Wilderness Based Orientation (WBO)

August 11-15, 2017

Registration opens June 1 though your MyWestern account. Students must be registered for classes before they can register for WBO.

Begin your college career at Western with an outdoor adventure! With WBO you will be part of a group of new students discovering what the great outdoors has to offer in the Colorado backcountry. Each WBO course is led by some of our finest students who will give you instruction on adventure activities and life in college.

The purpose of Wilderness Based Orientation (WBO) is to provide an opportunity for you to meet other new students and make meaningful connections, build friendships and get to know the incredible recreational opportunities that Gunnison has to offer before you begin your first semester here at Western.

All 2017 WBO trips are 5 days long. Participants may move into on campus housing Thursday, August 10, before their trip departs. Local trips are $495. White Water Rafting in UTAH is $725, due to extra travel, permitting and equipment needs. We will celebrate with all 100+ participants and instructors at a closing BBQ!

Financial assistance is available through the​ WBO Scholarship.

Whitewater Rafting in Utah!!

The most remote and exciting trip this year!! While Gunnison is known for its proximity to world class rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking, boating and more, most Western students will find themselves making regular pilgrimages to the nearby deserts of the Colorado Plateau. On this adventurous trip, we will spend a day exploring the red rock deserts of Colorado before heading to the Utah boarder for a 4 day, 3 night rafting trip through Ruby Horsethief and Westwater Cayon. The river trip starts off with a few days of flat water, hiking, and geologic wonders while camping under starry skies under towering sandstone walls. Finally, we will enter the ancient inner gorge of Westwater Canyon. Here, we will tackle class III/IV whitewater in paddle rafts and oar boats- an adventure to remember (and possibly return to) for your entire college career! 

Rock Climbing

Take part in one of the most popular sports at Western- rock climbing. This course caters to the beginner and intermediate climber alike. Your trained instructors will take you through the basics of climbing equipment and technique to help you develop your skills. Experience first-hand the most beautiful places in the Gunnison Valley while having fun...and building new friendships!

Multi-Sport Adventure (Hike, Bike and SUP)

Having trouble choosing just one course? Enjoy a sample of what WBO has to offer with this multi-sport adventure. This course will take you hiking through majestic alpine vistas and Stand Up Paddle boarding narrow canyons.  We might climb, mountain bike and/or go rafting as well, depending on group experience and interest- the one thing that is certain: we will make friends and memories!


The Gunnison Valley, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, is an ideal place to hike into a backcountry base camp and tackle some rocky peaks! This trip will teach you the essentials for a successful mountaineering trip including trip planning, scrambling, navigation, backpacking and some light alpine climbing. This fast-paced and rewarding course requires carrying a large backpack at high altitudes (12,000 feet plus). Expect to be physically challenged, learn new skills, and build an effective team. We recommend 3-5 days of acclimatization before attempting this trip. 

Whitewater Kayaking  

Experience firsthand one of the fastest growing adventure sports—whitewater kayaking. Your instructors will guide you through the training process, equipping you with the essential expertise, techniques, and safety precautions necessary to venture down the rapids. Beginner and intermediate paddlers are welcome. Tackling the challenge of navigating the rivers of the Gunnison Valley will surely be a rewarding experience!  Register early - this trip is sure to fill and is limited to 8 participants.

Sea Kayaking

Explore Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado's largest body of water, touring atop the flat water in your personal sea kayak. Carry within the kayak all that you need to camp along the water's edge. This relaxing trip will be a great way to have a unique adventure, learn valuable skills, and spend quality time with your peers. Be prepared to paddle yourself several miles a day through the beautiful landscape.


Multiple WBO Backpacking trips explore the high alpine lakes and peaks of the Gunnison area. Prepare to carry everything you need for 4 nights on your back as you walk through stunning vistas and relax by crystal clear lakes. We recommend 3-5 days of acclimatization before attempting this trip. Altitudes range from 10-13,000 feet!!


Please feel free to contact us with your questions:
WBO Office:  970.943.2290 or Interim Manager Heather Bell: 970.943.7107