The Meaning of Active Followership

Posted by Brooke Ortel on March 8, 2018 11:50:28 AM MST

After a guided backcountry ski trip in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, former NOLS instructor Molly Absolon reflects on the concept of active followership. An experienced backcountry skier, she sometimes found the guides’ decisions limiting, especially since the trip’s structure didn’t encourage clients to take an active role in the decision-making process.


Forest Service Trails in Wyoming Need Help

Posted by Brooke Ortel on March 2, 2018 2:37:44 PM MST

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently identified two Wyoming trail systems as priority areas for maintenance, but failed to set aside federal funds to address the issue. The Shoshone National Forest, a NOLS operating area, is one of these high priority sites. Andy Blair, assistant director of NOLS Rocky Mountain, says that there’s more work than the local Forest Service staff can keep up with.


Public Lands: You Can’t Protect What You Don’t Know

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 27, 2018 8:07:43 AM MST

A founding member of the Outdoor Industry Association and former top executive at companies like The North Face, Sierra Designs, and Camelbak, NOLS grad Sally McCoy is all for protecting public lands. But in order to do that, she points out, the outdoor industry needs to help make public lands accessible to a more diverse community.


New Zealand’s Trail Huts: Shelter, Conversation, and Community

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 26, 2018 9:21:17 AM MST

NOLS Instructor Jeremy Cronon gives The New York Times the rundown on New Zealand’s public trail hut system. Nearly a thousand of these structures are open to trampers (aka backpackers) for a minimal fee. Jeremy reports that “each hut has its own quirks, stories and memories,” which travelers record in the hut's unique "Intention Book."


Miho Aida Won't Let the Outdoor Industry Off the Hook

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 23, 2018 9:33:38 AM MST

Outside recognizes former NOLS Instructor Miho Aida as an environmental educator and champion of inclusivity, challenging the outdoor industry to make room for women from marginalized communities. Her award-winning documentary, The Sacred Place Where Life Begins: Gwich’in Women Speak highlights the role Native American women activists have played in fighting to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the significance of this land to the Gwich’in people.


NOLS Instructor Earns 2018 Grit & Rock First Ascent Award

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 22, 2018 9:57:30 AM MST

Grit & Rock recently recognized NOLS instructor Josie McKee as one of the 2018 recipients of its First Ascent Award, a grant that supports mountain exploration and first ascents by women. Along with team members Whitney Clark and Caro North, McKee received a Grit & Rock Performance Award to help fund her attempt of a new route on India’s Mt. Arjuna.


Be Prepared: Pack a Premade First Aid Kit

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 21, 2018 11:51:19 AM MST

With input from Shana Tarter, assistant director of NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Outside’s Gear Guy discusses the advantages of purchasing a premade first aid kit. The bottom line? It’s much more economical than trying to construct your own, plus you’ll be prepared for a range of situations without adding a lot of weight to your pack.


The Best Gear for Going Poo in the Woods

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 20, 2018 1:22:34 PM MST

Outside’s Gear Guy gets some pro tips from NOLS instructor Jared Spaulding and other experts on the best practices and gear for pooping in the woods. From investing in a trowel to unscrewing the caps of your soap and water bottles before doing your business, these simple reminders can make a serious difference to your comfort and health in the backcountry.


UT Austin's Business Honors Program Gets Outside with NOLS

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 16, 2018 3:09:24 PM MST

This January, seven students in University of Texas’ Business Honors Program embarked on an eight-day customized NOLS expedition in Arizona. In addition to developing leadership skills and bonding as a group, their favorite memories of the trip include waking up to a surprise snowstorm and discovering that backcountry food can actually be pretty tasty.


Making History: An American Ascent

Posted by Brooke Ortel on February 15, 2018 9:13:59 AM MST

“The summit is just an excuse, what matters is the human adventure. Find what challenges you.”

In 2013, the nine members of Expedition Denali did just that, becoming the first all-African American team to climb Denali, the highest peak in the U.S. Recently highlighted in The Mac Weekly, the film An American Ascent chronicles their inspiring journey.