Orientation 2018

Outdoor Experiences

Reed’s Outdoor Experiences 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

Outdoor Experiences 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 experience, you cannot attend the SEEDS community engagement experience.

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 17
1–5 p.m. Check in
5:45 p.m. Dinner with other participants (students only, please)
Evening Packing and group assignments
Saturday, August 18
Early a.m. Trips depart
Sunday, August 19
Trips continue
Monday, August 20
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 trip. 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 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 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 renowned 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)

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 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 1-84 in the Columbia River Gorge.

The rafters will start in Maupin, OR about 2.5 hours from Reed Campus on a 3-day journey. This trip is professionally managed by River Drifters company providing great food, experienced guides and as always heart-stopping rapids to entertain all. (2 groups of 11)

Surf and Turf

(Intermediate Level 4.3 rating)

The Oregon Coast is an amazing part of your new home… Oregon! Come fill your lungs with coastal air, your gut with too many laughs and enjoy this fun filled adventures surfing and hiking for your Outdoor Excursion. Our experienced guides and students will take you to Cannon Beach, OR for some quality time in the Pacific Ocean.

A day of hiking accompanied with two days of surfing taught in conjunction with Cannon Beach Surf Company. This is a wonderful opportunity for the beginner or experienced surfer to taste the waves of the Pacific Ocean and climb the heights of the Coastal Range. (2 groups of 9)

Reed Ski Cabin

(Beginning Level 2.8 rating)

If you like variety this is the trip for you. The Reed Ski Cabin is located on the southern slopes of Mt. Hood approx. 1.45 hours from Reed College. It is a wonderful resource for the Orientation excursions as well as recreational opportunities throughout the year.

The trips consist of a day of SUP’ing on Trillium Lake, rafting the Deschutes River and hiking about Mt. Hood. Every night you return to the cabin for some great food, good company and a cozy bed for sleeping. This is a great trip for folks not wanting to rough it, enjoy flushing toilets, beds and the sauna at the Ski Cabin! (1 group of 9)

Outdoor Experience Costs & Registration

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

$300 Backpacking Trips (Indian Heaven/Mt. Adams)
    Reed Ski Cabin Klickitat River Float Trip Surf and Turf Organic Valley Bike Tour Smith Rock Climbing Klickitat River Kayaking Tour River Conservation Kayak Rafting and Hiking Tour

Deschutes River Rafting

Limited financial aid is available for those with high need. Requests can be made via the online application during registration. A member of the outdoor trip team will respond to you by late July with information about your financial aid request.

When you sign up for an Outdoor Experience, we will charge your student account after the trip has completed. This fee is refundable if you are unable to attend and notify us before Friday, August 10.

To sign up for an Outdoor Trip, 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 August 1st.

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 Trip

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 17. 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 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 Rock-climbing & Biking 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 Trip

Arrive on campus between 1 and 5 p.m. on Friday, August 17. 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 approximately every thirty minutes beginning at 12:30 p.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, August 17. Reserve a space with Cyrus Monsef by 5 p.m. on August 10. 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 Trip

Please plan on having dinner with the group at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, August 17. The remainder of the evening will be spent 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 the night after the trips.

Returning from Your Outdoor Trip

You can anticipate returning to Reed in the late afternoon or early evening on Monday, August 20. 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 engagement office

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