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Case Study: An Abandoned Patient High in the Alpine

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 4/18/19 9:05 AM

Photo by Ashley Wise
 

The Setting

You are on a Search and Rescue (SAR) team whose members are Wilderness First Responders (WFRs). You and your team members hike on a rugged trail into Wyoming’s Wind River Range, responding to a vague report that came in at midnight of a “very sick person” camped “near the trail near tree line.” Your team’s role is to sweep the trail in the dark in the hopes of finding out exactly what is going on. A second SAR group is gathering to hike up the trail later in support.

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Topics: Wilderness First Responder, first aid, wilderness medicine, case study

Dream with Your Eyes Open: Women's Baja Sea Kayaking Expedition

By Jessey Jansen on 4/15/19 1:57 PM

Jessey shares rhythm and memories from the spring 2019 Women’s Baja Sea Kayaking - Prime course.

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, Baja Sea Kayaking, story, women in leadership

Turnback Canyon: A NOLS instructor shares lessons from whitewater paddling the Alsek River

By Natalie Sands on 4/9/19 9:21 AM

I sit on a rocky shelf, studying the colours and rock formations of a mountain across the river that seems to stare back. The ridge below Bates Creek has bright orange scree that contrasts against the nearby grey and black rock, still scarred by the ancient glaciers lining this valley.

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Topics: whitewater, kayaking, Educators Notebook, Yukon, instructor, inspiring women, paddling, Instructor expedition

The Spring Lineup: 5 Custom NOLS Products You Have to Have

By Rob Motley on 4/1/19 5:30 AM

At NOLS, we strive to bring you top-of-the-line products that transcend industry standards and meet your every need. Elevate your camping experience this spring with our exclusive, new product line that will transform and transmute everything you thought you knew about the outdoors.

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Topics: Recreational Equipment

Instructor Expeditions of 2018

By NOLS on 3/25/19 11:31 AM

How do you become a better educator? There’s no one best answer, but continuing to be a learner yourself is certainly up there.

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Topics: whitewater, Training, kayaking, Educators Notebook, instructor, mountaineering, rock climbing, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Instructor expedition

Why You Should Take a Wilderness First Aid Course

By Ben Lerman on 3/21/19 8:12 AM
NOLS Wilderness Medicine student practices caring for a patient in the outdoors. Photo by Jared Steinman.
 

You love the outdoors. The beauty. The adventure. The chance to unplug. The quality time with family and friends, or even by yourself. Whether you choose to explore the wilds by hiking, on the water, with a fishing rod in hand, or up a mountain road with your camper, the remoteness and rawness of it all is likely part of the appeal.

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Topics: wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness Medicine

Brave, Not Perfect

By Mairin Rogers on 3/19/19 8:45 AM

Photo by Alison Peterson.

My mom always told me that I was brave. Brave for learning to play a new instrument, brave for trying out for a sports team, brave for venturing off on my own. During my three months in the backcountry on a NOLS course, however, I realized she was wrong. I wasn’t brave—I was scared.

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Topics: Semester, Live the Dream, Semester in Baja

Case Study: A Blow to the Head

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 3/14/19 6:37 AM

Photo by Matt Heaton

The Setting

You are the leader of a hiking group at a summer day camp. Today, you allowed some of your campers with good navigation skills and expedition behavior to walk 3 miles back to your camp on a well-marked trail without a camp leader present.

When the campers arrive, you notice one of them has a bandage on their forehead. You learn that about an hour ago and a mile back on the trail this camper tripped, fell, and knocked their head.

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

"There Is No Limit:" A Kenyan Mountain Guide Advances Her Wilderness Training

By Carol Wanjiru (Mimie) on 3/13/19 8:18 AM

On the right is Ol Doinyo Lengai Mountain, which we would attempt summit later that night. On the left is Lake Natron (on the Tanzania side of the border) and Shompole Mountain Conservancy (on the Kenya side). Photo by Carol Wanjiru.
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Topics: Live the Dream, leadership, NOLS East Africa, story, women in leadership

9 Wilderness Medicine Acronyms You Need to Know

By Ben Lerman on 3/11/19 12:44 PM
NOLS students practice skills during a scenario on their course. Photo by Kyle Wilson.
 

You’ve taken your WFA, WFR, or WEMT and learned about PAS, ABCDE, and MOI. So many abbreviations, so little time!

Whether you’re filling out a SOAP note for a real-life patient or reviewing your skills with a NOLS case study, wilderness medicine’s plethora of abbreviations and acronyms can be a lot to remember.

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Topics: patient assessment, first aid, wilderness medicine

Discovering My—Slightly Strange—New Normal on a NOLS Gap Year

By Tricia Ballard on 3/7/19 1:01 PM

 

Photo by Kevin Castellanos
 

I’m normally apprehensive about opening up to people—so I was nervous when I showed up to a random bus stop three plane rides away from home for the start of my Semester in New Zealand. That day, I met nine strangers who would supposedly become my new best friends during the following 77 days in the mountains of New Zealand.

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Topics: Gap Year, inspiring women, leadership, Semester in New Zealand, story

Consultation with NOLS Risk Services: A 5-Step Risk Management Review

By Kenzie Wilkinson on 3/4/19 7:39 AM

Photo by Tracy Baynes
 

NOLS Risk Services offers consulting to organizations seeking to proactively manage risk in their outdoor programs. Risk Services, like the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC), emerged in response to a growing need across the outdoor industry for collaborative risk management and from the philosophy that every organization in the industry shares both stake and responsibility in this effort.

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Topics: risk management, education, Wilderness Risk Management Conference, NOLS Risk Services, consulting

Learning Expedition Behavior With Kids: Winter Edition

By Alyssa Walker on 2/28/19 12:48 PM

Photo by Alyssa Walker.
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Topics: leadership, expedition behavior, winter, parenting, story

Andrew Bobilya: Taking the Classroom Outdoors

By Brooke Ortel on 2/20/19 8:34 AM

Andrew teaches rock climbing during an “Introduction to Outdoor Pursuits” class. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bobilya.

As an undergrad studying outdoor education, Andrew Bobilya didn’t aspire to be a professor. He didn’t plan on going into academia. Like many expeditions, his career didn’t follow exactly the path he expected.

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, NOLS alumni, NOLS Grad, Baja Sea Kayaking, Live the Dream, outdoor education

Case Study: A Backcountry First Aid Mystery from the ’80s

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 2/13/19 11:23 AM

Fashion trends might change, but some things don't! NOLS students backpacking in the mountains. Photo from the NOLS Archives.


This is a tale from the early 1980s. Reagan was President, the internet and cell phones only a dream, and disco thankfully on its last legs. Two friends and I had recently learned wilderness medicine skills through an advanced first aid course, which was an early generation of the Wilderness First Responder (WFR).

Read along to see how you would react to a similar first aid situation today.

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Topics: Wilderness First Responder, first aid, wilderness medicine, altitude illness, case study, NOLS Wilderness Medicine