Orientation 2016

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 athletics, fitness, & outdoor programs, 503/777-7232.

Important Dates

Friday, August 19
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 20
Early a.m. Trips depart
Sunday, August 21
Trips continue
Monday, August 22
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. Each trip description has a Level Rating average. Use these to guide your potential choice.

Beginning Level 1–3: Casual fare, 4–6 miles travel per day, more relaxation time. Flat-water paddling.

Intermediate Level 4–6: More difficult routes, 6–8 miles travel per day, willing to challenge your self on harder water (flat and class 1–2 rated water), working harder.

Advanced Level 6.5–10: Good physical fitness is a must, 8–10 miles per day, snow travel and camping possible, possible white water paddling that needs willingness to adventure, some more technical skills are a plus but not mandatory (must be willing to go with the flow and try new things).

Trip Descriptions

Indian Heaven Backpacking

(Beginner Level 2.1 rating)

Explore the Pacific Northwest cascade mountain range in this epic three-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 4.1 rating)

Explore the Pacific Northwest cascade mountain range in this epic three-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)

Smith Rock Climbing

(Intermediate Level 5.1 rating)

In this three-day trip to the world renown cliffs of Smith Rock State Park, students 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)

Department of Natural Resources DNR Service Project

(Beginner Level 2.8 rating)

Join this three-day adventure/service trip to Mt Adams outside the town of scenic Trout Lake. This trip is a must for biology or environmental studies majors working in one of Washington’s largest natural ecosystems. Learn about the ecology and natural history and give back to the natural resources of the Northwest. Day adventures like hiking and caving are a great way to unwind and have fun while working. Participants must be willing to work in grassy areas with potential allergens. (1 group of 11 people)

Technical Tree Climbing Course

(Intermediate Level 5.2 rating)

Trees are everywhere. This three-day arboreal adventure will teach you the basics of technical tree climbing. Focusing on techniques used by canopy researchers, arborist, tree house builders, nature photographers, etc. Learn about canopy access, tree assessment, and specialized tree climbing equipment and techniques. We’ll even construct a tree top village! Participants will have the opportunity to sleep high up in the branches of a mighty oak tree. (1 group of 6 people)

Klickitat River Kayaking Tour

(Intermediate Level 5.2 rating)

Gear up and paddle into 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 camp out along the river and have fun adventuring everyday. (1 group of 11 people)

Organic Valley Bike Tour

(Intermediate Level 4.8 rating)

During our Trout Lake Valley bike camp, you will explore an agricultural valley tucked away beneath snowcapped Mt. Adams. We will bike to working at 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. Off-road and single-track trails with higher level of difficulties will be offered to participants. Hiking jaunts will be included and participants must be able to bike 5–8 miles per day. (1 group of 11 people)

Klickitat River Float Trip

(Beginner/Intermediate Level 3.5 rating)

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. (1 group of 11 people)

River Conservation Kayak, Rafting and Hiking Tour

(Intermediate Level 5.2 rating)

This Outdoor Odyssey trip will expose students to Oregon’s history of industrial development and juxtapose it with 21st century wilderness conservation and restoration via river recreation. We will start the trip off by with a first-hand experience of Willamette Falls and the Locks, a short flat-water paddling lesson, and a river cleanup. Then we will travel to the Santiam Valley where we will camp out for two nights, hike through federally protected wilderness at Opal creek, and raft the NF Santiam River before heading back to campus on Monday. (1 group of 11 people)

Deschutes River Rafting

(Intermediate Level 4.3 rating)

The Deschutes River runs through the heart of Central Oregon down to the Columbia River off of I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge. The rafters will start in Maupin, OR about two and a half hours from Reed on a three-day journey. This trip is professionally managed by River Drifters Company, which provides great food, experienced guides, and (as always) heart-stopping rapids to entertain all.

Outdoor Odyssey Costs & Registration

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

$285 Backpacking Trips (Indian Heaven/Mt. Adams)
$375 River Conservation Kayak, Rafting and Hiking Tour, Smith Rock Climbing, Klickitat River Float Trip, Organic Valley Bike Tour, Klickitat River Kayaking Tour, Department of Natural Resources DNR Service Project
$475 Deschutes Rafting and Tree Climbing

Limited financial aid is available for those with high need to fund the Outdoor Odysseys experience. Requests can be made via the on-line application during registration. A member of the Outdoor Odyssey team will respond to you by late July with information about your financial aid request.

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 begins on May 1 and is accepted on a first-come, first-served basis; materials must be received by June 15.

Please be honest when answering 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 19. 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 19. 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.

Van shuttles from the airport will run approx. every thirty minutes beginning at 12:30 p.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, August 19. Reserve a space with Cyrus Monsef by 5 p.m. on August 12. You must provide Cyrus with your name, day-of cell phone number, airline, flight number, and expected arrival time.

Once on Campus for Your Outdoor Odyssey

Please plan on having dinner with the group at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, August 19. 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 22. 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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