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Molly Herber

Molly Herber
Molly is a NOLS instructor and writer. She loves the smell of her backpack and does her best writing before 7:00 am. When she's not scouting the next post for the NOLS Blog, she's running and climbing on rocks in Wyoming. Follow her on Instagram @mgherber
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Recent Posts

Takeaways from the 2019 Wilderness Risk Management Conference

By Molly Herber on Mar 30, 2020

Photo by Brad Christensen.

Let me start by saying, I love learning by talking with other people who are smarter than me. And, despite all the smart people who attend conferences, actually making those conversations happen has never been easy for me.

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Topics: WRMC, education, Wilderness Risk Management Conference

How Winning the Iditarod on Foot Started with NOLS

By Molly Herber on Mar 6, 2020

Editor's note: Pete Ripmaster is an ultrarunner, motivational speaker, parent, and graduate of a 1997 NOLS Alaska Mountaineering course. In 2018, he won the Iditarod Trail Invitational, a 1,000-mile footrace from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. In this interview, he shares how building self-reliance and competence necessary to competing in this arduous race began with his NOLS expedition.

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Topics: Alumni, Alaska, ultrarunning, Stories, Alumni Accomplishments

Why We Leave Phones Behind on NOLS Courses (and why you should do it more often)

By Molly Herber on Jul 1, 2019
Photo by Molly Hagbrand

Cell phones are becoming better adventure tools every day. You can find what feels like endless apps for navigation, trip guides, even stargazing.

So why, when you look through a NOLS equipment list, is a cell phone nowhere to be found?

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Topics: technology, wilderness, Stories

How Valuing Different Leadership Roles Makes Better Teams

By Molly Herber on Oct 23, 2018
Photo by Brad Christensen

Picture a leader in your mind.

Maybe you're imagining a lone individual singlehandedly making decisions and wielding authority.

Or, maybe you're thinking of someone completely different—like your friend who avoids the spotlight, but always has their eyes open for places to help.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, teamwork, Leadership

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls when You’re Camping

By Molly Herber on Aug 21, 2018
Photo by Charlotte Klein

Waking up to the buttery smell of hot cinnamon rolls is one of the best ways to start your morning.

With this recipe from the NOLS Cookery, you can get that delicious, gooey cinnamon roll even when you're camping. Cinnamon rolls are longtime NOLS classic, and this recipe is perfect for home, car camping, or to change up the routine of instant oatmeal on a longer trip.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, recipe, Camping, cooking, video, cinnamon rolls, backcountry recipe, backpacking recipe, Food and Gear, Food

Tolerance for Uncertainty: Sea, Mountains, and Culture on a Patagonia Semester

By Molly Herber on Jul 30, 2018
Enjoying rainbows in Patagonia. Photo by Ignacio Martínez.

“Learn, just learn about this unique and remote place in the world, connect with the people, nature, history, and its wild places—the glaciers, ice fields, rivers, lakes, islands, and sea.”

This is the advice that Semester in Patagonia graduate Ignacio Martínez would give to anyone thinking about taking a NOLS course in Patagonia. A native of Chile himself, Ignacio discovered many of the unknown parts of his own country, and himself, on his course.

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Topics: chile, Study Abroad Stories, Semester, Sea Kayaking, Skills, Kayaking, culture, Mountaineering, Semester in Patagonia, Stories, Student Stories

NOLS and the Wilderness Risk Management Conference: 25 Years of Facing Challenges Together

By Molly Herber on Jul 25, 2018
Photo by Eric Page

While taking my instructor course to teach for NOLS, we spent a lot of time talking about decision making. For example, would we cross this river using the snow bridge or a wading technique—the bridge looking like the more comfortable option compared to the guarantee of wet boots, but which might collapse and dump us into the chilly water anyway.

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Topics: WRMC, risk management training, Risk Management, Wilderness Risk Management Conference, Wilderness Safety

NOLS Instructor Expeditions of 2017

By Molly Herber on Jun 6, 2018
Photo by Eric Page.

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: Canoeing, Himalaya, Kayaking, Mountaineering, Alaska, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), packrafting, Instructor expedition, Stories, Instructor Stories

How to Pack Your Backpack

By Molly Herber on May 23, 2018
Photo by Nadine Lehner

The first time I tried to pack a backpack, it took me over an hour to get everything inside. The result was a chunky, clunky pile that rose at least six inches over my head. It wasn’t pretty, but everything was inside.

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Topics: Gear, Expedition Prep, Camping, Skills, Backpacking, backpacking, hiking, adventure, outdoor skills, Food and Gear

New Courses for Fall 2018

By Molly Herber on May 16, 2018

Planning a trip always represents new possibilities: Where will we go that’s new? And where will we return to in a way that’s radically different?

With the new courses starting this fall and into December of 2018, we’re offering more experiences designed for adults to spend time outside between work and family commitments, and more opportunities for students to combine their passions.

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Topics: Events, expedition, Adult courses, new courses, NOLS Expeditions, Announcements

Why Students Who Learn Leadership Stand Out

By Molly Herber on Mar 22, 2018
Photo by Ella Bruijn

As our students hiked off, following the routes they’d planned on their own in their small groups, a knot twisted and untwisted in my stomach.

My instructor team and I had spent the previous three weeks backpacking with these students, mentoring and coaching them on their leadership and outdoor skills and watching them become more and more independent.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, teens, leadership education, experiential education, Outdoor Leadership, Leadership

4 Strategies Leaders Use to Make Better Decisions

By Molly Herber on Mar 7, 2018
Photo by Betsy Winston

Imagine this: You’re trying to figure out the best way to cross a river with your group of four friends. Even though you’ve crossed rivers on your own before, you’ve never led a group while doing it.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, decision making, Leadership

New Courses for Summer 2018

By Molly Herber on Jan 29, 2018

Putting a new course together is good practice for tolerance for uncertainty. We try to answer questions like, will folks be excited about canoeing the Adirondacks this year? Or would they rather go on an all-girls backpacking expedition in the Olympic National Forest? In the end, we have to do the same thing we do in the backcountry—use the information available to make a decision, and then see what happens.

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Topics: Events, new courses, NOLS Expeditions, Announcements

Easing Back Into Your Frontcountry Life

By Molly Herber on Dec 26, 2017
Photo by Hailey Arnold

The first few days home after my month-long NOLS mountaineering course, I luxuriated in ordinary things—running water and reconnecting with friends, resting in my own bed after nights of camping in windy, cold mountains. But trading a crowded tent for my own bed also felt lonely. The foods I couldn’t wait to feast on went from exciting back to normal. Rest turned into restlessness. I learned that coming back to the frontcountry is as important a change as learning to live in the wilderness.

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Topics: Alumni, Expedition Prep, Camping, Skills, expedition, Stories, Instructor Stories

Your Favorite Stories from 2017

By Molly Herber on Dec 20, 2017

The stories we tell reveal a piece of ourselves. This year, the stories you loved told of people changed by the mountains and steps to achieve goals; that busted myths and shared ways to care for each other in the wilderness, both in mind and body.

Looking at the stories you loved reading, you can see where this community’s values are: in people and the environment. We hope you enjoy taking a look back at the seven most-read stories from 2017.

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Topics: Stories