We are all about adventure

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“OWA is a great experience in a beautiful part of Colorado. All the counselors are really helpful, fun, and flexible. They help you safely step outside of your comfort zone and personalize your experience. I became close with other campers and built good relationships”- Sage, age 14
Austin, TX


OWA Story

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Since 1979, OWA’s mission has been to provide the highest quality, small group adventure experience possible. We believe in the benefits of participating in the activities that nature has to offer us. OWA strictly adheres to the accepted backcountry ethic of “Leave No Trace” and we make every effort to instill a sense of respect for the outdoors among all participants.
Adventure is at the very core of every OWA activity and that means doing things that will promote learning new skills and strengthening techniques. OWA is not a tour company—our focus is on a wide array of instruction geared to both introductory and advanced levels in a variety of adventure-sports from rock climbing to mountain biking and backpacking to ice climbing. Our teams have made first ascents of peaks and climbing routes across continents as well as first descents of trails in Mexico’s Copper Canyon on mountain bikes. We have also raced for hundreds of miles across some of the hardest terrain in Colorado, Utah, Texas and Wyoming. OWA team members have learned the pure joy of easy rock climbing slabs, mastering a switchback on a bike, and the value of a night spent bivying on an alpine slope under a star filled sky. We believe that there is something in the world of outdoor adventure for everyone. Our job is to help people find their adventure niche and provide them with the skills and techniques to explore on their own—responsibly, safely and enjoyably!

David Appleton

Director Emeritus/Founder

staff_davidappletonDavid founded OWA in 1979 and served as Director from the outset until 2004. He previously served as Associate Director at Camp Stewart in Texas and is a graduate of the ACA’s Model B Institute for Camp Directors. He is a Past President of the Camping Association for Mutual Progress. He’s a NORBA Expert mountain bike racer and participated in several ultra-endurance events. Climbing expeditions include trips to Alaska, Canada, Switzerland, Argentina and Ecuador. He led mountain bike explorations on previously un-ridden trails in Bolivia and Mexico’s Copper Canyon and backcountry trips all over the western US and Mexico. In 2004 he was recognized by the Campaign for America’s Wilderness as a Wilderness Hero. David continues to advise and inspire staff and campers. He is a frequent visitor to the Bison Peak Lodge that he designed and built.

Quentin Keith

Staff Alumni

Quentin worked with OWA since the early 90’s as the OWA Associate Director and Technical Director. He retired from OWA in 2007. He is an accomplished rock and ice climber, mountain biker, and skier. His expedition experiences include an ascent of the West Ridge of Alaska’s Mount Hunter, OWA’s 2002 Ancohuma Expedition and winter ascents of several Colorado 14ers. Quentin is still remembered for his amazing climbing and his ability to entertain campers and staff with jokes and stories.