The Leader - Spring 2017

Page 1


4 Key Lessons in Risk Management Planning Psychological First Aid Toolkit—What’s in Yours?



Gannetts on Gannett 18

My 23-Year Application 20

THE LEADER April 2017 • Volume 32 • No.2 Published three times a year in April, August, and November.



Kristen Lovelace Liz Schultz Nikole Wohlmacher Sarah O’Leary Madeline Lindley ALUMNI RELATIONS DIRECTOR


or the past year, we developed a new look and logo for NOLS and we recently launched our new website. We refreshed our messaging to communicate more clearly and help visitors discover different aspects of NOLS. Our brand refresh empowers our community to step forward boldly as leaders and take on the challenges of a changing world. The redesigned website provides a friendlier, more streamlined experience for users. On the website you’ll find a variety of our alumni trips, how to customize courses for your organization, access to risk management consulting, the full spectrum of wilderness medicine certifications, new expeditions and more. Visit the website and take a look at what’s new! You’ll also notice what’s inside this magazine has changed to reflect the new brand. All the stories are focused around our three brand behaviors of engage, educate and expose. “Engage” means recognizing the wild each person faces, extending the invitation to the wilderness and embracing the world as it is. “Educate” means teaching the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate uncertainty, creating educational content with access in mind and showing students how to lead in any situation. “Expose” means pushing people to experience the uncertain and immersing people in experiences that show them new perspectives. As always, we hope you enjoy reading great tales from NOLS grads. At NOLS, we have always stood up for what we believe in. We believe in the transformational power of wilderness, as well as the role public lands play for visitors in the U.S. and accessible lands for all around the world. It is important for our grads to carry the backcountry ethic we teach into the frontcountry. NOLS students and instructors come from communities around the world and bring a global perspective. All team up to provide transformative experiences for our students. Through the actions of NOLS graduates leading in their own and unique ways, we believe the values and ethics our students embrace on their courses will promote a vision for the world. Best,

John Gans NOLS Executive Director 2 | THE LEADER





Bruce Palmer Anne McGowan Pip Coe Molly Herber

Postmaster: Send address changes to NOLS 284 Lincoln St. Lander, WY 82520 The Leader is a magazine for NOLS alumni which is a nonprofit global school focusing on wilderness skills, leadership, and environmental ethics. It is mailed to approximately 71,000 NOLS alumni. NOLS graduates living in the U.S. receive a free subscription to The Leader for life. The Leader welcomes article submissions and comments. Please address all correspondence to leader@ or call 1-307-332-8800. Alumni can direct address changes to or 1-800-332-4280. For the most up-to-date information on NOLS, visit or email The Leader is printed with soy-based inks in Los Angeles, Cal., on paper using 10 percent post-consumerrecycled content. The Leader is available online at Cover photo: Courtesy of Travis Monroe



Recognize the wild that every person faces. Your Feedback | NOLS History Book


NOLS in Action | Local Educator Courses


Featured Location | NOLS New Zealand


Staff Profile | Nate Ostis


Alumni Profile | Maggie Crawford


Alumni Profile | Trask Bradbury


Alumni Trips | Prince William Sound and Mount Baker


Featured Course | Semester in the Southwest


Alumni in Action | STEPping Forward for Change


Grad Notes | Stay up to date with our grads



Teach the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate uncertainty. Curriculum | Growth Mindset


Research | Overview


How To | Make Your Own Instant Backpacking Meals


How To | First Aid Kit Advice for River Travel


Reviews | Lead Like a Guide and Mindset


Gear Review | GoSun Sport Solar Oven


Nutrition | Gado-Gado Spaghetti




Push people to experience the uncertain.


