Alpine Backpacking Instructor

Company: Outward Bound California

Job Type: Seasonal

Job Description

Position Description 
As a High Sierra Alpine Backpacking Instructor, you will facilitate transformative backpacking and/or rock climbing courses with students (ages 12+). Instructors work on a seasonal basis under the mentorship of Lead Instructors or Course Directors. Instructors in the High Sierra program deliver a variety of programs, ranging from 5-30+ days. These programs and expeditions focus on leadership, service, and character development, and take students into new and challenging outdoor environments.

Compensation & Schedule 

  • Starting per diem wage is $128/day. All required trainings are also paid at this rate.
  • $225 Travel stipend + $256 Off-Contract Pay
  • Training starts May 6th. Work availability through mid to late August, with potential to extend into September. This is a seasonal, exempt position.


  • Room and board provided while on contract
  • Eligible to enroll in 401k after 1 year from your start date
  • Pro deals (the opportunity to purchase outdoor gear at discounted rates)
  • Professional development funds
  • Access to our free Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for you and family members
  • 56 hours (7 days) of paid sick time upon hire or at the beginning of each calendar year

This position is located at our High Sierra base in Midpines, California, 30 miles east of Yosemite National Park. The basecamp has a main building with an office, program gear sheds, a commercial kitchen and weather port living quarters (durable fabric structures).

Who We Are
Outward Bound California (OBCA) is a non-profit that uses challenging experiences in outdoor settings to create social-emotional learning opportunities for our students. Our High Sierra program runs backpacking and rock climbing programs in the Sierra Nevada region. We are a part of the Outward Bound USA network of outdoor education programs, with a 50-year history in the US, serving over 40,000 students annually.

Check out what our staff and students have to say about our High Sierra programs in this video.

Equity and Inclusion Statement

We believe that all people should have safe access to the outdoors and culturally relevant and responsive educational programming. OBCA is also striving to create an equitable and inclusive internal culture where all staff members feel represented and honored for their identities and lived experiences. We examine how power, bias, race and other aspects of identity impact our organization. We work to build a culture where we are always learning and improving toward a vision for equity and belonging for all staff. We are looking for team members who can actively join us in this process. We are also committed to reflecting the diverse communities with whom we work and strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ identifying folks, and women to apply.

Who You Are
Outward Bound California does not expect every applicant to have every skill and qualification listed here. If you have at least 75% of the following qualifications, we encourage you to apply.

An Educator 

Passionate about working with youth, especially teens and middle schoolers
Have a deep understanding and personal commitment to equity and inclusion in the outdoors
Lived experience or experience working with individuals from diverse backgrounds including age, racial, ethnic, socioeconomic class and members of the LGBTQ+ community

A Backpacker

Experience on extended backcountry trips minimum of 50-100 nights, which can be a combination of personal and professional
Comfortable navigating with map and compass on- and off-trail, while leading a group through a variety of alpine terrain and environmental conditions
Familiar with basic campcraft, including tarp set-up, environmental stewardship, and backcountry cooking
Practice proper self-care and energy management while in the backcountry for extended periods of time

A Rock Climber

Experience with rock climbing and instructing harness, helmets, and knot safety checks
Able to instruct and demonstrate belaying and rappelling techniques

Physical & Mental Requirements

Sufficiently fit to participate in all site and course activities while maintaining ample energy, strength, and focus to aid students and instructors
Able to carry pack weights of up to 60-70 pounds
In the case of an emergency, able to move over terrain at a speed of 3+ miles an hour
Able to maintain composure, exercise sound judgment, and assess and mitigate risk under periods of stress

Required Current Licenses & Certifications (by Start Date)

Wilderness First Responder & CPR/AED
CA Epinephrine Auto-Injector
California Food Handler

Additional Requirements (by Start Date)

21 years of age or older
Able to pass a federal & Live Scan background check and provide current (within the last 4 years) negative TB screen or test results (cost paid or reimbursed by OBCA)


Educator Responsibilities

Assist in course planning, including development of educational curricula, route planning, food and equipment organization and packing
Create lesson plans and curriculum to safely and effectively transfer responsibility to students
Teach and coach students with outdoors skills and social-emotional learning skills
Participate in all required trainings

Interpersonal Responsibilities

Role model inclusive behavior and build a positive group culture with an equity lens
Give and receive quality feedback with co-workers and supervisor
Use appropriate language and behavior while acting as a role model for students

Risk Management

Maintain self-awareness with regards to their ability to keep themselves and students safe in technical terrain and in a variety of environmental hazards
Manage student group in emergencies and adhere to all local operating procedures, safety policies, and emergency procedures outlined in the staff manual
Uphold Outward Bound’s zero-tolerance policy for incidents of child abuse and neglect. Protecting our minor students against abuse and neglect is of the highest priority.

Outward Bound California is an equal opportunity employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, or other characteristics protected by law. Outward Bound California also promotes respect for all people, and will not tolerate harassment based on any of these characteristics.

How to Apply

Apply with a technical skills log and a resume on our website: https://www.outwardboundcalifornia.org/connect/careers/field-positions/alpine-backpacking-instructor/
Contact Person: han bourne
Contact Phone: 4159336222
Posted on: February 20, 2024
Location: Midpines, CA
Job Type: Seasonal
Job Starting Date:
May 6, 2024
Application Closing Date:
March 20, 2024
Job Salary Range:
Years of Experience: 1 – 2 years, 3 – 5 years
Region(s): California