a geological playground and are composed of a spell-binding labyrinth of alcoves, fins, pinnacles, buttes, towering walls, ledges, cliff dwellings, and arches just waiting to be explored. These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Diné Bikéyah, and Pueblo nations.
Photo: Dillon Marks |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Diné Bikéyah, and Pueblo lands
Labyrinth Canyon, Utah
You will launch on the Green river in two person canoes for 63 miles through Labyrinth Canyon. The river enters Labyrinth Canyon slowly, named for the serpentine path it carves as it dives deep into the redrock sandstone that characterizes southeastern Utah and the Canyonlands area. Narrow and winding side canyons, towering cliffs rising vertically out of the river, pinnacles and ledges all await you as you fine tune your paddling strokes. The canoes provide you with great freedom and maneuverability. While many of the skills you learn canoeing are transferable to rafts, the small craft will demand a high level of coordination and cooperation with your canoeing partner. During this phase of your course, your instructors will introduce you to the most important elements of the river life: environmental stewardship, outdoor cooking, first aid, natural history of the river canyons, the night sky, and of course, paddling skills. This region is within the ancestral lands of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) nations.
📍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.
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
A rugged and exciting form of backcountry travel, mountaineering sections allow students opportunities for challenge and adventure, success and failure, and learning a progression of skills to acheive higher summits via more technical routes. Students will practice mountaineering snow techniques like kicking steps, glissading and self-arresting. Fixed line travel and roped belays will be used to ascend a mix of terrain. Snow and rock conditions can be expected, as the high country of the Rockies can be unpredictable. Mountaineering sections also have the opportunity to access backcountry rock climbing sites, where students can hone their climbing, belaying, and rappelling techniques. These sections will be challenging and the rewards are well worth the effort.
📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands
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
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
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
Wilderness First Aid
Despite the best risk management, sometimes accidents happen, and knowing how to respond to injuries in a backcountry setting is a key skill for aspiring outdoor leaders. During this section, you will spend two days in a classroom at our basecamp, learning about wilderness medicine. You will have the opportunity to earn a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification during this course, which is considered a standard for many entry level jobs in the Outdoor Industry.
📍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.
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.
Canoeing is an opportunity to experience the jaw-dropping canyons and magic of the river. The tranquil waters allow for reflection and relationship-building with your canoe partner. The calm waters can change with up-canyon winds that require strength to push forward. The canoes provide you with great freedom and maneuverability. While many of the skills you learn canoeing are transferable to rafts, the small craft will demand a high level of coordination and cooperation with your canoeing partner. Canoeing allows for connection to place, water, and people.
Photo: Ashley Perry |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Diné, and Pueblos lands
Days 1-2: Course Start; set up front country camp, gear check, preparation, low rope elements and initiatives, orienteering.
Days 3-4: Wilderness First Aid course
Days 5-20: Rock Climbing; develop climbing skills and craft, group development and getting to know each other, opportunity for student taught lessons, learning food systems and rationing.
Days 20-34: Alpine Backpacking; travel and learn to translate camp craft skills to expeditionary travel, leadership and communication practice, backcountry navigation.
Days 35-42: Mountaineering; technical peak climbing via fixed lines, route finding, and efficient travel are areas of focus. Backcountry rock climbing potential.
Days 43-44: Time for rest, a shower, and a front country meal at basecamp in Leadville. Service opportunity at our basecamp.
Day 45: Travel to Moab, UT for the start of the River section.
Days 46-56: Canoeing; transitioning camping skills to desert, reading the river, desert ecology and natural and human history.
Days 56-70: Canyon Backpacking; opportunity for student facilitations, mastering nagivation in canyon country, solo experience, opportunity for a finals expedition.
Days 71-72: Travel to Leadville for Course End; Service opportunity, closure, opportunity for a challenge event, and travel back to Denver Airport.
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.
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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.
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