Brooke Ortel

Brooke is a runner and writer who enjoys finding adventure in the everyday. True to her island roots, she loves sunshine, that salty ocean smell, and the sound of waves against the shore.

Recent Posts

NOLS Med Kit Rated Top Gift for Outdoorsy Friends

Posted by Brooke Ortel on November 2, 2018 8:34:43 AM MDT

For former park ranger Mark Kaufman, the NOLS Med Kit 4.0 makes the short list of recommended gifts for outdoorsy friends. Like wool socks, a good light, and water filtration devices, a NOLS med kit is a must-have for backcountry trips.


NOLS Rocky Mountain Assistant Director Comments on the Value of Wyoming’s Wilderness Study Areas

Posted by Brooke Ortel on November 1, 2018 2:37:06 PM MDT

Three Wyoming counties recently opted out of a collaborative process allowing local stakeholders to partake in land management decisions surrounding wilderness study areas. NOLS Rocky Mountain Assistant Director Andy Blair commented that lifting protections in these areas and opening up them to energy development would disrupt student experiences in valuable wilderness classrooms.


Ride the Wind: Szu-Ting Yi’s Wind River Traverse

Posted by Brooke Ortel on October 11, 2018 11:53:40 AM MDT

Alpinist, writer, outdoor educator, and former NOLS instructor Szu-ting Yi reflects on her 2017 traverse of the Wind River Range and its impact on her personal growth as a climber. She and her husband, Dave Anderson, also a former NOLS instructor, managed to climb 33 peaks in the Winds over the course of 20 days despite challenging conditions.


Recognizing Indigenous Leaders in the Outdoor Industry

Posted by Brooke Ortel on October 8, 2018 8:56:50 PM MDT

In honor of Indigenous People’s Day, SNEWS recognized five outstanding indigenous leaders in the outdoor industry, including NOLS Instructor and Senior Marketing Representative Erica Nelson, who’s also an ambassador for Brown Folks Fishing. In Erica’s words: “Our tribes were the caretakers and protectors of the land. I hope in my travels, I'm honoring their work.”


How to Raise an Adventurer

Posted by Brooke Ortel on October 4, 2018 8:17:56 AM MDT

Former NOLS instructor Jimmy Chin and his wife believe that adventure is key to successful parenting. A climber, alpinist, skier, photographer, and filmmaker, Jimmy is committed to empowering his kids in the outdoors—for them, preschool is synonymous with ski school.


Exploring the Backcountry with a Mule

Posted by Brooke Ortel on October 3, 2018 10:31:41 AM MDT


As NOLS horsepacking instructor Ari Hertz points out, the Wilderness Act stipulates that designated wilderness areas should be large enough to absorb the impact of a two-week packing trip. Reflecting on her own experience traveling in the backcountry with a mule, Stacey McKenna explores the history of bringing stock into the wilderness. 


The Top 10 Hiking Illnesses and Injuries

Posted by Brooke Ortel on October 2, 2018 8:34:42 AM MDT

Backpacker magazine consults NOLS Wilderness Medicine Curriculum Director Tod Schimpelfenig on how to prevent and treat the 10 most common hiking injuries and illnesses. Based on years of data collected on NOLS courses, the top 10 medical incidents that occur in the backcountry range from blisters to abdominal pain and allergic reactions.


Freezer Bags: The Secret to Eating Well While Backpacking

Posted by Brooke Ortel on October 1, 2018 9:52:09 AM MDT

Popular Science consults NOLS Rocky Mountain Rations Manager Claudia Pearson on how to prepare the best homemade, just-add-water meals for the backcountry. Making your own meal-in-a-bag is cheap, cuts down on waste, and offers an easy, nutritious option for refueling after a long hike.


Building a Proper First Aid Kit

Posted by Brooke Ortel on September 28, 2018 11:56:34 AM MDT

Outside Online looks to NOLS Wilderness Medicine for tips on how to build a well-stocked first aid kit. The first step? Making sure you know how to use all of the supplies you're planning to packconsider taking a wilderness first aid course to prepare.


Netflix Founder Says You Learn Leadership by Doing

Posted by Brooke Ortel on September 27, 2018 8:34:43 AM MDT

Before co-founding Netflix, Marc Randolph spent years developing his leadership skills in the wilderness—as a NOLS student and instructor. Starting with his first course at age 14, Randolph says that the real-life leadership experience he gained at NOLS was the “single biggest contributor to my success as a businessperson.”


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