Outward Bound

April 24 – 28, 2023

Journey deep into the mountains of western North Carolina on this backpacking and rock climbing expedition.


These mountains are some of the oldest in the world and home to hundreds of waterfalls, over a million acres of national forest, park and public land, unique rock formations and the highest peaks in the eastern United States. Spend most of the course backpacking over varied terrain, with ample breaks to enjoy the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the company of your crew. Spend several days rock climbing – a portion of the course that helps to break up the on-foot expedition days. As you work together with your crew to meet daily goals, learn new skills in back country travel and climbing and develop confidence, teamwork and leadership abilities for the future.

Classic Courses

No two Outward Bound expeditions are ever quite the same. Every crew is unique; every route is distinct; and every adventure is dynamic. But one thing remains the same. On each course, students rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places – and find strength and determination along the way.

  • Build core skills: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Form a crew that supports and encourages one another, and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
  • Practice Outward Bound values: Learn to incorporate Outward Bound values into everyday life by pushing your own limits and seeking challenge as an opportunity for personal growth.
  • Demonstrate mastery: As the course nears the end, take on more leadership and decision-making responsibilities. Work together to apply new skills and achieve team goals during this final phase of the expedition.
  • What you’ll learn: Return home a stronger, more resilient individual. Discover increased self-confidence, improved leadership, and a desire to make a difference.
Video – Note this video includes canoeing. We canoed last fall, but will NOT be canoeing on our Outward Bound Course.
5-Day Course
Course starts: learn backpacking and camping skills
DAY 2-4

Backpacking expedition: learn navigation skills and summit a peak

Rock climbing: practice climbing, belaying and rappelling. (If weather permits.)
Personal challenge event: Solo
Team Building
Day 5
End course:  clean and return equipment, and end ceremony.


During this course, students will backpack through the Pisgah National Forest of Western North Carolina. Among other skills, they will learn safety precautions for backcountry foot travel, how to find campsites, how to navigate varied terrain, how to use a map and compass – all while practicing Leave No Trace principles. Even more useful for their lives after course, students learn conflict resolution skills, communication styles, leadership and team building. After students practice these skills, the instructors will step back and let the crew work together to collectively navigate their expedition.

Rock Climbing

After the initial few days of backpacking, students will take their challenge vertical by either climbing up a mountain or rappelling down one. With a focus on safety, instructors will start with the basics, such as working with ropes and learning to tie knots. Students will then put their skills to the test as they learn how to climb or rappel at some of the best climbing sites east of the Mississippi River. Depending on the weather and the dynamics within the group, the crew may even have the opportunity to experience a high ropes obstacle course. These activities will push students to step outside their comfort zones to communicate and trust one another.


A little more than halfway through course, students will participate in a reflection period called solo. During this time, Instructors assign students to their own individual campsites within a designated area. These sites are both secluded and within hearing distance of other group members and instructors for safety. Students will be given all the necessary gear, food, water and skills to enjoy this time alone. They will also know the location of their Instructors’ solo site should they need to contact them for any reason, and instructors will be monitoring students closely during this experience. This experience is a great opportunity for students to relax, recharge and reflect on their course after having long days of strenuous group activities.


Course Area

Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

The Southern Appalachians, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, are some of the oldest mountains in the world. While the mountains themselves formed over 250 million years ago, some of the rocks that underlie the region are over a billion years old.

The long geologic and evolutionary history of the Southern Appalachians has created one of the most biologically diverse regions in the temperate world. It is home to beautiful rushing rivers, hundreds of waterfalls and some of the highest peaks in the eastern United States—including Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Outward Bound students can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 different kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 different types of birds and over 50 species of amphibians.

This course area is situated within a million acres of national forests, federally-protected wilderness areas and other public lands. Its diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures, including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.

Temperatures in this area range from 30 – 65 degrees in the spring.

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