Reed College Orientation 2014

Outdoor Odysseys

For information pertaining to all odysseys and conflicting programs, please see this page.

Will Symms, assistant director of physical education & outdoor programs
503/777-7232 or email

Outdoor Odyssey Schedule

Friday, August 23

1–5 p.m. Check-in
4:30 p.m. Parent reception
5:45 p.m. Dinner with other participants (students only, please)
Evening Packing and group assignments

Saturday, August 24

Early a.m. Trips depart

Sunday, August 25

Trips continue

Monday, August 26

6 p.m. Trips return

Outdoor Odyssey Trip Descriptions

What trip is right for me?

It’s good to be honest about your goals and expectations regarding your participation in an outdoor odyssey. Located at the start of every trip description is a level rating. Use these to guide your choice.

Beginning Level 1–4: Casual fare, 4–6 miles of travel per day, more relaxation time.
Intermediate Level 4–6: More difficult routes, 6–8 miles of travel per day, working harder.
Advanced Level 6–10: Good physical fitness is a must, 6–10 miles of travel per day, snow travel and camping possible, some more technical skills are a plus but not mandatory if you are willing to go with the flow and try new things.

Reed’s outdoor odysseys offer you a chance to meet other new students, see some of the spectacular areas just outside of Portland, and learn about Reed culture from a current student. Enjoy the days before classes in the outdoors, meet new friends, and have tons of fun!

Outdoor odysseys are small groups of 8–10 students who will visit wilderness areas within three hours of Portland. Many participants will have the opportunity to explore some of the remaining old-growth forest around Mount Adams and Indian Heaven wilderness areas. Teams of student leaders or outdoor professionals lead the trips; all are trained in outdoor leadership, first aid, and CPR. The following trips are planned:

Indian Heaven Backpacking, Beginner Level 1–4

Explore the Pacific Northwest Cascade mountain range in this epic 3-day trip to Indian Heaven Wilderness Area. The Indian Heaven area is a historically significant area for Native Americans. Explore this sacred trading ground where tribes traveled across the Northwest to barter and trade goods. (3 groups of 11 people)

Mt. Adams Backpacking, Intermediate Level 4–6

Explore the Pacific Northwest Cascade mountain range in this epic 3-day trip to Mt. Adams Wilderness Area. The pristine vistas of Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helens will leave you wondering why it took you so long to see the Pacific Northwest.  (3 groups of 11 people)

Rock Climbing , Intermediate Level 4–6

In this 3-day trip to the world-renowned cliffs of Smith Rock State Park, you will experience excellent climbing, learn the basics of sport climbing, and bask in the glorious sunny weather of Central Oregon. (1 group of 11 people)

DNR Service Project Mt. Adams (Washington Department of Natural Resources), Beginner Level 1–4

This 3-day service and exploration trip to Mt Adams begins just outside the town of Trout Lake. This trip is a must for biology or environmental majors working in one of Washington's largest natural ecosystems. Learn ecology and natural history, and give back to the natural resources of the Northwest. Day adventures hiking and caving are a great way to unwind and have fun while working. (1 group of 11 people)

Yakama Nation High Camp Hike/Paddle, Advanced Level 6–10

Start this 3-day trip on the east side of Mt. Adams, summit to the Sunrise Camp on the Yakama Nation Reservation. This trip is for advanced hikers and those not too faint of heart, as you will be spending a night on the Hell Roaring Glacier just below the summit of Mt. Adams. The other night will be spent hiking and paddling on/around Bench Lake. (2 groups of 11 people)

Klickitat River Float Trip, Beginner Level 1–4

Spend 3 days traveling down the desert flanks of Mt. Adams on the Klickitat River. You will have an opportunity to float on a raft or inflatable kayaks (IKs) learning skills while enriching your inner conservationist. This treasure trove of islands is home to tons of birds, animals, old mining camps, and the elusive protected Western Gray Squirrel. This is not a whitewater trip, but a casual, scenic float. (2 groups of 8 people)

Outdoor Odyssey Costs & Registration

Trip costs, including professional guides, transportation, food, permits and rental of group equipment are:

Backpacking trips (Indian Heaven/Mt. Adams/Yakima Nation): $275

DNR Service Trip: $275

Klickitat River Float: $335

Rock Climbing Trip: $335

When you sign up for an outdoor odyssey, we will bill the full amount to your Reed College account. This fee is refundable if you are unable to attend and notify us before Friday, August 16.

