For More Info Call:  503-946-3404

Northwest Sailing & Alpine Backpacking - (Ages 14-16)

Course Details

    Location: Washington
    Activities: Backpacking, Sailing
    Tuition & Fees: $3900
    Financial Aid Available: Yes

This course is designed for high school students seeking a life-changing, challenging adventure.  In addition to learning technical skills in sailing and alpine backpacking, students will learn methods of communication, conflict resolution, and decision-making. The expedition through some of Washington’s most stunning landscapes will take you from the beautiful San Juan Islands to the rugged alpine peaks of North Cascades.   

Available Courses

  • Available DatesCourse LengthAgeCourse Number
    7/9/2016 - 7/26/201618 daysWWYT-651Reserve Your Spot TodayLearn More

  • Questions? Call (503) 946-3404 for more information.

How to Enroll

Steps to becoming a Northwest Outward Bound course paricipant:
Step one: Complete the online enrollment by clicking on Reserve Your Spot Today (above), or call to enroll (866-467-7651 or 503-946-3404)
Step two: You will receive a personalized Registration E-Mail from your Course Advisor within 48 hours.
Step three: Complete the paperwork that we have directed you to on this website.
Step four: We may need a couple of weeks to review your enrollment packet and approve your participation.

Enrollment Packet & Course Information

Enrollment Packet Deadline Policy: 
All applicants must adhere to the due dates listed in their Registration E-Mail. If you are unable to meet the requested deadlines, please be sure to contact your This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Otherwise, your spot on the course will be opened up to another student.

Youth Application

Physician Exam Form

Admissions & Enrollment Policies

Note: Supplemental Forms may apply if we need more specific information about you. Refer to your Registration E-Mail to determine which supplemental forms are required for your enrollment packet.

This section contain details that are key to the specific course you have enrolled on. This information will come in handy when packing, planning, and preparing for the adventure you have chosen. Please read these documents CAREFULLY and contact your This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.

Gear & Footwear

Travel Information

Course Description

Attending Outward Bound

Course Preparation & Physical Fitness

Information on Completing & Returning Forms

Supplemental Forms & Scholarship

Refer to your Registration E-Mail to determine if any of the following forms are required for your enrollment process. AGAIN, note the DUE DATE in your Registration E-Mail.
The Northwest Outward Bound School offers financial assistance in the form of Needs-Based Scholarships. The scholarships typically do not exceed 1/2 of the base cost. In order to receive an award offer, you will have to enroll in your chosen course, go through the enrollment and medical screening process and be officially cleared to participate on the course. There is a $500 deposit that must be paid at the time of enrollment, which is refundable if your scholarship award does not meet your needs. Please note that all scholarship applicants are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and awards are strictly based on need and scholarship money availability. The application form is available below. Please contact Skye Clifford (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) if you have any questions regarding the Needs-Based Scholarships, and/or other questions regarding financing for your course.

Need-Based Scholarship Application

Course Description

Sailing Section - Historically, Longboats are smaller, sea-worthy boats carried on larger sailing vessels. Longboats can be outfitted with a sail and also have space for six to ten rowers. We will adapt to the tidal rhythms, moving with the currents sometimes at night. When there is no wind we will row.

Using charts, compass, and navigational tools students will plot their position and course of travel. They will learn a number of knots and their uses aboard the boat and ashore. Part of the richness of maritime life is interacting with other sailors. At times the students will be visiting islands with other people. 

Backpacking Section - After the sailing section, students will embard on a multi-day backpacking expedition that will take them into the heart of the North Cascades National Park and through the Pasayten Wilderness. Students will learn to read a map, use a compass, set up shelters and cook in the backcountry. Travel in the North Cascades will include time on and off-trail both above and below tree line.
Most backpacking sections include the opportunity for a peak attempt. Peak attempts are daylong enterprises often entailing pre-dawn starts. Peak attempts on this course do not typically require the use of technical gear.As the last days of the course draw near, students will be able to maximize their independence and decision making as the instructors empower them to use their newly acquired confidence and skills to make the decisions that will see them through the final days of the adventure.

Each Outward Bound course in Washington includes a solo experience. Instructors thoughtfully manage solo so that it is a time where students can relax from the physical and mental rigors of the course and spend some time reflecting upon the experience. While students will be largely alone during this time, they will be camping close to the instructor basecamp and instructors will check on students regularly. Our courses also include a service component. Service projects range widely depending on the course, but may include projects such as trail repair, removal of invasive species, assisting at our local food bank farm or doing repairs at our community non-profit nursing home.Successful completion of this course demands mastery of skills, trust, fitness, confidence, tenacity, leadership, initiative and compassion. The promotion of these qualities and the discovery of strengths within a student is the purpose of Outward Bound.

SoloA one or two-night solo provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition. With sufficient food and equipment, students will spend time alone at an assigned campsite to rest, reflect, and practice the camp craft skills they have been learning throughout the course. We choose the solo site to offer as much solitude as possible, within hearing distance of other group members. Students will not travel during this time and instructors will check on students occasionally, but they will be mostly alone for the duration of the solo. Many students are initially nervous about the solo, but most are ready for a rest and a break from the group when the time for solo arrives.

Final Expedition – Outward Bound believes that an appropriate amount of independence is a powerful educational tool. In order to deliver that benefit, Outward Bound purposefully and gradually transfers certain leadership responsibilities to the students culminating with our “Final Expedition”. Near the end of course, if the group has demonstrated the necessary leadership, team problem solving and wilderness living skills, they may be given the opportunity to travel without instructors immediately present. Students on courses designed for 16 and older may travel without instructors immediately present (although they will be checking in periodically) for one to five days, depending on course length, student age, staff assessment of student’s abilities and terrain. Many of our students feel this phase of the course was the most rewarding, as the group learns to work together, problem solve, and accomplish a goal independently, while utilizing all the skills they have acquired.

Service – Service is an integral part of the Outward Bound curriculum. We encourage service to the environment in the form of leaving campsites cleaner than we find them and practicing 'Leave No Trace' ethics throughout the course. We coordinate service projects with land managers (US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, local land trusts, etc.) as well as with select social service agencies (nursing homes, hospitals, etc.). During the course, students may have the opportunity to participate in a trail work or other service project.

Final Challenge Event – We typically end our courses with a Final Challenge Event—an individual final physical push. This might take the form of a run or a triathlon-style challenge.

Course Area

The San Juan Islands –These islands are known for their beauty, wildlife, and accessibility with many parks and anchorages. The San Juans are drier than the surrounding region as they rest in a rain shadow tucked between glaciated mountains on the Olympic peninsula, Vancouver Island, and the Cascades of mainland Washington and British Columbia. The views from the islands to the mountains are spectacular. The islands include a wide range of ecosystems which leads to a unique mix of plant life ranging from brittle prickly pear cactus and Indian paintbrush to enormous cedar and Douglas fir. The ocean is teaming with life including giant kelp beds, marine invertebrates, salmon, seals, porpoises, and orca whales. The rich marine ecosystem also attracts many birds including great blue herons, cormorants, gulls, osprey, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles.

The North Cascades - The North Cascades are also called called the “American Alps” for their rugged beauty and glaciated peaks; they remain some of the wildest and most untrammeled wilderness in the United States. The North Cascades host the greatest concentration of glaciers in the “Lower 48” and are full of high mountain meadows peppered with wild flowers. Our course area hosts some of the most famous alpine climbing and backpacking routes in the United States. Our backpacking programs operate in the Pasayten Wilderness and North Cascades National Park on the east side of the North Cascades and receive significantly less rainfall than the western coast of Washington.

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