Outdoor program a great way to stay in the groove

Hidden away in a little office on the first floor of Smith Memorial Union, the staff of PSU’s student-run outdoor program schemes and dreams up cool ways to get Portland State students into the outdoors. And the folks in room 114 have come up with a bunch of fun ways for adventurers to get into Oregon’s wild side.

PSU’s is one of the only college or university outdoor programs in the state that is run entirely by students. Portland State students man the office and the gear warehouse east of Shattuck Hall. Students plan, arrange and guide trips to some of the wildest parts of the state. And it is students who spread the word and try to increase participation in outdoor activities by manning information booths between Smith and Neuberger Halls.The outdoor program will provide an enormous variety of day trips and overnight outings this year. New student week, Sept. 22-28, PSU’s outdoor program guided four trips, ranging from an easy day’s hike around beautiful Silver Falls, east of Salem, to a two-day rock climbing and rafting trip to the Deschutes River east of the Cascades and rock climbing in Horse Thief Butte.

The outdoor program also led a nine-day trip to Yosemite National Park, where food, transportation and camping equipment were all included for a $200 price tag. That is a perfect example of how the program works. With a certain number of student adventurers, the price for a trip-of-a-lifetime is driven down to levels where college students can participate. Two-hundred dollars is a lot cheaper than what it would cost for two or three people to take the same trip.

The outdoor program also offers seminars and classes for outdoor enthusiasts to take their knowledge and skills to another level. For instance, students who love whitewater rafting and are ready to try whitewater kayaking out can take a seminar Fall term that will instruct on the basics of kayaking in river rapids. The outdoor programs plans on teaching basics of kayaking, including paddling, water hazards and the Eskimo roll. The outdoor programs has arranged to have the pool in the Peter W. Stott Center open one night a week for kayaking training and practice.

The outdoor program will also teach a mountaineering seminar in the spring to prepare students for mountaineering trips on Mt. Hood. The outdoor program will offer everything beginners need to know to keep themselves safe in the elements and avoid disaster. According to the outdoor program’s website, they will “introduce a novice to back country travel with emphasis on safety in alpine setting, glacier travel, rope work, alpine camping, route finding, hazard assessment, trip planning, avalanche awareness, search and rescue and much more.”

And perhaps the jewel in the outdoor program’s crown this year is the coming climbing wall in the Stott Center, room 108. In the works for about three years, the outdoor program finally raised the money it needed to construct the wall, which will feature a climbing wall, a traversing wall and an area for bouldering. The rock gym will replace one of the handball courts in the Stott Center.

If students have any questions about trips, seminars or outdoor equipment rentals, go online to www.odp.pdx.edu, call the ODP at 503-725-5668, or email the program at [email protected]