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Appalachian Mountains Backpacking, Rock Climbing & Whitewater Canoeing

Questions? Call 1 (888) 75 NCOBS for more infomation.

Course Details

  • Course Length 28
  • Ages 18 - 30
  • Region NC Mountains
  • Activities Backpacking, Canoeing, College Age/Adult, Initiatives, Multi-Activity, Rock Climbing, Summer Courses
  • Price$4,311.00
  • Financial Aid AvailableYes
  • Location Start Asheville Regional Airport; Asheville, NC
  • Location End Asheville Regional Airport; Asheville, NC

Course Description

It is what we have done best for nearly 50 years at North Carolina Outward Bound School. Come to know what it is like to live, work and play in the great outdoors by learning how to camp and travel on a classic 28-day, multi-activity course. This journey will take you deep into some of the oldest mountains in the world, where North Carolina Outward Bound School began.

Although 28 days seems like a long time, this course is actually the most optimal course for getting the true Outward Bound experience. After long days of challenge and adventure, you'll be rewarded with skills that last a lifetime.

Participants will journey deep into Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests where they will work together to find their way through lush forests, expedition, cook their own meals over a camp stove and learn Leave No Trace techniques to minimize their impact on the land.

Class I-III whitewater twist through sculpted rock channels -- perfect for you and a partner to develop collaboration and communication skills required to execute synchronized strokes, dynamic eddy turns, peel-outs and ferries. Participants will also build fundamental rock climbing skills like knot tying, belaying and reading rock faces. Those skills are then put to the test as the crew attempts a breath-taking multi-pitch climb to the summit of a huge granite mountain with panoramic views of the valley.

Longer courses also allow enough time to conduct a service project. Whether maintaining trails, partnering with nonprofits or helping at local farms and gardens, stewardship has long been a part of the mission and values of an Outward Bound program. No prior experience is necessary.

Hard skills you will learn on course:

  • Safety precautions for backcountry foot travel
  • How to find and set-up campsites
  • How to navigate terrain
  • Map and compass reading
  • Working with ropes (tying and rappelling)
  • Possible multi-pitch climb
  • Basic water safety and rescue techniques
  • How to work with your paddling partner to successfully negotiate class II and III rapids

Soft skills you will learn on course:

  • Leadership
  • Conflict resolution
  • Confidence
  • Communication
  • Team building
  • And more…

Sample Itinerary

This course includes nine to 12 days of backpacking, up to four days rock climbing and rappelling (weather dependent), up to four days whitewater canoeing, up to 72 hours of a Solo reflection period, a service project and a personal challenge event.


  • Recommended $50 for extra expenses (i.e. food at the airport or during an extra travel day before or after course or in case of any lost or damaged gear at de-issue).
  • Applicants are required to pay a non-refundable $125 Application Fee and a $125 In-Course Transportation fee in addition to the listed tuition prices of each course. Please see our Enrollment Policies and Procedures before enrolling.
  • North Carolina Outward Bound provides the technical gear required for course participation (i.e. backpacks, sleeping bags, tents or tarps, cooking utensils and supplies, food, rock climbing gear and whitewater canoeing gear). Tuition covers the usage of these items. We provide each applicant with a clothing list which describes the items that participants are responsible for supplying.

Additional Information

From the Field

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“I learned that I am "my best self" when I am doing something that may scare and challenge me. I want to stay "Outward Bound!"” —Mallory Nickel, age 20
“My greatest emotional accomplishment [on my course] was opening up to everyone and not holding anything back. Physically, my greatest challenge was the Personal Challenge Event at the end of the course! I have never been able to run that long of a consecutive distance before and I was really proud!” —Danica Motuz
“Our journey took us 70+ miles of hiking, 4 days of whitewater canoeing and 4 days of technical rock climbing. [In that time] I have learned critical life skills in dealing with group dynamics in the heart of the North Carolina wilderness. ” —Daniel Sweeney. age 27
“This has been an eye-opening and life-changing experience. I am going to live more deliberately, not let failure be a deterant and use challenges as motivation rather than excuses.” —Patrick Lehan, age 24
“Outward Bound has solidified and defined something I've been trying to pin down for my entire life. I am still thinking and processing what Outward Bound has meant to me. It's much more of a difficult description than I can put into words. ” —Scott Halstvedt, age 19

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