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Outdoor Pursuits

Outdoor Pursuits (OP) offers a variety of trips and instructional experiences including canyoneering, hiking, rock climbing, ice climbing, avalanche forecasting, mountaineering, camping, canoeing and more.

The Outdoor Pursuits Program (OP) offers a variety of trips and instructional experiences including canyoneering, hiking, rock climbing, ice climbing, avalanche forecasting, mountaineering, camping and canoeing. OP includes educational, cultural and leadership experiences, programs and resources designed to connect students with one another, their institution and the outdoors. Current CR members are eligible to take advantage of affordable experiences and outdoor gear rentals at the Outdoor Pursuits Center.

Click here for the current schedule: Outdoor Pursuits Spring & Summer 2019


OP includes the following ways to get involved:

  • Instructional outings with Outdoor Adventure
  • Recreation and engagement with the Pathfinder Leadership Development Program
  • Teambuilding services and group facilitation with Adventure Leadership Programs (ALP)
  • Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) for outdoor Rental Shop and trip planning resources
  • Open climbing and climbing instruction on the Climbing Wall
  • Online resources for trip planning
  • Loaner gear for classroom presentations at no charge
  • Learning, leadership, and research information
  • Student-staff leadership development
  • Volunteer and outdoor service opportunities


Research and Learning

Challenging Conventions in Outdoor Education

Outdoor Pursuits is an aggregate of instructional, leadership, teambuilding and research programs. In addition to learning hard skills such as rock climbing and avalanche safety with OA or leadership and teamwork with Pathfinder, there is a broad knowledge base that goes along with participation in outdoor activities. Not always necessary for success in the outdoors, knowledge can make participation more enriching and enjoyable.

We function on a philosophy of inquiry, here at OP. That means we don't take much for granted and we can sometimes challenge convention within the outdoor education world. OP staff engage in literature review, new knowledge research and theoretical exploration from a questioning perspective.

We welcome student engagement in research projects and suggestions for topics we might pursue. Examples of previous projects can be seen below, on this page. Previous projects include pull-testing ropes and knots and studying learning and teaching strategies.


Student Involvement and Research

Research and Innovation

We welcome student engagement in research projects and suggestions for topics we might pursue. Examples of previous projects can be seen below, on this page. Projects include pull-testing ropes, knots and climbing devices and systems, and learning and teaching strategies.

Knot pull-test

Wet knot pull-test

Select the drop-down menus below for additional research and resources.

For more information, please email Bryan at‌‌

Outdoor Pursuits has been involved in various research project. Here are links to some of those projects and links to work we found particularly interesting and germane to outdoor education. If you have an idea or suggestion for a research topic, please let us know.


Kayak Study

Fear Coping in High Risk Seeking Athletes

Outdoor Pursuits Youtube

Tamarix: An Invasive Plant Species.

Avalanche Info
Four Factors Avalanche Slide ShowIf you like to snowshoe or backcountry ski, you might consider getting involved in our hands-on avalanche safety class. We will meet over two days to cover the “Four Factors” of human interaction in avalanche terrain. Topics include terrain, weather, snowpack and people.

Hiking and Canyoneering
Every outdoor program has it’s premier experiences and we consider our Moab Canyoneering trip over spring break among ours. If you’ve ever wondered what it like on the other side of the railing at those scenic overlooks, now is the time to find out! Climb over the railing and join us as we find safe ways to explore spectacular technical canyons of the desert southwest. Fees include instruction, gear (even clothing if needed), and lodging.

RTD Ride and Hike @ Trails to Tread This is a resource that helps connect students to RTD buses and trains that service outdoor adventure locations. This is just a sample of the many outdoor adventures you can enjoy once you get started!

Day Hikes
We also include seasonal wildflower and photo hikes.

Local Ice Climbing
Denver is the only major city in the contiguous US that offers ice climbing within a 20-minute drive. So, why not take up ice climbing? It’s a great winter sport and we can get you started at a very affordable student price.

Ice Climbing Outline

Sharpening Ice Tools


The Outdoor Adventure mountaineering programs provide a progression that address’s the combination of activities commonly referred to as mountaineering. We suggest that mountaineering is not a stand alone set of techniques in the same sense that rock climbing is. Rather, it describes the mindset of participants and the environment where the activity takes place. Mountaineering is “big feature” oriented, typically summit but also significant mountain features such as arêtes, pinnacles or gendarmes.

The mountaineering progression provides a participant with a basic skill set that supports further participation in increasingly technically advanced skills. No particular skill set is more important than another – all are important to the mountaineer.

The philosophy behind the design is that participants have the opportunity to learn the skills listed within each activity (i.e. learning outcomes are the priority). Activities are not particularly strenuous, they are not anymore physically demanding than is necessary for learning and practicing the skills. Consequently, climbing a mountain or “summiting” something is not generally included in the outcomes.

Read More PDF...

Ouray Ice Climbing

One of our premier challenges and a great learning opportunity, the annual outing to the Ouray Ice Park is the perfect opportunity to get started with this incredible sport or to hone your skills, if you already climb. Experienced staff provide expert safety and instruction and you can’t beat the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs for convenience and comfort. Just about everything is included in the price - lodging, transportation, gear, warm clothes, and instruction.

Ouray Slide Show

Ouray Gear List

There is no better way to get started rock climbing than with this student-fee supported program. We teach both indoors and outside, and topics include knots, belaying, anchor building, risk assessment, and climbing technique. Each rock climbing session within the series can be taken individually or in sequence. Click the link for learning outcomes for each session and for more information.

O‌utdoor Adventure rock resources:
OA knot list

Developing Power to Take on Mountains

Training for Climbing 

Outdoor Adventure rock lesson info and outlines:
Rock Climbing Information

Rock One Lesson's Learning Outcomes

Rock Two Lesson's Learning Outcomes

Rock Three Lesson's Learning Outcomes

Rock Four Lesson's Learning Outcomes

Directions to the Outdoor Adventure Center

Climbing Gear Strength Ratings

Sharpening Ice Tools

Developing Power to Take on Mountains

Batteries and Their Use in Outdoor Pursuits

ALP PDF Slide Show

Small Group Facilitation

Trails to Tread

ALP Activities

OA knot list

BLM Abandoned Mines Safety Brochure

Avalanche Safety Resource



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