To sign up for an outdoor odyssey, complete the application, acknowledgement of risk, waiver and release, and medical information online on IRIS. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis; materials must be received by June 15.

Please be honest when answering the questions about your outdoor experience. Trips are designed for all skill and experience levels, so don’t worry if you’ve never climbed Denali or hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail.

Gearing Up for Your Outdoor Odyssey

Many of the backpacking trips involve hiking at higher elevations. Do not bring cotton clothing; bring polypropylene or wool instead. While the weather is generally excellent in August, there are no guarantees. A waterproof jacket and pants are must-have items for the Pacific Northwest! If your hiking boots are new, wear them around town for a few days before the trip: your feet and your group will thank you.

If you don’t have all the gear you need, Reed’s backpack co-op has a limited number of backpacks, sleeping bags, and other assorted items to loan. Please indicate on your registration form if you need to borrow any of this equipment. We will provide requested gear when you arrive on Friday, August 23.

All outdoor odyssey participants should pack the following items. See trip-specific lists for additional items you will need.

  • Outdoor sleeping bag—nylon with fiberfill is best; no cotton!
  • Sleeping pad—Thermarest
  • Long underwear, tops and bottoms—capilene, polypropylene, or wool; no cotton!
  • Thin socks—capilene, polypropylene, or wool; no cotton!
  • Warm pant layer—fleece or wool, one pair; no jeans or cotton!
  • Warm lightweight jacket—fleece is best
  • Sweater—wool or polypropylene; no cotton!
  • Rain gear, tops and bottoms—waterproof, not just water resistant
  • Hiking/trail running shoes
  • Hat—wool
  • Shorts
  • T-shirt
  • Toiletries
  • Gloves
  • Whistle on a string
  • Water bottles, two minimum (one-quart capacity each)
  • Flashlight
  • Lighter or matches
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Personal snacks

Backpacking/Service Trips

  • Backpack—internal or external frame
  • Hiking boots—ideally these should be supportive, waterproof, and broken in; wear them at home for a few days
  • Spoon and bowl
  • Swimsuit

Klickitat Float Trip

  • Duffel bag—no framed backpacks on raft trips, please
  • One pair of closed-toe tennis shoes that you can get wet
  • Towel

Rock-Climbing Odyssey

  • Day pack
  • Duffel bag
  • Spoon and bowl

Reed will provide

  • Cooking equipment
  • Cooking stoves
  • Tents
  • Plastic ground cloths
  • Garbage bags

Arriving for Your Outdoor Odyssey

Arrive on campus between 1 and 5 p.m. on Friday, August 23. You can check in at Kaul Auditorium. Plan on spending the evening with your group since there is organization and orientation that needs to take place before our early morning departure.

To help you get to campus, van shuttles from the airport will be available at 1, 3, and 4 p.m. on Friday, August 23. You must email Cyrus Monsef by 5 p.m. on August 16 to reserve a space.

Once on Campus for Your Outdoor Odyssey

Please plan on having dinner with the group at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, August 23. The remainder of the evening will be invested in getting to know your group better, sorting and packing equipment, and making sure we are well organized for our departure early on Saturday. You will stay in your residence hall room the night before and after the trips.

Returning from Your Outdoor Odyssey

You can anticipate returning to Reed in the late afternoon or early evening on Monday, August 26. We anticipate that you’ll be done with clean up by 6 p.m., so you should have some flexibility to enjoy some downtime in your new environment. Trips will return to the west parking lot.