Reed College Mid-Year Orientation 2015-16

Orientation Odysseys: Outdoor

Reed’s Outdoor Odysseys offer you a chance to see some of the spectacular areas just outside of Portland, meet other students, and enjoy an outdoor adventure before classes begin.

Gear Up

Reed College students rafting

Outdoor Odysseys bring small groups of eight to ten students to wilderness areas within three hours of Portland—many participants will have the opportunity to explore some of the remaining old-growth forest around the 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.

If you register for an Outdoor Odyssey, you cannot attend another Odyssey. 

Please note: Reed College reserves the right to alter or cancel trips based on conditions or situations outside the control of the college. These conditions include but are not limited to low registration, wildfire risk, and low water conditions. If Reed offers an alternative trip, participants will be contacted to opt-in to the new activity. If Reed must cancel a trip in its entirety, the college will notify participants and student accounts will not be charged.

Contact: Will Symms, assistant director of physical education & outdoor programs, 503/777-7232.

Important Dates

Friday, August 21
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 22
Early a.m. Trips depart
Sunday, August 23
Trips continue
Monday, August 24
6 p.m. Trips return

Trip Levels

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: relaxing atmosphere, 4–6 miles of travel per day, water is Class I or II or flat water
Intermediate Level 4–6: more difficult and pushing your skill set, 6–8 miles of travel per day, greater elevation gain, water is Class I or II, possibly III
Advanced Level 6–10: good physical fitness is a must, 6–10 miles of travel per day, willingness to camp in snow travel and be at higher elevation, water is Class II or II, and possibly harder

Trip Descriptions

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)

Klickitat River Float Trip, Beginner Level 1–4

Join a team of paddle rafters for a three-day river journey to explore the remote and pristine Klickitat River. Rafts will get us to some sweet adventures. Hike along the rimrock, discover sweet swimming holes and waterfalls, explore the Gorge and find camaraderie at our Riverside Camps. One group of 18. Level 1-4

Kayaking Expedition

New for 2014 is our self supported kayak expedition in inflatable kayaks. No experience is necessary -- only the desire to learn river dynamics and paddling skills. Once your team has mastered the basics you will strap in your gear bag and kayak down the Klickitat River. You will campout along the river and have fun adventuring everyday. One group of 12. Level 5-6.

Organic Valley Bike Tour

From our Trout Lake Valley bike camp you will explore an agricultural valley tucked away beneath snowcapped Mt. Adams. We will bike to working organic farms, roll up our sleeves and help out with the farm chores. You will meet local families and learn about organic dairies, vegetable farming, bee keeping, cheese making and Alpaca wool production. Each day features secret swimming holes, spelunking, hiking and enjoying the magic of the Trout Lake Valley. Mtn. Bike Required. $50 fee for rental bike additional fee. One group of 11. Level 1-4.

Technical Tree Climbing Course

This three-day arboreal adventure will teach you the basics of technical tree climbing. Focusing on techniques used by canopy researchers, arborists, treehouse builders, and nature photographers, you will learn canopy access, tree assessment, and specialized tree climbing techniques. A highlight will be constructing a tree top village. Here participants will have the opportunity to sleep high up in the branches of a mighty oak. Come explore the last frontier—just above our heads, but out of reach until now.

Outdoor Odyssey Costs & Registration

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

Backpacking trips (Indian Heaven/Mt. Adams): $285

DNR Service Trip: $285

Kayaking Expedition $350

Klickitat River Float: $350

Organic Valley Bike Tour $285

Rock Climbing Trip: $335

Technical Tree Climbing Course: $475

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 14.

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. 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 21. No need to call and request gear after you have already indicated your needs on your form.

The following items are needed for all outdoor Odyssey trips
Outdoor sleeping bag—nylon with fiberfill is best; no cotton (20–30 degree rating)
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 and no 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 or polypropylene
Gloves—wool or polypropylene
Whistle on a string
Water bottles, two minimum (one-quart capacity each)
Lighter or matches
Personal snacks
Additional items for Backpacking 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
Closed-toe camp shoe (comfort after a long day)
Additional items for Klickitat Float & Kayaking Expedition
Duffel bag—no framed backpacks on raft trips, please
One pair of closed-toe tennis shoes that you can get wet and a change of shoes for camp
Additional items for DNR Service Trip, Rock-climbing, Biking & Tree Climbing trips
Day pack
Duffel bag
Spoon and bowl
Closed-toe camp shoe (comfort after a long day)
Reed will provide
Cooking equipment
Cooking stoves
Plastic ground cloths
Garbage bags

Arriving for Your Outdoor Odyssey

Arrive on campus between 1 and 5 p.m. on Friday, August 21. 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 21. 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 21. 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 24. 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.


If you are a student in need of accommodations due to disability, physical or otherwise, please let us know in advance so we can be as accommodating and inclusive as possible in our programming. You may also contact Theresa Lowrie in the Disability Support Services office to discuss your needs and other possible accommodations for your time at Reed.

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Student activities office

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