High Sierra Instructor

Job Description

The High Sierra Instructor (I) carries out the mission of Outward Bound with students in the field. Instructors work on a seasonal basis under the direct supervision of Lead Instructors or Course Directors. They supervise, teach, and facilitate meaningful experiences for students in the field throughout the course. High Sierra courses include backpacking, rock climbing, and/or mountaineering activities. Instructors in the High Sierra program deliver a variety of engaging programs, ranging from 5-65 days. These programs and expeditions focus on leadership, service, and character development, and take students into new and challenging outdoor environments.

Outward Bound California does not expect every applicant to have every skill and qualification listed here, and we are committed to the professional development of our employees.  A strong candidate who is interested in growing and learning in this role will possess at least 75% of the following qualifications. If this is you, then we strongly encourage you to submit an application for consideration.

Who You Are: 

An Educator with Strong Interpersonal Skills

  • Comfortable giving and receiving feedback
  • Works effectively with a wide variety of age groups from middle schoolers to adults and populations from diverse backgrounds
  • Clear, assertive, and effective when communicating
  • Easily builds rapport with students and colleagues
  • Culturally competent: You role model inclusive behavior and build a positive group culture
  • Meet different learning-style needs by varying teaching techniques
  • Able to frame, facilitate, and debrief course activities in alignment with the Outward Bound mission
  • Able to structure lesson plans and educational progressions to safely and effectively transfer responsibility to students

A Backpacker

  • Comfortable navigating with map and compass on- and off-trail, through a variety of terrain and environmental conditions
  • Able to assess and identify route options through off-trail and alpine terrain
  • Familiar with basic campcraft, including tarp set-up, Leave No Trace principles, and use of MSR Whisperlite stoves
  • Practice proper self-care and energy management while in the backcountry for extended periods of time
  • Exercise sound judgment and decision-making, assessing and mitigating risk

A Rock Climber

  • Able to place protection and build multi-directional anchors using artificial and natural protection
  • Lead climb placing traditional protection at a 5.6 grade level or higher 
  • 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 70 pounds
  • Can be on feet most days - sometimes for up to 16 hours a day, possibly more in the case of an emergency
  • Able to run up to six miles on trail or road
  • Practice proper self-care and energy management while in the backcountry, or on multi-day trips, for extended periods of time
  • Able to maintain composure, exercise sound judgment and decision-making, and assess and mitigate risk under extended periods of stress
  • Comfortable working outdoors, regardless of weather or season


  • Willing to authorize a federal background check, MVR check, Live Scan background check, and provide current negative TB test results upon hire (cost of all screening paid for or reimbursed by OBCA)
  • 21 years of age or older
  • Hold current Wilderness First Responder, CPR, California Epinephrine Auto-Injector, and California Food Handler certifications
  • Have 2-3 years prior field experience in outdoor education programs or similar educational settings

Bonus if you…

  • Have additional technical mountaineering skills: You can assess hazards and choose appropriate route option on 4th class terrain, you can assess and determine appropriate site for fixed line use, and you are familiar with basic snow travel, self-arrest, and group management on steep snow
  • Have experience working with a diverse range of student ages and populations
  • Are an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor (SPI)
  • Hold a current driver's license and have at least three years of driving experience, plus a clean Motor Vehicle Record


  • Assist in course planning, including development of educational and technical curricula, route planning, food and equipment organization and packing
  • Assist in the design and facilitation of programming in line with the Outward Bound mission and educational framework
  • Manage student group in emergencies, or in the Lead Instructor’s absence, and adhere to all local operating procedures, safety policies, and emergency procedures outlined in the staff manual
  • Consistently strive to give and receive feedback with co-workers and supervisor
  • Demonstrate professionalism in attitude and appearance. Act as a role model for students
  • Locate and use communication systems in the event of an emergency
  • Participate in New Instructor Training and Technical Skills Training (15 days)
  • Participate in Student Management Training, Diversity Training and All-Staff Orientation (4-5 days)

Compensation & Schedule

  • This is a Seasonal, Exempt position
  • Starting Per Diem wage is between $94 - $110/day
  • Room and board provided while on contract
  • Training begins during second weekend of May.  Work availability through late August, with potential to extend into September


  • Pro Deal, the opportunity to purchase outdoor gear at discounted rates
  • Professional development funds
  • Opportunity to enroll in supplemental, subsidized accident/injury insurance coverage
  • Access to Employee Assistance Program (EAP), free of charge for staff and family members
  • Highly energetic and supportive work environment in a mission-driven organization


  • This position is located at our High Sierra program base in Midpines, California, in the Sierra Nevada foothills 30 miles east of Yosemite National Park
  • The basecamp has a main building with office, warehouse, and commercial kitchen.  Other buildings throughout include administrative and field staff housing and communal areas
Job Availability: 

Application closes January 1st, 2020

To Apply

Application Closing Date: 
Not Specified
Application Contact Email: 
Employment Type: 
Job Region: 
Job Location: 
Midpines, CA
Job Experience: 
1 - 2 years
Job Starting Date: 
May 10th, 2020

Job Details

Job Details: 
Experiential Education
Outdoor Education Center

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