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Outdoor Leadership Training Seminars - Outdoor adventures including vision quests, white water rafting, mountaineering, rockclimbing and deep ecology.
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Breaking Through and Deep Ecology
4-12, 2019

A Transformational Outdoor Growth Experience.

Relive a vision of a time when the sky was clear, the mountains close, and humans lived in close harmony with one another and the land. As we camp, climb, raft and travel together in the Sangre de Cristo high-country of southern Colorado, we quickly form a tribal spirit, interconnected and interdependent, that brings new energy and purpose to our lives. This spirit supports each of us as we undertake new challenges, reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the natural world that is still our first home. This is deep ecology in practice and we will draw upon the wisdom and practices of many cultures to provide a framework for our experiences and revelation. 

This unique experience, involving outdoor activities and wilderness travel, is suitable for persons of all ages and experience levels, from teenagers and families to adults of all ages and backgrounds. Originally led by Rick Medrick and Dolores LaChapelle with other OLTS staff since 1980, this has been one of our flagship programs, introducing participants to such activities as camping, climbing, rafting, mountain hiking, and peak ascents as well as our own special approach to building community in the outdoors and exploring nature rituals and activities such as Tai Chi, singing, chanting, drumming, medicine wheel and talking staff.

As a group and individually we explore issues of personal change and transitions, healing ourselves and the planet, learning to play and release energy through group directed activity. Our goal is to develop a sense of tribal community that sends each person back with a vision of how one could live in harmony with the land and other humans.


  • Four days camping, climbing/rappeling, hiking, building community in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Range in southern Colorado.
  • Centering and movement training(tai chi), trust activities, group initiatives
  • Native American rituals and ceremony.
  • Singing, chanting, drumming and quiet.
  • Dialogue and discussion of issues related to personal and planetary healing, deep ecology.
  • Delicious, whole foods, meals and feasts.
  • Powerful and supportive small group interaction.

The course begins with four days and nights of camping at Bear Basin Ranch, a rustic and beautiful site with views of the mountains and flower-strewn walks through the meadows and aspen/pine forests. During this period we live together as a community, sharing the tasks of camping, cooking, hauling water, collecting/splitting wood. We practice centering and Tai Chi, engage in group games and problem solving activities, walk our medicine wheel, and share around the campfire in the evenings, learning songs, chants, and expanding our connection with the moon, the stars, and the spirits of the place. During the day we hike, rockclimb and rappel, and, for a day, raft on the whitewater of the nearby Arkansas River.

We then spend the last five days hiking into and camping below the Crestone Peaks in a high alpine cirque with a variety of readily accessible peaks and deep, clear lakes. We transport backpacks up the access road via 4WD vehicle and encourage participants to hike the road before carrying packs the last mile into camp. On the following day, weather permitting, we attempt a group ascent in Tai Chi fashion (slow-paced, continuous movement) of Broken Hand Peak, a classic 13,700' Taoist-type mountain with flower-covered grassy slopes and ledges as well as some challenging scrambling and a spectacular view from the summit. On subsequent days, participants have the option of additional peak climbs, hikes around the lake, or simply quiet time spent alone or with others in a lovely setting.

There is no pressure on this course for anyone to do anything for which they feel unprepared or incapable except to be in nature as part of our community. However, each person will be encouraged to try new activities, to explore personal limits, and to consider new ideas and perspectives. Climbs and challenges can be moderated for older folks or those with physical limitations, and there is flexibility within the course for participants to take personal time for writing, reading, meditation, artwork, or other personal pursuits. This is an opportunity to live in nature in more natural ways with the added options of adventure and new challenge.


Dates & Details

  • * Begins Saturday, July 4 at Bear Basin Ranch. Ends Sunday, July 12
  • * Tuition includes all meals and group equipment. $200 deposit required to reserve a space; balance due 30 days prior to course. 10 persons maximum
  • * Personal clothing and equipment list provided upon registration. Includes backpack, sleeping bag, tent, raingear and other items for all conditions
  • A portion of this course will take part on the San Isabel National Forest under a special permit from the Forest Service, USDA

July 4-12, 2019





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Outdoor Leadership Training Seminars is an equal opportunity service employer and provider. Some Outdoor Leadership Training Seminars courses operate under a special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, San Carlos Ranger District.

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