Feature | 4 Key Lessons in Risk Management Planning

16 Feature | Psychological First Aid Toolkit— What’s in Yours?


Feature | Gannetts on Gannett


Cover Story | My 23-Year Application



A WORTHY EXPEDITION: THE HISTORY OF NOLS | YOUR FEEDBACK “My wife got it for me for Christmas and I treasure it already ... it’s a wonderful book, the [author] did a wonderful job.” –Dusty Johnston NOLS grad “I just wanted to say how much I loved the book. I was so impressed with how [Kate Dernocoeur] took such a tough subject, with so many stories and opinions and made it entertaining, even-handed, and very thorough ... I was sad to finish it. I’d get up every morning, read by the fire, and remember so much about my own journey with NOLS and how much it meant to me and my family. I’m proud to be part of such a tremendous organization, even though my role now is distant. Thank you, Kate, for bringing it alive again!” –Molly Hampton NOLS grad

“Been enjoying the first few chapters. Fleshes out quite a bit for me, as I was there, but not really aware of the “back story.” Main thing for me is I was indeed there. I think Nancy Carson was the one who put it aptly, “We were all Paul’s children” ... Thank you so much for your great work. I cannot imagine how much work it really took. Hope it sells forever.” –George Shea NOLS grad

Love NOLS? Share your memories with us. Send your feedback, artwork, photography, or personal story to, post on social media, or give us a call at 1-800-710-6657 ext. 2254. Find past issues online at



NOLS IN ACTION | LOCAL EDUCATOR COURSES By Kim Freitas Writer and PR Specialist

Students learning to lead on a local educator course. Robin Larson


s a way to support the locations where we operate, and integrate with local communities, NOLS runs local educator courses. The pillars of the local educator program are education, land management, conservation and leadership. Associate Director of Operations Rachael Price said, “It’s really trying to make NOLS accessible to the communities in which we operate” and staff at international programs often come through a local educator course. NOLS provides local scholarships for courses and many participants go on to take instructor-in-training programs. Local educator courses are usually weeklong expeditions where the students are all local to the country. Students explore wilderness areas where they live through the lens of a NOLS course. These courses are taught in the local language, include local rations and teach the same curriculum as expedition

NOLS courses. However, each course is a unique experience and some place more emphasis on Leave No Trace curriculum and leadership. Currently, NOLS offers local educator courses at our locations in India, Mexico, Patagonia, Tanzania and the Yukon. Expedition and Wilderness Medicine courses are both part of the local educator program. At NOLS East Africa in Tanzania the strength and the relationships built because of the program lead to a more positive student experience. Backpacking courses are greeted when they enter each village and longtime instructors are known by folks living in these villages. Instructor Robin Larson said, “There is just this level of excitement when the courses come through town because they know NOLS.” The local educator program was first started in Africa, at NOLS Kenya. Staff wanted to teach locals both techni-

cal skills and leadership. Today the focus is on getting students into the field and building relationships with land managers and villagers. Members of the NOLS community wanted to become involved in these courses, which led to building instructor volunteering, a free course for locals, and the chance to establish NOLS internationally. Local educator courses will continue to be an important part of NOLS’ outreach.

Kim Freitas Kim is a Wind River Wilderness and Wilderness First Responder graduate who works as the NOLS Writer and PR Specialist. She enjoys vegetarian cooking, warm yoga and drinking lots of coffee!


Jorn Haack


41° S, 173° E

By Jorn Haack Assistant Director, NOLS New Zealand


n a classic case of Vision and Action, NOLS New Zealand was created due to the persistence of a local instructor. Recognizing the untapped potential of New Zealand’s bush as a wilderness classroom, Rob MacLean and others scouted forests and rivers and went on to lead the first ever course in February 2003. I first heard about NOLS offering courses in New Zealand at the end of that same year. Rob asked if I was interested in becoming an instructor. He invited me to tag along as an instructor-in-training on an upcoming hiking course. We spent the next two weeks exploring the mountains, lakes, and rivers of the Southern Alps, a majestic mountain range running the length of the country. We finished our course with a farm stay at a remote high country station. Five years later, I finally joined the ranks of NOLS faculty after taking a New Zealand instructor course. The program has come a long way since the first course. The office transitioned to land on the outskirts of Christchurch. Lots of elbow grease and enthusiasm turned an old stable into offices and equipment room. The house hosted up to 30 staff and students at any given time. To this day, I am amazed at the quality of service we were able to

provide given the tiny kitchen. In 2013, we established our current location in the Aniseed Valley, which is close to Nelson. This campus was designed solely with our needs in mind, and included the facilities and amenities for our courses to have the best possible start. Today, NOLS New Zealand runs semester courses, stand-alone hiking courses, instructor courses, Prime sailing courses for adults age 23 and up and Custom Education courses. The varied and spectacular landscape, as featured in the Lord of the Rings movies, provides the backdrop for hiking, mountaineering, sea kayaking, canoeing, and sailing expeditions. Our courses explore the upper half of the South Island, from the Marlborough Sounds to the Arrowsmith Mountains.

Location Aniseed Valley outside Nelson, population ~46,500, on the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island.

In-Town Staff Eleven

First NOLS Expedition 14-day Backpacking Expedition in 2003.

Operating Season September–March

Courses Offered • Fall and Spring Semesters in New Zealand—semesters include multiple sections: backpacking, cultural, canoeing, mountaineering, sea kayaking and sailing. • New Zealand Backpacking • New Zealand Sailing-Prime

Jorn Haack Jorn values great people, great debates and being greeted by a happy, smiley puppy in the morning. Out of the office, he enjoys riding motorbikes.

Fun Facts • All semester courses include a cultural section with local Maori communities. • Embrace the phrase “kia kaha!”— stay strong and keep going!

Wilderness Quiz QUESTION | Yellowstone was the first National Park in both the United States and the world. What was the second National Park in the United States? Answer on page 13. 6 | THE LEADER



By Helen Wilson Curriculum Publications Managing Editor

“I teach wilderness medicine, climbing, and backpacking courses, but I’m perhaps most passionate when I’m working on rivers.”


ate Ostis had his first NOLS experience in 1994 during a gap year after high school. A close friend of his had returned from a NOLS Semester in Patagonia “completely transformed and full of life,” Nate recalled. He was inspired, and it wasn’t long before he was on his way from his hometown of Yarmouth, Maine to Lander, Wyoming for a Fall Semester in the Rockies. For Nate, this NOLS experience was instrumental. “I didn’t want to attend college unless I knew what I was going for. NOLS helped me find my way. It was a beacon of light shining on a future of teaching,” Nate said. Over time he decided not only to go to college, but that he wanted to become a NOLS instructor. Nate graduated with a K-12 teacher’s certificate in physical education, with a focus in outdoor recreation and coaching. He taught at both the elementary and high school levels before moving on to become a head coach for a college men’s lacrosse team. In 2002 Nate headed west to start his career with NOLS. “I teach wilderness medicine, climbing, and backpacking courses, but I’m

perhaps most passionate when I’m working on rivers,” Nate said. “When we’re boating, we’re traveling through the arteries and veins of this planet. To share this magic with others is a very special thing.” Nate has shared his passion with hundreds of students over the years. “River life is an incredible way to travel through this world. It’s rewarding to watch students embrace this revelation. They get it. They want more. It can be a difficult place for them to leave.” Nate is also the author of the NOLS River Rescue Guide, which won the National Outdoor Book Award. He is also an author of the upcoming NOLS River Educator Notebook, which is scheduled to print in 2017. “Writing books is similar to being on an expedition,” said Nate, “It requires a talented and patient team. It demands effective communication and intentional planning, and it reminds us all that tolerance for adversity and uncertainty lends itself to an enjoyable writing process.” Nate currently lives in McCall, Idaho and has instructed courses in Alaska, Belize, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Japan, New Zealand, and Taiwan.

In 2006, he completed a 165-mile first descent down the remote Class V Yalong River in western China. “I attribute most of my success on that adventure to the lessons I’ve learned at NOLS. It was truly epic,” he said. Nate is currently a firefighter EMT, a search and rescue specialist on his local SAR team and teaches about 25 river rescue courses a year. Every winter he paddles down the 280 miles of the Grand Canyon.

Helen Wilson Helen has over 14 years of writing and editing experience. She is a sea kayaking instructor and a registered yoga teacher. Her other passions include skiing, hiking and sitting in hot springs.

