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Shock: What Causes It and What To Do

By Ben Lerman on 5/31/18 8:41 AM


Photo by Mike Trewartha.

What is shock? It’s a term that gets used frequently in casual conversation to describe emotional reactions. It’s also a serious medical condition that can be difficult to recognize, and even harder to treat, in the wilderness context.

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, shock

What I Learned About Resilience from Swimming an Icy Canyon Pond

By Maddy Eschholz on 5/30/18 8:29 AM


Photo by Lindsay Nohl.

Limb-numbing cold water drips down my shirt and pants. Uncontrollable, body wracking shivers. Shallow, quick breaths don't quite fill my lungs. Tears that I couldn't hold in any longer rolling down my cheeks. I hate this. I want to go home. Why do people think this is fun? Why am I so emotional? Why won't these tears stop?

These thoughts and feelings all came rushing into my head after swimming through a deep pond in a slot canyon on the sixth day of my NOLS course. It was November, and the water was the coldest thing I’ve ever felt—it was the kind of cold that made it hurt to take a deep breath. This was the hardest moment of my trip, but also the time when I learned the most about myself and who I wanted to be.

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Topics: Semester in the Rockies, Live the Dream, Utah, canyoneering

How to Pack Your Backpack

By Molly Herber on 5/23/18 7:01 AM
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: Expedition Prep, Backpacking, backpacking, hiking, adventure

Opinion | Breaking the Habits of Technology

By Kathryn Wheeler on 5/22/18 2:36 PM


Photo by Oscar Manguy

Since moving to Lander, I’ve developed a bit of routine around technology. My weeks are comprised of long days in front of a computer, with constant access to the web, and all of the baggage that brings. My weekends tend to look the opposite, as I attend to my need for uninterrupted experiences outside with others. This weekly routine casts me into two different worlds: one where I am totally absorbed by screens, and the other where I try to forget the existence of technology for a clarifying breath of fresh air.

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Topics: technology, Live the Dream, opinion

New Courses for Fall 2018

By Molly Herber on 5/16/18 10:09 AM

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?

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, expedition, new courses

Lessons from the Alpine Pass: Columbia Business School Student Goes to Chile

By Sho Fujiwara on 5/10/18 8:29 AM


Classmate Oly looks at his feet and looks back on the alpine pass. Photo by Sho Fujiwara.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, Columbia Business School, Backpacking, Live the Dream

Quiz: Bites and Envenomation

By Ben Lerman on 5/8/18 8:17 AM
 
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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, quiz

5 Ways Expedition Behavior Helps You Raise Kids

By Alyssa Walker on 5/3/18 8:27 AM


Photo by Alyssa Walker

The most miserable and telling moment on my monthlong NOLS Alaska Outdoor Educator Course 13 years ago—descending a steep talus slope—taught me the value and beauty of expedition behavior, or EB. It also prepared me for an even bigger life adventure: parenthood.

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Topics: Family, Live the Dream, expedition behavior, Alaska

Patient Assessment: Visualizing the Head-to-Toe Exam

By Tess Perrin on 4/17/18 8:33 AM

Editor’s note: NOLS’ Patient Assessment System is designed to be used by individuals with appropriate training. Only provide care within the scope of your training.

Imagine yourself kneeling beside a fallen hiker, deep in the wilderness. You aren't sure if they are sick or hurt, and you don't see anyone else around. It’ll be up to you to respond to this situation and assist this person who is clearly in need. As you survey the scene and your patient, you realize you’ll have to gather information to help you determine how best to care for and transport them. To do this, you’ll use the Patient Assessment System to help inform your decision making and the first aid you will provide.

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Topics: Wilderness First Responder, wilderness medicine, drawing

Case Study: Hiking through a Thunderstorm

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 4/11/18 9:07 AM


Photo by Jessie Long

The Setting

You are hiking with a friend through the Uinta Mountains in Utah, heading toward an 11,600-foot pass. Dark gray clouds are building in the west, hinting at an approaching thunderstorm. You ignore them: your itinerary does not allow for delays. As you move quickly up and over the pass, you and your friend are exposed to gusty winds, deep low rumbles of thunder, and occasional spits of rain. You speed your pace. On the other side of the pass is a broad alpine meadow—there are two miles of grass and wildflowers between you and a low forested area.

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Topics: Lightning Safety, wilderness medicine, case study

Climbing for More Than the Summit

By Ben Lerman on 4/5/18 8:22 AM


Ahlqvist on an acclimatization climb in the Himalaya. Photo courtesy of Carina Ahlqvist.

“I am driven to do my part for a better world, not just reach the summit and get an adrenaline kick.”

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Topics: Himalayan climbing, Behind the Scenes, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, mountaineering

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Why I Went Back to NOLS

By Elena Cabot Rodriguez on 4/3/18 9:11 AM

Photo courtesy of NOLS archives.
 

All my life my dad had preached the power of NOLS. The first summer he moved to the United States from Venezuela, he completed the four-week backpacking course in the Wind River Range.

Speaking little English, he cruised with his team through snowy mountain tops, only to be caught in a snowstorm at 8,000 feet with an instructor who had a leg injury. He still loves to talk about carrying the instructor up to a clearing and snuggling with him at night to prevent hypothermia.

“I’ve never done anything like it,” my dad told me.

“Cool, Papa,” I said for the thousandth time, tired of hearing about Wind River epics that seemed so foreign to me.

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Topics: Semester in the Rockies, Live the Dream, leadership, Alaska backpacking

Quiz: Handling Burns in the Outdoors

By Ben Lerman on 3/27/18 8:56 AM
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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, quiz

Why It’s Important for Teens to Learn Leadership

By Molly Herber on 3/22/18 9:12 AM


Photo by Ella Bruijn.

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

My instructor team and I had spent the previous three weeks backpacking with our students, all 16- and 17-year olds, handing off more decision-making responsibilities to them each day.

I’d seen them make responsible choices, and also learn from making their own mistakes (like taking the “shortcut” through the boulder field rather than the slightly longer but much easier walk around the lake). They were ready for the responsibility, but it was nerve-wracking to watch them go, even knowing we’d meet up again in just a few days.

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Topics: teens, experiential education, leadership

Using Your Wilderness Medicine Skills to Treat Pets

By Ben Lerman on 3/21/18 10:18 AM


Photo by Kirk Rasmussen

“Wound care is wound care, regardless of the type of mammal. I find that knowing the patient assessment system and other treatment principles is helpful, even with a dog. Pup has diarrhea? Palpate the abdomen to see if there’s specific tenderness. Dog is lethargic? Consider ‘ins and outs’ and if that’s affecting energy level. Reluctant to use an extremity? Try a usability test.” - Missy White, NOLS Instructor

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Topics: wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid