Wilderness Based Orientation (WBO)

Begin your college career at Western with an outdoor adventure!

WBO Trips are August 17-21, 2018

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

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 WBO trips are 5 days long. Participants may move into on campus housing Thursday, August 16, before their trip departs. All 2018 WBO trips will cost $595 except for White Water Rafting which costs $895. These prices are based on extra travel, permitting, equipment needs, and working with outside companies like the Canyonlands Field Institute for our white water rafting trip. We will celebrate with all 100+ participants and instructors at a closing BBQ on the evening of August 21st!

Financial assistance is available through the​ WBO Scholarship.

Questions?
Please feel free to contact us:
WBO Office: 970.943.2290 or wbo@western.edu

Whitewater Rafting

 

Course Description

We introduced this trip in 2016 and it was everyone's favorite!! Warm weather, beautiful canyons, great food and amazing guides made this trip one not to miss. Registration opens June 1 and will fill quickly. 

Most Western students will find themselves making regular pilgrimages to the nearby deserts of the Colorado Plateau during their career at Western.  On this exciting trip, we will spend a day exploring the red rock deserts of Colorado before heading to the Utah border for a 4 day, 3 night rafting trip through Ruby Horsethief and Westwater Canyons. 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 the class III/IV whitewater in paddle rafts and oar boats—an adventure to remember (and possibly return to) for your entire college career.

Registration Opens June 1. 

Course Itinerary

This course will start by heading to the Grand Junction area for a day before camping near the starting point for the journey down river.  The next day will involve organizing equipment and getting on the water to begin the 4 day adventure down sandstone canyons.  Along the way there will be flat water, whitewater rapids, hiking, camping, and more.  Four days later the river emerges from Westwater canyon, and after breaking all of the gear down, the trip will return to Gunnison.

Course Paperwork: Students must register through MyWestern after June 1. Official packet will be sent out upon registration.

Rock Climbing

Course Description

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! This is a front-country trip; we camp in primitive, developed campsites close to roads and climbing sites.

Registration opens June 1.

Itinerary

The Gunnison area contains a wide variety of climbing opportunities, from the clean granite of Taylor Canyon to steep sport climbing in the San Juans to world-class bouldering in Crested Butte.  This course will provide instruction in basic belay technique and use of climbing equipment.  We will travel around the local crags to camp and climb on the easily approachable rocks in the Gunnison area.  We will top-rope routes of all difficulties, from beginner to advanced.  Nights will be spent around the campfire in a front country campground. This course is capped at 9 participants.

Course Paperwork: Students must register through MyWestern after June 1. Official packet will be sent out upon registration.

Multi-Sport Adventure

Course Description

Enjoy a sample of what the Gunnison Valley has to offer with this multi-sport adventure.  This course will take you hiking through majestic alpine vistas, Stand-Up paddle-boarding through narrow canyons, and much more. Depending on group interest and experience, we might try rock climbing, mountain biking, and/or rafting! No technical experience required.

Registration opens June 1.

Itinerary

This is a front country course with car camping in established, primitive campgrounds. We will definitely spend time hiking and Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUPing) in the beautiful Gunnison National Forest. Depending on interest, we may also go climbing, mountain biking and/or rafting. Your nights will be spent around the campfire, getting to know each other and what it takes to succeed at Western. 

Course Paperwork: Students must register through their MyWestern account. Official packets will be sent out after registration.

Mountaineering

Course Description

The Gunnison Valley, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, is an ideal place for an introduction to mountaineering. This trip will teach you the essentials for a successful mountaineering trip including trip planning, navigation, backpacking and 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. This is a backcountry trip with camping in unestablished sites at high altitudes.

Registrations opens June 1

Itinerary

You will learn how to properly pack your backpack and set up a proper alpine campsite keeping LNT principles in mind. From there you will head into the backcountry and spend 4 days climbing peaks, backcountry cragging and camping next to high alpine lakes. Coming into this course with experience backpacking and rock climbing, as well as with a high level of fitness, will be especially helpful. This course will take you high into the mountains of Colorado and provide a wonderful introduction to mountaineering. This trip is capped at 8 participants.

Course Paperwork: Students must register through their MyWestern account. Official packets will be sent out after registration.

Whitewater Kayaking

WW Kayak - Happy Kayaker

 

Course Description

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! This is front country trip with camping in established, primitive campsites close to roads and the river. Register early - this trip is sure to fill and is limited to 8 participants.

Registration opens June 1

Itinerary

This course begins at the Western pool where you will learn how to wet exit and practice rolling your kayak in a warm, non-threatening environment.  From there you will move to Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado's largest body of water, located just West of Gunnison.  You will spend the day learning paddle strokes and braces as you play fun games such as kayak polo and have relay races.  Once the group feels more confident in their boats, you will move to the Gunnison river where you will paddle a class I-II stretch of water.  This course progresses as you progress offering increasingly more challenging whitewater as the group is ready for it.  The culmination of this course is on the Upper Taylor River, a class III stretch of whitewater running through beautiful Taylor Canyon.  Evenings will be spent in a front country camp setting where you will have fun playing games and getting to know your fellow classmates.

Course Paperwork: Students must register through MyWestern after June 1. Official packet will be sent out upon registration.

Sea Kayaking

Course Description

This is a backcountry course with nights spent camping on the shores of the lake. Students will explore Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado's largest body of water, while touring atop flat water in a personal sea kayak. They carry within the kayak all that is needed to camp along the water's edge.  This relaxing trip will be a great way to have an extremely unique adventure, learn valuable skills, and spend quality time with peers. Students should be prepared to paddle several miles each day through a beautiful landscape under a variety of weather conditions.Cell phone communications are very limited and instructors carry an emergency satellite communications device.

Registration opens June 1

Itinerary

You will begin this course learning how to wet exit and pack all your gear into your sea kayak. The first day will be spent learning about group travel in kayaks and stroke techniques. Each participant will have the opportunity to help lead the group on a day of travel. Everyone will have the opportunity to be the navigator, point, and/ or sweep for the group. Each day you will paddle in the morning and then spend the afternoon and evenings having fun, playing games, hiking and swimming.  Nights will be spent camping along the shores of Blue Mesa in primitive campsites. While there are a few porta-potties on the lake, we also carry a backcountry toilet system for sites where these are not available.  This course is capped at 8 participants.

Course Paperwork: Students must register through MyWestern after June 1. Official packet will be sent out upon registration.

Backpacking

Course Description

This is a backcountry trip with camping in unestablished, wilderness campsites. Students will travel either in the San Juans or West Elks Wilderness over moderate distances (2-7 miles/day) Take advantage of this opportunity to learn the skills necessary to enjoy camping and traveling in this beautiful backcountry setting. Be prepared to hike several miles a day over passes and peaks at altitudes over 11,000 feet. And remember— bring your camera! 

Registration opens June 1

Itinerary

This is an entirely backcountry course that will take you deep into the San Juan Mountains or West Elks Wilderness. You will spend the first day hiking into the backcountry and will be taught how to properly pack your backpack and LNT techniques for traveling and camping.  As you get higher into the backcountry, you will have the chance to be leader of the day and guide the group using navigation skills your instructors will teach you.  The San Juans and West Elks are both high ranges of the Rockies and participants should be prepared for carrying heavy packs at altitudes of 11,000+ feet. We recommend at least 3 days of acclimation if you are coming from sea level! Proper acclimation, hydration and nutrition are crucial for a successful trip. This course is capped at 12 participants.

Course Paperwork: Students must register through MyWestern after June 1. Official packet will be sent out upon registration.