Wilderness Medicine Quiz QUESTION | What is step one of a scene size up before beginning your initial patient assessment? Answer on page 30. NOLS.EDU | 7



By Sarah Buer Wilderness Medicine Marketing Coordinator

“Never be afraid to ask for help.”


aggie Crawford came to Lander, Wyoming in 2013 to take her instructor course. While teaching courses, some health problems started to arise. “When I went back into the field in the summer, I had worsening symptoms like acid reflux, nausea, muscle soreness … I evacuated,” Maggie said. “Once I got home, I went to the doctor and was immediately diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.” Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. That diagnosis hasn’t slowed her down. Maggie still pushes boundaries in the outdoors, while making sure she is paying attention to her blood glucose. “I spend a lot of energy understanding how things like altitude, dehydration,

lack of sleep, and different foods affect my glucose” she said. “I always have sugar and a glucose meter on me, and I also wear a continuous glucose monitor that reads my blood glucose level to my phone and alarms when I am high or low.” Now, she sets goals closer to home or that require fewer days of intense activity. “Managing my blood glucose for five consecutive days of vigorous climbing and running and little sleep is incredibly difficult,” she said. The skills she learned as a NOLS instructor help her with consistent monitoring of symptoms and vitals. Her goal before diabetes was to be self-sufficient in the outdoors, and she is able to do that by planning ahead and taking care of herself. Maggie’s advice to outdoor enthu-

siasts who are affected by a medical diagnosis is to prioritize what makes you happy, and then make your life work to support that one thing. “As my [instructor course]-mate told me the day I was diagnosed,” she added, “‘Never be afraid to ask for help.’” What does her future hold? She wants to change the healthcare system to make it more effective for chronic disease management, and support people who are victimized by the current system. She also plans to open a climbing school for kids with disabilities, and work to improve medication access for low-income youth with diabetes and asthma. Maggie is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Health, Health Behavior at the University of California, San Diego and is also pursuing a separate Master of Public Health in Epidemiology at San Diego State University. She specializes in promoting diabetes management.

Sarah Buer Sarah is a Wyoming native and marketing coordinator for NOLS Wilderness Medicine. When she’s offline she enjoys running, singing and playing guitar and playing in the mountains.

Maggie has a passion for spending time outdoors. Tyler Gross



ALUMNI PROFILE TRASK BRADBURY By Dan Kenah Foundation Relations Officer

“I have learned a lot about our country and just how much work and energy it takes to make it happen.”


etween asending vertical walls and descending from giant windmill blades, Trask Bradbury spends a lot of his waking life roped in. If you think back to the person who introduced you to NOLS, it was probably another grad enthusiastically reminiscing about their course (and showing you old photos of their coursemates in the hottest outdoor styles of their time). In the same way, Trask was first introduced to climbing by a friend when he was 18, at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Soon after, another friend suggested he take a NOLS course, and in 1998 he found himself navigating glaciers through the fog of the Pacific Northwest on a 31 Day Outdoor Educators Course. After his course he wanted to apply his newfound skills and confidence. He kept pushing himself, seeking an outlet to develop his climbing skills. “When I discovered ‘rope access’ and how it could be a great way to highlight my skills, I jumped right in headfirst and never looked back.” He started his own company, Gemini Rope Access­ —think of hanging from a wind turbine to maintain the blades, or doing the rigging for a climbing movie—and soon became an industry-recognized leader. Trask’s career provides constant learning and challenge. When asked about what motivates his work, he said, “The part of my work that I think I love

most is that I get to dip my hands into so many different industries like petro/ chem, paper mills, buildings, bridges, dams, shipping yards, etc.” He’s one of the many necessary threads in the fabric of American infrastructure. “I have learned a lot about our country and just how much work and energy it takes to make it happen.” For Trask, the safety of his clients, his team and himself are always paramount. That comes not just from experience and attention to detail, but from intentional training and education. The self-proclaimed “safety samurai” holds a SPRAT Level 3 certification (Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians), and instructs others up to Level 1. In 2004 he earned his Wilderness EMT certification from NOLS Wilderness Medicine. Although his work takes him all over the country, Trask calls Colorado home. Thinking ahead, he said, “As far as my future is concerned, I’d really like to start up another company and focus primarily on consulting and access issues.” As NOLS grads, we help others discover their passions and pursue them. We’re lucky that someone led Trask to our family, and he has become a leader in his own right.

