NOLS Blog

Browse by Category

The Places that Scare You: First Ascents on Patagonia’s Northern Icefield

By Willy Oppenheim on 2/4/19 8:38 AM

Approaching Pantragruel (left). The peak at right is Gargantua. Photo by Willy Oppenheim.
 

Months later, I still find myself wondering what brought me there, and what I brought back.

Always it is like this: from the warmth of home, the mind moves towards cold and distant lands. From known to unknown, from comfort into fear, from one set of questions towards another at once more vast and elemental. From union into aloneness, and then back again—but never to stay.

Read More

Topics: Patagonia, Educators Notebook, mountaineering, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Instructor expedition, story

Best of NOLS Instagram in 2018

By Caleb Walker on 12/21/18 11:33 AM

Your favorite photos of wilderness, friendship, and leadership from NOLS Instagram.

Find a little inspiration as you start dreaming of your adventures for 2019… 

Read More

Topics: NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS Alaska, Backpacking, NOLS Pacific Northwest, Live the Dream, river crossing, mountaineering, winter, tent, NOLS Three Peaks Ranch, photography, photos, story

Simple Views Teach Profound Lessons: Sunrise in the Himalaya

By Chris Pouch on 10/2/18 8:45 AM

Students en route to Camp 1 on a cold, clear morning, with Nanda Devi (middle) and Nanda Devi East (right) in the background. Photo by Chris Pouch.
 

Nanda Devi, according to the legend of villagers in the Garhwal and Kumaon regions of India, was a beautiful princess. When a prince fell in love with her and asked to marry her, she refused, sending him into a rage. The prince declared war and forced Nanda Devi to flee to the mountains. She climbed to the heights of a snow-covered peak in search of refuge. When she could go no higher, she rested, looking down from the top of the world. This summit proved to be her final resting place as she merged with the mountain, leaving behind only her spirit, present in the wind and snow, and her name, which now belongs to the place that took her: Nanda Devi.

Read More

Topics: Himalaya, Live the Dream, mountaineering, NOLS India, story

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

By Molly Herber on 7/30/18 7:01 PM

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.”

Read More

Topics: chile, Semester, Sea Kayaking, culture, Live the Dream, mountaineering, Semester in Patagonia, story

NOLS Instructor Expeditions of 2017

By Molly Herber on 6/6/18 9:36 AM


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.

Read More

Topics: canoeing, Himalaya, kayaking, mountaineering, Alaska, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), leadership, packrafting, Instructor expedition

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.”

Read More

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

Climbing Denali, in Photos

By Stéphane Terrier on 10/24/17 9:18 AM

When I arrived at NOLS Alaska for my 2011 Brooks Range Backpacking and River course, I learned that the Denali expedition, a trip for NOLS alumni, had just returned from a successful ascent. It was easy to distinguish its members from all the other students, since they hadn’t had the chance to shower yet! That memory stayed with me not just because of the smell, but also because I was fascinated with Denali ever since I first saw the mountain during a visit to Denali National Park in 2004.

Covered with white glaciers, Denali towers incredibly high above all the other Alaska Range peaks and the surrounding green tundra. With its summit at 6,190 m/20,310 feet, it's the highest mountain of North America and one of the coldest mountains on Earth, notorious for its storms. I was instantly impressed by it.

Read More

Topics: Live the Dream, mountaineering, Alaska, Denali

3 Tips to Improve Your Outdoor Photography Game

By Will Harrison on 8/12/16 8:00 AM

Taking photos in the wilderness is a great way to capture memories you will hold for a lifetime. There’s nothing better than coming home with a camera full of your favorite moments—laughing around the campsite with friends, the delicious pizza you managed to perfect (albeit the third attempt), and the breathtaking vistas of the alpenglow on Bastion Peak in the Wind River Range.

Read More

Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, Backpacking, adventure, mountaineering, backcountry, photography

Educator Expedition: A Day in the Waddington Range

By Katie Oram on 7/18/16 10:29 AM

We arrived in Bluff Lake, British Columbia at 1:30AM from various places: Roger and I driving 30 hours from Wyoming, Jeremy flying in from California and Dane just finishing up class in Vancouver. We had been talking about it for a while now, applied for the funding from the Instructor Development Fund, but still it had just been this idea: a ski expedition to the Waddington Range in British Columbia, home to some very remote, high peaks and endless miles of glaciers with real hazards.

Read More

Topics: NOLS Yukon, climbing, adventure, Educators Notebook, instructor, mountaineering, backcountry, IDF, Instructor Development Fund, leadership

Educator Expedition: La Patagonia Desconocida - The Unknown Patagonia

By Marissa Bieger on 4/25/16 7:33 AM

… Perhaps when I say the word Patagonia, most of you will think of legendary places like el Chaltén or Torres del Paine, but here is the difference, my Patagonia is a land unknown to many and familiar to few. Yes, that is what I speak of, of that land that still has magical air to explore, that which hides in maps without information, mountains without name and routes that definitely do not exist.

Read More

Topics: NOLS Patagonia, climbing, Educators Notebook, instructor, mountaineering, education, leadership

Expedition Denali: Where Are They Now?

By Kim Freitas on 2/24/16 9:26 AM

 

Photo by Brad Christensen.
Read More

Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, Expedition Denali, instructor, mountaineering, education, backcountry, leadership

Educator Expedition: Mountaineering in Ecuador

By NOLS Blog on 1/4/16 6:53 AM

By Travis Magaluk, NOLS instructor

Read More

Topics: climbing, Educators Notebook, mountaineering, instructors, leadership

Himalayan Awakening: How NOLS Inspired My Pursuit of Mountaineering

By Annalise Grueter on 12/2/15 7:05 AM

 

The view of Dangthal and our camp. Photo by Annalise Grueter.
Read More

Topics: Alumni, Live the Dream, mountaineering, NOLS India, backcountry, leadership

5 Things You Already Do That Make You a Female Outdoor Leader

By Annalise Grueter on 10/19/15 8:00 AM

 

The author looking out at the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado from Mount Adams at 13,931 feet. Photo by Ryan Richardson.
 

Backpacker magazine recently posted this piece online touching on the fact that, regardless of outdoor experience, their female readership were less likely to view themselves as leaders than their male readership, and that needs to change. We agree.

Read More

Topics: Alumni, NOLS, National Outdoor Leadership School, climbing, cooking, communication, Backpacking, adventure, kayaking, Outdoors, Live the Dream, mountaineering, all-women, wilderness, backcountry, leadership

History Comes Alive for the 10th Mountain Division

By Molly Herber on 10/15/15 9:35 AM
Historical Display of 10th Mountain Division Artifacts. Photo by Eryn Pierce.
Read More

Topics: Behind the Scenes, Lander, wilderness medicine, mountaineering, leadership