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Welcome to NOLS India: Expeditions in the Himalaya

By NOLS on Aug 12, 2019

Written by Annalise Grueter and Manohar D'silva. 

Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.

A line of solemn, snow-capped giants stretches across the three northernmost states in India.

These soaring peaks belong to the world’s highest mountain chain: the Himalaya.

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Topics: Himalayas, Himalaya, Educators Notebook, NOLS India, cultural expedition, stories

Simple Views Teach Profound Lessons: Sunrise in the Himalaya

By Chris Pouch on Oct 2, 2018

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.

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

How You Can Be More Sustainable Every Day

By Sarah Zimmerman on Apr 22, 2016

Photo by Austin D.

At NOLS, we try hard to incorporate earth-friendly practices into our work every week, every day, around the world. We try new ideas, like planting native flower seeds, and stick with the old practices that we’ve been working on for years, like repairing gear to keep it in use.

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Topics: NOLS Yukon, NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, NOLS Australia, NOLS Alaska, NOLS New Zealand, NOLS Pacific Northwest, Environmental Stewardship, NOLS India, NOLS Scandinavia, NOLS Southwest, education, NOLS Northeast, NOLS Teton Valley, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, NOLS East Africa, NOLS Three Peaks Ranch

12 Photos to Get You Excited for Spring

By Molly Herber on Mar 16, 2016

Spring is coming—it's time to start frolicking through wildflowers and get antsy for summer expeditions.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, Live the Dream, NOLS India, NOLS Southwest

NOLS: Touching the Untouched

By NOLS Blog on Jan 26, 2016

By Gaytri Bhatia, NOLS instructor

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Topics: NOLS Pacific Northwest, Educators Notebook, instructor, NOLS India, leadership

Himalayan Awakening: How NOLS Inspired My Pursuit of Mountaineering

By Annalise Grueter on Dec 2, 2015


The view of Dangthal and our camp. Photo by Annalise Grueter.
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Topics: Alumni, Live the Dream, mountaineering, NOLS India, backcountry, leadership

Educator Expedition: Focusing on the Soft Skills

By Molly Herber on May 10, 2015

By Anvesh Singh Thapa, NOLS Instructor

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Topics: adventure, Educators Notebook, instructor, NOLS India, education

Beyond the Ration: Sustainable Food at NOLS

By Karly Copeland on May 6, 2015

The NOLS ration is carefully engineered to meet the nutritional needs of our students and instructors. It is sprinkled with sweet treats to celebrate summits, birthdays, and other events that call for chocolate! And who doesn’t think of those peanut butter filled pretzels with fondness? However, to the NOLSie fresh off a 30-day expedition, even the most delicious maltball pales in comparison to the idea of fresh produce. As such, when our students and staff are in town we do our best to feed them the freshest food possible. Some locations are able to take things even further by growing their own food on site.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, cooking, NOLS Alaska, Environmental Stewardship, NOLS India

Earth Day: Living Sustainably at NOLS India

By Karly Copeland on Apr 22, 2015

At NOLS, we work hard to make sure that each of our locations does its part to promote sustainable practices that will give our students great experiences and care for the amazing wild lands in which we operate. For Earth Day 2015, we're going to show you a day in the life at our location in Ranikhet, India, so you can see how we integrate sustainability and conservation into our everyday practices...

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Topics: leadership, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Environmental Stewardship, leave no trace, NOLS India

A student blogs... from the field!

By Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on Oct 25, 2010



(Transcribed from a note written by 9/13/10 Fall Semester in India student Anne Koening and given to NOLS India staff during a re-ration of their Milam Backpacking Section)

So far, our semester in India has been an exhilarating combination of beautiful Himalayan sights, long days of backpacking on challenging terrain (now affectionately referred to as the “Himalayan stair-master”), drinking chai in tiny tea stalls on trail and soaking in the local culture. Our group of fifteen students and four instructors has been continually amazed by what we’ve experienced in the one month we have been in the field.

The record rain totals India has received this season have been very evident and continue to be as we encounter landslide after landslide (both major & minor) while on trail. Luckily our days are now full of sunshine and beautiful weather.

The ten-day Pindar Backpacking Section [see this blog for more on this section] introduction to backpacking and living in the field, and set all of us up really well for the 30-day Milam Backpacking Section that we are now almost half way through.

As this blog entry is being written, we are in a tiny village about twenty kilometers from the Tibetan border. We are camping just below the local temple in Paton and happen to be joined by what sounds like a couple of hundred of sheep and their shepherds. The 30-day Milam section has been quite different from our previous section in that we have been much further from villages and the local people. While learning about off-trail route finding, map reading and other very crucial aspects of backcountry travel, we have been crossing extremely diverse terrain.

Today we are expecting our re-ration (re-supply of food) so we are spending the day in camp. We are doing laundry the best we can, planning our next section of travel and preparing our group for our entry into the Milam valley. In 16 days our group will be embarking on our home-stay section in a small village just outside of Munsiari. None of us knows exactly what to expect, but are excited to be truly immersed in the local culture and the day-to-day life. Following our home stay, the final section of the semester will be river rafting on the holy Ganges river. It seems very far away now, but time has been moving by quite quickly.

Would love to share our pictures with you ( We will see you all soon and look forward to sharing more of our experience with you when we return.


Anne, Tom, Muff, Julia, Abigail, Jamie, Cameron, Bridgette, Avi, Nick, Kalen, Stephanie, Elsa, Rachel, Sarah, Prani, Cass, Robin & Rahul (and Aparna in spirit!)


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Topics: rafting Ganga, NOLS, Fall Semester in India, Anne Koening, Expedition Prep, rafting Ganges, Milam hiking section, National Outdoor Leadership School, NOLS India, Milam Valley, FSI-2

Three Days to the Trailhead in Monsoon Madness

By Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on Oct 18, 2010

Colors of the Himalaya

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Topics: NOLS, Himalayas, Fall Semester in India, Pindari, National Outdoor Leadership School, Pindar, 2010 Monsoons, Educators Notebook, NOLS India

Choose Chai Every Time

By Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on Oct 14, 2010

NOLS Semester in India students on a chai break

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Topics: NOLS, study abroad, college drinking, National Outdoor Leadership School, drinking while studying abroad, Educators Notebook, chai, Semester in India, NOLS India, Gap Year