For More Info Call:  503-946-3404

Washington Sea Kayaking & Alpine Backpacking - (Ages 16-18, 18-22)

Course Details

    Location: Washington
    Activities: Backpacking, Kayaking
    Tuition & Fees: $3295 (15 day) $4295 (22 day)
    Financial Aid Available: Yes

Both 15 and 22 day Washington Sea Kayaking and Alpine Backpacking courses begin in the San Juan Islands, a maze of islands sculpted by current, and world-renowned as a paddling destination. You’ll start with the basics and progress quickly as a paddler, immersed in learning through expedition experience, learning advanced paddle strokes, rescue techniques, and marine natural history. Moving camp from island to island, you and your crew will learn how to pack for expeditionary travel, build camp and cook using Leave No Trace ® ethics, and work together as a motivated, goal-oriented, cohesive team. All this learning transfers well into the North Cascades, where you’ll trade your charts for maps and learn mountain navigation. You’ll travel both on and off the trail through fir forest valleys and high wildflower meadows, and scramble to rocky summits.

Available Courses

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.

Teen & College Application

Adult 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.

Travel Information

Course Description

Gear and Footwear

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

In the San Juan Islands, within the Salish Sea, you’ll explore island to island by single and double kayak. You and your crew will learn paddle strokes, self and assisted rescues, marine navigation, and weather/sea state assessment strategies. The cool waters of the San Juans are home to immensely diverse life, from diving seabirds, to kelp forests, otters to urchins, porpoises to puffins. During the sea kayaking phase of course, you and your crew will lay the foundation for the skills that let your expedition truly shine: leadership and followership, assertive communication, service to one another, and above all, compassion. While alpine backpacking, you’ll travel into the heart of the North Cascades National Park and across the majestic Pasayten Wilderness. You’ll become competent in reading a map, using a compass, navigating on and off trail, setting up lightweight shelters, and cooking in the backcountry. You’ll hike from valley to ridge top, through ancient cedars and wildflower meadows, scramble to summits, and traverse snowy slopes. Extensive wilderness travel demands motivation, commitment, and teamwork from every expedition member. 

Outward Bound instructors teach and facilitate the interpersonal skills that will allow your group to function as a team to accomplish goals set by you and your crew. Outward Bound courses are team environments, requiring students to work closely together to travel, navigate, and make camp each day. Throughout Outward Bound’s 50-year history and into the present, we strive to deliver new perspective on values, compassion, and being of service to others. 

Weather dependent, your course includes opportunities for a peak attempt. Peak attempts are day-long enterprises often entailing pre-dawn starts. All the learning along the way, from teamwork to navigation, becomes critical; everyone’s full energy is required to reach the top. Perspective from the summits are always worth the effort.

Towards the end of the course, instructors empower students to use their newfound confidence and skills to make route-finding decisions, cook, travel, and camp as one capable team. During this time, instructors step back, maintain safety management, and allow the group to manage themselves through several days of challenging backpacking.

Each Outward Bound course in Washington includes a solo experience. Instructors thoughtfully manage solo as a time when students can relax from physical and mental rigors and spend time reflecting on their experience. While students will be largely alone during this time, they camp close to the instructor base camp and instructors check on each student regularly.

Outward Bound is committed to improving our communities through Service. Each of our courses include a service component. Our service projects differ depending on the course, but may include trail repair, removal of invasive species, harvest help at our local food bank farm, or repairs at our community non-profit nursing home. 

Successful completion of this course demands tenacity, leadership, and compassion. The challenges, support, opportunities, and meaningful experiences usher in a discovery of the strength within; this is the purpose of Outward Bound.

Course Area

The San Juan Islands are located between the Olympic Coast Range, Vancouver Island and the North Cascades. The combination of glaciated peaks and sparkling waters make the San Juan Islands one of the best kayaking venues in the world. Sightings of Orca whales, seals, porpoises and eagles are common. There are over 400 islands in Puget Sound that are rimmed by rugged shorelines, pristine beaches and mountains.

The North Cascades are 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 land programs operate in the Pasayten, Sawtooth and Glacier Peak Wilderness areas on the east side of the North Cascades and receive significantly less rainfall than the western coast of Washington.

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