Find your path and discover your passion on this Pathfinder expedition through the dramatic scenes of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Discover what it’s like to live, work and play in the great outdoors of Western North Carolina on this multi-activity wilderness adventure. The journey will take you deep into some of the oldest mountains in the world, over rocky mountain faces and through racing rivers. In the Pisgah National Forests, you and your crew will work together to make your way through lush forests, cook your own meals, set-up camp in the backcountry, navigate rushing mountain rivers by canoe, build trust belaying one another while rock climbing and learn Leave No Trace techniques to minimize their impact on the land. After long days of challenge and adventure, students will be rewarded with skills, views, memories and connections that will last a lifetime.
For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean,
Thank you for your interest in Outward Bound!
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
JOIN WAITLIST Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist positions become available. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. A $500 deposit is required. This $500 deposit includes a $150 non-refundable application fee and a $350 tuition payment. The $350 tuition payment is refundable only if you cancel your waitlist application or if an open position does not become available. If a position does become available, the applicant will be applied to the open position and the Application and Cancellation Policies of the Regional Outward Bound School will be followed, including forfeiture of the $500 deposit if you cancel 90 days or less prior to the course start date.
Waitlist applicants are encouraged to complete all required admissions documents while awaiting an open position. Positions may become available up to two weeks prior to the course start date. Applicants may only apply to one course. We recommend applying to a course with open positions instead of a course that is accepting waitlist applications. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Ropes course and team-building initiatives
Backpacking training expedition: navigation and camping skills, exploration of personal strengths, first coaching session introduction to goal setting
Rock climbing, belaying, rappelling and multi-pitch climbing
Backpacking main expedition: advanced navigation and group decision-making, second coaching session
Wilderness First Aid certification
Service project: trail-building or work with community service organization
Sometimes the noise of daily life makes it difficult to know what we really want, to set clear goals for ourselves, and to forge a path forward. Here’s your reset button. Our Pathfinder expeditions are designed to support students in increasing self-knowledge and awareness, improving goal-setting and decision-making processes, and developing perseverance and self-efficacy. As in the field, so in life: challenge yourself to dream big, then identify your steps to get there and start moving. We’ll put the map in your hands. You chart your path.
Build skills, form connections: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork, adaptability and leadership skills. Participants will have the opportunity to chart a path and pursue it with their own motivation as extra fuel.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Resiliency to recover from set-backs is a treasured and useful skill that will play a part in any Pathfinder expedition. Participants will explore answers to their most pressing questions about what they value, where their strengths lie and what direction their lives will take next.
Demonstrate mastery: As students gain confidence in new skills, they will take on more leadership and decision-making responsibilities and gain a deeper understanding of who they are as individuals. The entire crew will work together and individually to achieve goals, solve problems and succeed.
What you’ll learn: After spending 30 days in the wilderness, you’ll have mastered multiple outdoor skills and you’ll know what it takes to traverse mountain passes, climb the steepest cliffs and successfully navigate the challenges of the natural world around you. You’ll discover more about your true self and what you want to achieve, how you overcome setbacks and, most importantly, how to move forward to reach important milestones.
Return home after broadening your horizons, learning how to adapt to new environments and trying untested possibilities, with an action plan for the future. With newfound leadership potential, self-awareness, and problem-solving skills, you’ll be ready for your next big step.
Before course starts, students identify a member of their support system (parent, friend, coach, teacher, etc.) to help them stay committed to their goals once they return home from course. Then, before the completion of course, students participate in a conference call with that support person and an Outward Bound Instructor. The purpose of the call is to discuss lessons learned during course, identify goals for the future, and how to incorporate this newfound knowledge into their lives at home.
Students backpack in Pisgah National Forest where they learn to travel safely through the backcountry, navigate varied terrain with a map and compass, as well as how to live in the wilderness responsibly using Leave No Trace principles. Equally important is time spent learning conflict resolution skills, communication styles, leadership techniques, as well as teamwork. After the crew has practiced these skills the Instructors step back, providing the opportunity for the group to work together, navigating through the wilderness where they will be rewarded with stunning misty mountain vistas.
After a few days of discovering wilderness fundamentals and building crew camaraderie, students will learn to maneuver Class I-Class III whitewater rapids. Paddling through sculpted rock channels in tandem (two-person) canoes offers the perfect opportunity to foster further collaboration and communication skills between crewmates. Students will execute synchronized strokes, dynamic eddy turns, peel-outs, and ferries on either the French Broad, Tuckaseegee, Chattooga, New, or Nantahala Rivers. Some of the topics crews cover during this portion of the course include: identification and use of equipment, basic water safety and rescue techniques, how to work with paddling partners to successfully negotiate Class l-Class III rapids and flatwater and whitewater paddling strokes
With a focus on safety, climbing instruction starts by teaching the basics, such as working with ropes and learning to tie knots. As students progress, they learn how to climb up, or rappel down, a rock face. They may also have the opportunity to work through a high ropes obstacle course together. These uniquely structured activities provide opportunities not only for self-reliance, but also for communication and collaboration as participants confront and work through fears and challenges.
Participants prepare for the unexpected by earning a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification.This fast-paced, hands-on training is designed to teach skills to care for those who become ill or injured and are far from definitive medical care. Offered through a partnership with Landmark Learning, an accredited organization, this certification includes classroom lectures and demonstrations combined with realistic scenarios where mock patients challenge participants to use what they've learned.
During Solo, Instructors assign students to their own space within a designated area. These sites are both secluded and within hearing distance of other group members and Instructors for safety. Students will have all the necessary gear, food, water, and skills to enjoy this time alone. They also know the location of their Instructors’ campsite should they need to contact them for any reason. Instructors will be monitoring students closely during this experience. Solo is a great opportunity for students to relax, recharge and reflect on their course after having long days of strenuous group activities. Participants return from Solo with a new perspective on the parts of themselves they are ready to leave behind and those they want to embrace as they move forward. On this course, students will participate in a Solo progression that includes daily reflection time and a multi-day Solo experience.
Service has always been an integral part of Outward Bound, providing the opportunity for students to experience a deeper relationship with the environment and the local communities that surround the course area. Students can expect to engage in several service projects that may include trail maintenance, building and grounds maintenance in local recreation areas, invasive species management, working with rescue animals, or building houses. Students explore the role of service on course and in their life at home and reflect on the impact of service on the community and themselves.”
The Blue Ridge Mountains, or Southern Appalachians, is one of the oldest mountain ranges 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 North America. Some even say it is “rainforest-like.” This region 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. Its diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures, including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.
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. The huge numbers of tree and plants is actually what gives these mountains their namesake. Trees put the ‘blue’ in the Blue Ridge Mountains from the organic chemicals they release into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the distinctive color of these mountains. Temperatures in this area range from 50 to 85 degrees in the summer, 30 to 65 degrees in the spring and fall and 10 to 50 degrees in the winter. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Cherokee.
If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.
To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.