Trask has devoted years to developing as a climber. Scott Cramer

Dan Kenah Dan is a Baffin Island 2006 grad and recently joined NOLS as the foundation relations officer. The former ski bum loves hiking, rafting and playing the piano.





OLS wants to get you into the wild this year! NOLS alumni get to travel the world together on shorter adventures with other like-minded, outdoorsy adults. Check out our offerings for 2017 and get into the backcountry with NOLS.

NOLS Alumni Reunions It’s been a great alumni reunion season, and we still have five left on the calendar for the spring. We’re excited to welcome NOLS grad and Polar Expedition Guide Katie Crafts as our guest presenter. At age 30, Katie left her office job to chase a dream of guiding in Antarctica. She’ll share her comedic failures, challenges and lifechanging moments that have led her to Greenland, Svalbard and beyond. Head to to RSVP, and join us in a city near you! • Austin, Texas | April 13, 2017

NOLS alumni trips are for our alumni and guests. Our top-quality instructors come along and cater these trips to the interests and maturity levels of our participants. Customized trips are also available. Call us to design your dream adventure. For more information or to sign up, call 1-800-332-4280 or visit

Mountaineering on Mount Baker - Alumni DATE | July 19-25, 2017 (7 days) COST | $1,650 (includes pre- and post-trip lodging in Mount Vernon, WA) Washington’s Mount Baker (10,781 feet) is the ideal place to develop your technical mountaineering and glacier travel skills. The trip is physically demanding and participants will learn to work with ropes, crampons and ice axes, snow and ice protection and crevasse rescue. Moderate


Full packs, high altitude and glacier travel make this a challenging trip.

• Boston, Massachusetts | April 20, 2017 featuring NOLS grad Zand Martin

Sea Kayaking on Prince William Sound - Alumni

• Tucson, Arizona | April 28, 2017

DATE | July 23-29, 2017 (7 days) COST | $2,375

• San Francisco, California | May 2, 2017 • Denver, Colorado | May 12, 2017

Come paddle on Alaska’s iconic Prince William Sound. You will travel near towering tidewater glaciers, listening to them moan, crackle and boom as they calve apart. You will discover the secrets of being a coastal traveler in the wooded coves on cobbled beaches of Alaska. Moderate


Sleeping on cobbled beaches, paddling on choppy seas and weather provide challenge.

Brett Shanaman


Devin Duffy

Andrew Megas-Russell

Deborah Sussex



You will discover that life is remarkably abundant and diverse in the winding canyons, rugged mountain ranges and surrounding desert.

By Andrew Megas-Russell Instructor


chose a semester in the Southwest based on the extreme difference in biodiversity compared to the forested ecosystem I was accustomed to living in. I was looking to immerse myself into a vastly different environment. As a twenty-year-old, I still had no certainty about what I wanted to do the rest of my life, and when asked by relatives I felt an overwhelming pressure to have the right answer. But I didn’t. My NOLS Spring Semester in the Southwest provided an opportunity to identify my personal values through multiple weeks of backpacking, rock climbing, caving and whitewater canoeing. Living simply, treating yourself and others with respect, taking ownership for your actions, overcoming mental and physical challenge, as well as learning how to cook meals from scratch were all things that I never knew you could gain from immersion in the wild. I wasn’t aware of these finer effects from a semester course, which were all life changing whether I realized in the moment or years later.

The Sonoran Desert is a stunning environment different than anything I was accustomed to in my life at home. I soon found out the delicate and rugged beauty the desert had to offer. I was captivated by the biodiversity, seeing snow on the mixed piñon/juniper forests at 8,000 feet on our first backpacking section, later traveling through the deep, rugged canyon of the Rio Grande with its minimal six inch annual rainfall. This new environment was the perfect setting to strip away anything I knew, and step forward with a humble perspective on learning all that I could learn. Throughout my semester course I learned more than just the technical skills typical of a backcountry expedition. This course taught me how to live in a small community of a diverse selection of individuals. My course members and I formed tight bonds, we cared for each other, learned to give each other feedback, laughed a lot and pushed each other in difficult times to reach our true potential. Eventually, I was drawn back to

NOLS in hopes of having a greater impact on the students in the way that my instructors had on me. In 2011, I was able to work a full Semester in the Southwest as an instructor. Being able to work the same course that I took as a student was powerful for me. I was able to relate to students on the course and mentor them through personal growth, as my instructors did when I took the course. Overall, my NOLS experience has prepared me with the tools to tackle real-life challenges.

