NOLS Blog

Browse by Category

Case Study: A Freezing Snowmobile Ride

By Tod Schimelpfenig on Jan 20, 2020
Photo by Marcio Paes Barreto.

The Setting

You are searching, as part of your local SAR team, for an overdue snowmobiler. You know that the overdue person is a 62-year-old male with a history of risk factors for heart disease, but no actual heart attacks. He is described as an experienced snowmobiler and knowledgeable of the local trails. He planned a short ride this morning, due home by noon.

Read More

Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, case study, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Announcing New Expeditions for Summer 2020

By NOLS on Jan 16, 2020

Photo by Mara Gans.

This summer, kayak past Alaska’s towering ice-blue glaciers. Or go backpacking in the majestic snow-capped peaks of the North Cascades.

It’s the start of a new year, and we’re celebrating with seven new courses. Summer 2020 might be the perfect opportunity to pursue the outdoor adventure of your dreams!

Read More

Topics: education, new courses, NOLS Expeditions, announcement, affinity

How To Build a Winter Snow Shelter

By Erin Rooney Doland on Jan 13, 2020
A quinzhee snow shelter. Photo by Molly Hagbrand.

Winter is in full swing in the northern hemisphere and snow camping is in the forecast. People who regularly camp in below-freezing temperatures and piles of snow know it has numerous advantages over warm-weather camping. That’s right, advantages.

Read More

Topics: snow, skiing, camping, winter camping, winter, education, backcountry skiing, quizhee, snow camping

Celebrating NOLS in the New Year

By NOLS on Jan 9, 2020
Paul Petzoldt instructing a group of NOLS students in the early years of the school. Photo from NOLS archives.

January 2020 is a month of great reflection and celebration at NOLS. It marks the:

  • Welcoming of our first female president,

  • Paul Petzoldt's 112th birthday,

  • our 55th year educating students in the outdoors, and

  • 50 years of NOLS in homes across America.

Read More

Topics: NOLS, anniversary, history, paul petzoldt, documentary, stories, Terri Watson, 55th anniversary

New Year, New Outdoor You

By NOLS on Jan 6, 2020
Photo by Rich Brame. 

It's a new year and 12 months stand before you with unlimited possibilities for adventure and learning. Alaskan summers have endless days to enjoy, the northern Rocky Mountains are yours to climb, and the refreshing ocean waters of Baja await your sea kayak. And have you been considering earning your Wilderness EMT? This can be the year to make it all happen.

Read More

Topics: goal, education, trip planning, #optoutside

A Can of Calm: Applying Wilderness Medicine in Disaster Zones

By NOLS on Dec 19, 2019

A ShelterBox tent lit up with solar lights on the island of Barbuda after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Caribbean. Photo by Ned Morris.

NOLS Wilderness First Responder grad Ned Morris is a volunteer ShelterBox Response Team member (SRT). SRT members deploy to areas of natural disaster or conflict-based migration, and help families who have lost everything due to natural disaster or violence. ShelterBox provides shelter solutions, including tents or house repair kits, as well as water purification systems, solar lighting, cooking sets, and much more. There are just over 100 active Response Team members in the world; less than 40 in the U.S. Read the following Q&A to learn more about Ned's humanitarian work with ShelterBox and how his WFR helped prepare him for this role.

Read More

Topics: Wilderness First Responder, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Case Study: Cold Injuries on a Hike

By Tod Schimelpfenig on Dec 17, 2019
Photo by William Wamaru.

The Setting

You’re the trip leader for a group of teenagers on a nine-day backpack in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. The rivers are up and every crossing has been wet. A late spring snowstorm dropped several inches of new snow and brought cooler temperatures. 

You’ve encouraged daily foot checks, changing socks and staying as warm and as dry as possible—all relative to the reality of these conditions. At today’s midday rest break you realize no one has dry socks and one of the participants says his feet hurt.

Read More

Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, case study, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

By Shelby Cranshaw on Nov 29, 2019

Whether you're shopping for your favorite sustainability nerd or a backcountry fashionista, here are some great gift ideas for anyone on your list.

Read More

Topics: gear, Expedition Prep, camping, gift

Camping Recipe: How to Make a Backcountry Pie

By Brooke Ortel on Nov 26, 2019

Photo by Jordan Cranch.

 Let’s face it: No meal is truly complete without dessert. Even (or maybe especially) when you’re camping. This classic fruit pie is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth after a long day of hiking—and put a smile on your friends’ faces.

Read More

Topics: backcountry cooking, recipe, camping, NOLS cookery, dessert

Thankful for Wilderness Medicine

By Audrey Goral on Nov 22, 2019
Audrey carrying her mother and her blistered feet across a river. Photo courtesy of Audrey Goral.

Preparing for family adventures

My mom and I go backpacking frequently in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Our typical playground is the western Sierras between Yosemite and Kings Canyon, ranging from quick weekend to two-week trips. We’ve also section hiked the John Muir Trail and hiked rim-to-rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon. 

Read More

Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Our Favorite Places to #OptOutside

By Brooke Ortel on Nov 14, 2019

Join the NOLS community in opting outside on Black Friday! We hope you’re able to get outdoors this Thanksgiving, whether that means hiking a favorite trail, walking in a local park, or exploring nearby public lands.

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some of our favorite places to #OptOutside!

Read More

Topics: adventure, Thanksgiving, stories, #optoutside

Wilderness Medicine and the Zombie Apocalypse

By Colleen Kelley on Oct 31, 2019
Illustration by Kayla Lopez.
 
To get into the Halloween spirit, NOLS is exploring how wilderness medicine skills apply in an apocalyptic setting. You may be surprised to learn that you're prepared to survive the walking dead (and also to remove impaled objects when it’s not the end of the world)! Have a spooky, happy Halloween!
Read More

Topics: Wilderness First Responder, first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Case Study: Anaphylaxis in the Backcountry

By Tod Schimelpfenig on Oct 30, 2019

Photo courtesy of Deborah Sussex.
 

The Setting

You are hiking with a group of friends deep in a wilderness area. It’s lunch and everyone’s stomach is rumbling, but no one wants to stop long term.

Luckily, you have trail mix within arm’s reach. You feel comfortable passing it amongst your hungry group members because it doesn’t contain nuts.

However, soon after one of your friends becomes acutely ill. With a tingly and tight throat, your friend seems to be having an allergic reaction.

Read More

Topics: first aid, summer, wilderness medicine, case study, heat illness

Add Some Wild to Your Halloween with Our Pumpkin-Carving Stencils

By Jordan Cranch on Oct 21, 2019

Happy Spooktober from NOLS!

Read More

Topics: halloween, stories

How Backpacking Sparked a Love for Wilderness Medicine

By Jack Johnson on Oct 9, 2019
Foggy hike in the Bighorns. Photo courtesy of Jack Johnson.

Hiking to Head Injury

During the summer of 2017, when I was 14 years old, I took part in a 21-day NOLS backpacking course in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. Just halfway through the course, I watched what (at the time) I considered to be an incredible feat of medicine. Another student on my course tripped and fell while walking across a burned-out section of forest and—under the heavy weight of his pack—hit his head on a rock. In the days that followed, I watched my two incredible instructors treat a possible concussion.

Read More

Topics: Wilderness First Responder, first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine