Frequently Asked Questions

More Frequently Asked Questions!

Still have questions? Click here for more FAQs

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Our school offers partial scholarships for individual students that cover 20-30% of the full cost of tuition. The amount awarded is financial need-based, but we also take into consideration how motivated a student is to attend course. We try to help all interested students find a way to make our courses affordable but cannot guarantee that we'll be able to give everyone financial aid. Find more information about our scholarships and academic credit here.

Physical and Mental Preparation

Attending a Colorado Outward Bound Course, like any big experience, requires some planning and preparation. Check out our page about physically and mentally preparing for course.

Personal Hygiene

General Hygiene

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. 



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

If there is no course code on mail, it may be filtered into the staff generic mailboxes, and may not be received during course. 


Let’s be honest – almost everyone gets homesick from time to time! It’s a totally normal part of any adventure away from home.

Being homesick doesn’t always mean missing loved ones. It can also mean missing the comforts of home – like your bed, your favorite meals, and even your phone. Occasionally missing home is a common and healthy experience. But too much homesickness can get in the way of having a good time.

The best way to prevent overwhelming feelings of homesickness is to be prepared before you depart on your adventure. Check out our blog about the steps you can take before course to mitigate homesickness.

Emergency Communications
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. Please be sure to leave your name, course, and call-back number if you are leaving a voicemail.
COVID Policies

Click here to review our COVID-19 requirements and practices

Course Life

A typical day usually means getting up early, making breakfast, mapping the route and then embarking on the day's adventure! You will likely travel all day – taking breaks to rest, snack and enjoy the views. Once you reach camp, you will work with your crew mates to prepare dinner and set up camp. There are many other exciting elements of course including a Solo experience and a Personal Challenge Event. To learn more, check out our Course Life page.

Application Paperwork

Once you submit your initial application, your COBS Course Advisor will send you an enrollment email that contains the links to your Applicant Portal where you can complete your paperwork and check the status of your application. 

Altitude Illness
Acute Mountain Sickness, commonly referred to as AMS or altitude illness, is physical symptoms experienced from difficulty adjusting to reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. Not everyone experiences AMS, but anyone can experience symptoms upon arriving at higher altitudes usually on the second or third day at altitude. Symptoms can vary widely and include headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, dizziness, and trouble sleeping. While it is possible to experience these symptoms at lower elevations, AMS typically occurs at 8,000 feet above sea level or higher. Our river and canyon-based courses typically operate at 4,000-6,000 feet, and all other courses usually occur between 8,000 -10,000 feet and higher. While on course, we mitigate the risk of AMS sleeping at lower elevations, ensuring students drink 2-4 liters of water per day, and easing into higher-intensity activities. Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of getting altitude sickness:  
  • Arrive early if possible. This will give your body time to adjust to the altitude before course. 
  • Increase your level of physical activity. While activity level doesn’t directly prevent AMS, you will likely be better able to work through the fatigue associated with altitude if you are more physically prepared.  
  • Get more rest than usual. Prioritize sleeping as preparation for your course! Give yourself plenty of rest time and 8 hours of quality sleep nightly.  
  • Show up hydrated. Avoid alcohol for at least 3 days before your course and remember to drink 2 or more liters of water per day. It’s easy to forget to drink on travel days so keep your water bottle handy!  
  • If you are taking prescription medications, consult your doctor about how altitude may affect them. Sometimes our body’s responses to certain medications can change at altitude. 

To learn more about what you can do to prepare for your course visit our backcountry awareness page.

Academic Credit and 529 Funds

Click here for college credit registration and instructions for how to use 529 college funds to pay for an Outward Bound course