Andrew Megas-Russell Andrew returned to NOLS Southwest as Field Faculty in 2009 and became the Special Projects Coordinator in 2011. Recent free time activities include giving back to the community by replacing fixed climbing hardware, as well as a new obsession with home brew kombucha.



ALUMNI IN ACTION | STEPping FORWARD FOR CHANGE By Jen Pontrelli Custom Education Sales Manager


n 2009, the de la Rosa family lived a quiet, hardworking life in Tucson, Arizona. Mr. and Mrs. de la Rosa worked long hours to keep their family financially afloat. Their family unit was shattered when Mrs. de la Rosa was denied a green card, deported to Mexico and barred from the United States, her elderly husband and her four young children for 10 years. It was a loud and clear call to Bill de la Rosa, then 15. He began contacting lawyers, politicians and policy influencers to help her case. He vowed to challenge a system that isn’t working for his family or millions of others that have roots on both sides of the Mexico-United States border. In June 2011, Bill arrived in Alaska with STEP, a Tucson-based nonprofit that helps low-income students successfully transition to college. The program culminates with a 22-day NOLS sea kayaking expedition. STEP, which is headed by former NOLS instructor Tracy Baynes, partnered with NOLS Custom Education in 2005 to offer students a

real-world opportunity to put leadership skills into practice. Under the care of Tracy Baynes and account manager and senior field instructor Lynn Petzold, the program has fostered many success stories, including Bill’s. Following his course, Bill graduated valedictorian from high school and with honors from Bowdoin College. While his mother has been his biggest supporter, she could not attend either graduation in person due to her exile in Mexico. Bill has shared his inspiring story in speaking engagements throughout the country. In May 2016, in the midst of his final semester at Bowdoin, he flew out to Lander, Wyoming to address NOLS faculty and staff at the 6th annual NOLS Faculty Summit. While many of his fellow class members were frantically navigating final projects and exams, Bill was calmly and methodically navigating the chaos of his own unique reality. In his remarks, he summed up just what NOLS meant to students like him.

“The ‘Leader of the Day’ extends beyond teaching students important leadership skills,” he said. “It’s about instilling hope and providing the courage students need to succeed.” One day after graduating from Bowdoin, Bill flew to Washington, D.C., to work for the Center for Law and Social Policy as a Truman-Albright fellow. Bill has also worked in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and for the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, where he recently briefed a United Nations High Commissioner on the state of underage immigrants in the U.S. Bill also continues to speak throughout the country, sharing his experiences and creating conversation around sustainable solutions for underresourced immigrant families. In September 2017, he will pursue master’s degrees in Migration Studies and Global Governance and Diplomacy at Oxford University in England as a Marshall Scholar. While any student looks forward to graduation, Bill’s graduation from Oxford carries more weight than any other in his esteemed academic career: for the first time, his mom will be physically present to watch him receive his diploma.

Jen Pontrelli Jen is the sales manager for NOLS Custom Education. In her free time, she loves to run, bike, and explore the mountains.

Bill speaking at the NOLS Faculty Summit in May 2016. Kirk Rasmussen




Contact the Alumni Office at 1-800-332-4280 or to find contact information for any of your coursemates.


The Spanish version of the sixth edition of the NOLS Wilderness Medicine textbook by Tod Schimelpfenig has arrived! Thank you to everyone involved who helped make this happen!


Congratulations to NOLS Wilderness Medicine’s Gates Richards on being chosen by the Wilderness Medical Society to be honored with the 2016 Warren D. Bowman Award! This award is “given to an Associate Member or an allied health professional for outstanding contributions in Wilderness Medicine.” Gates also received the George J. Koenig, Jr. Distinguished Service Award for “dedicated service and leadership towards forwarding the mission of the National Collegiate EMS Foundation.” The National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation (NCEMSF)’s mission is to support, promote and advocate EMS on college and university campuses. “The foundation was started by a college friend of

mine when we were part of a collegiate EMS squad, and I was part of the team that hosted the first NCEMSF conference in 1994,” Gates said. “This year’s was the 23rd annual conference. That first year we had about 100 attendees from 20-ish schools. This year’s conference had 1,150 attendees from 103 schools.” Congratulations on this great accomplishment, Gates! Learn more about the foundation at

Amanda Kalyn, Yukon Instructor Course ‘11 Kurt and Amanda met in 2013 while working a spring semester river course together on the Green River, UT. They had an incredibly fun wedding in Underwood, WA on Sept 3, 2016, and continue to work for NOLS together.

Marriages, Engagements, & Anniversaries

Sean B. Williams, Rocky Mountain Instructor Course ‘03 and Summers S. Eatmon, Rocky Mountain Instructor Course ’11 were married in Mt. Holly, Vermont on August 20th, 2016 in the presence of family and friends. They both currently serve on the Board of Directors for the NOLS Instructor Association. The couple lives in a farmhouse in Andover, Vermont and work as NOLS instructors. Kurt Hotchkiss, River Instructor Course ‘07 and

Top: Gates Richards received the Warren D. Bowman Award. Courtesy of Gates Richards Bottom: Sean B. Williams and Summers S. Eatmon’s wedding in Vermont. Carl D. Walsh

Wilderness Quiz ANSWER | The second National Park in the United States was Mackinac National Park, which was established 1875. In 1895, it lost its status as a National Park and became the first of what we know of as “State Parks.” It was turned over to the state of Michigan to manage.




4 KEY LESSONS IN RISK MANAGEMENT PLANNING By Jess Dunkin Wilderness Risk Management Conference ‘16




s I write this, I am 35,000 feet in the air, returning home from the 2016 Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC). As with any conference, I feel a mix of elation and exhaustion. I’m excited to get back to work and to start implementing some of the things that I learned while in Salt Lake City, Utah. I’m also really tired and looking forward to a couple of days off. I’ve just spent the last four days thinking about and talking about all of the things that can go wrong when you spend time outside. Of course, we also discussed the joys of getting outside and the myriad benefits of land-based programming. It’s important to keep sight of these when discussing risk management. In addition to the keynote and a pre-conference workshop on risk management training, I attended eight workshops over two days that explored a range of subjects, from risk assessment to staff training to incident reporting to diversity and inclusion. For all of the variety, there were common themes and messages. I have identified four that really stood out for me:

1. Risk assessment and planning are complex processes, but risk management plans should be simple. A month-long mountaineering program will involve a variety of different hazards, including rock fall and river crossings. These environmental factors intersect with human factors, such as health, behavior and decision-making, as well as equipment to create an ever changing potential for illness or injury (the standard definition of risk). To navigate this complex set of hazards and keep their participants safe, program leaders need a plan that is easy to access and execute.

2. There is more to risk management than having a plan. A risk management plan is only as good as the people who implement it. It requires administrators and on-the-land leaders who are committed to its use. It provides well-trained and competent staff with guidance as they make decisions in the field. The best risk managers work in organizations that hire competent staff, invest in the appropriate training, provide the necessary supports to make good decisions and encourage open dialogue around incidents and near misses, so that improvements can be made.

3. Risk management plans need to consider emotional, social and mental risks, as well as physical ones. Attending to physical risks such as weather and terrain is not enough. We also need to think about the mental, emotional and social hazards that face participants, from racism to mental illness to homophobia and transphobia. How is your program working to meet the needs of participants from diverse backgrounds? Do you have inclusion statements? Do your staff receive mental health first aid and cultural competency training? If we want land-based

Attendees socializing at the 2016 WRMC in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jared Steinman

programs to be physically safe, they also need to be emotionally safe.

4. Risk management plans are living documents. Risk management is a journey, not a destination. Trip debriefs, incident and near-miss reports, and more informal feedback from staff and participants will help you to keep the plan current and effective.

Jess Dunkin Jess works as the On the Land Programs Consultant at the NWT Recreation and Parks Association. She enjoys paddling, cycling, skiing and hiking.

Left: Two attendees reading the program for the 2016 WRMC in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jared Steinman




Adapted from: NOLS Wilderness Medicine 6th ed. 2017. Tod Schimelpfenig. Stackpole Books, Lanham Maryland. (See Ch. 28, “Stress and the Rescuer” for more.)


Cut along line to save this chart.



OLS Wilderness Medicine has recently added a few new tools to the remote first aid kit. The five components of Psychological First Aid (PFA) were added to the curriculum as tangible skills that can be used at a time of overwhelming stress in order to prevent and mitigate stress injuries, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD, as it is also known, is characterized by troubling reactions such as hypervigilance, avoidance, re-experiencing and alterations in mood that can be debilitating long after the physical injuries of an accident or stressful event have healed. NOLS has taken the lead on incorporating these PFA tools into standard wilderness medicine education. The PFA curriculum is taught as a class on NOLS Wilderness Medicine’s Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Wilderness EMT (WEMT) and Wilderness Upgrade for Medical Professionals (WUMP) courses, and is woven into the shorter courses, such as Wilderness First Aid (WFA). NOLS leadership has coached field staff in the use of PFA concepts when responding to serious incidents, such as the 2016 earthquake in New Zealand, which impacted NOLS students and faculty. These tools are practical, easy to access and transferable, and motivate responders to act with confidence when they are helping overwhelmed individuals. It is designed to be incorporated into the patient assessment system for every medical response.

Speaking with a patient during the initial assessment. Jared Steinman

NOLS Wilderness Medicine teaches five tangible PFA tools that responders may use to mitigate or prevent stress injuries. The first is to establish a sense of relative safety, communicating to the brain’s fight or flight system that the overwhelming stress has passed. Simply shielding the patient from a disturbing scene or using words that reflect that the individual has survived and is now safe begin the return to pre-stress levels. The second tool is to calm oneself before and while responding. Innovations in neuroscience demonstrate that people who have encountered an overwhelming event are in a state of hyper-

arousal, driven by their limbic system, the brain structure responsible for initiating fight or flight responses. The responder’s tone and calm demeanor will communicate that the patient has survived the event and can initiate an “all clear” signal to return to their pre-stress stress state. Responders struggling to calm ... IF OVERWHELMING themselves or those they are trying to help EVENTS OCCUR IN THE may use simple tools, FUTURE, THE INDIVIDUAL such as taking a deep breath, counting to WILL HAVE THE CAPACITY four, then letting their breath out slowly. The TO RESPOND AND HELP third tool is to instill a THEMSELVES. sense of self-efficacy to encourage patients to be an active part of their own rescue. It sends a strong message that if overwhelming events occur in the future, the individual will have the capacity to respond and help themselves. The fourth tool is to establish a connection with important people, whether on-scene or via a communication device, or an on-scene relationship by using the patient’s name or building a rescue partnership. The final tool is to instill a sense of hope, an enduring belief that although the current situation may be grim, things can get better. Fostering and maintaining hope is protective both in individuals and groups against the formation of stress injuries. Lightweight, portable, powerful PFA tools have the potential to mitigate serious stress injuries and change lives. If you haven’t had a chance to develop and practice these skills, seek them out. Many students find these tools so powerful that it shines a light on their own experiences of stress. Many find these tools help them following difficult rescues or near misses in the wilderness. Safety. Calming. Self-efficacy. Connection. Hope. Pack them in your remote medicine kit, you won’t regret it.

Laura McGladrey Laura, aka “Glad,” is a family and psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in emergency medicine, mental health and traumatic stress, especially in the wilderness and remote parts of the world. She has been faculty with NOLS Wilderness Medicine since 1999.

Left: Outline of treatment principles for psychological first aid. Design by Madeline Lindley





By Anne McGowan Development Communications Coordinator




igh in the rugged Wind River Mountains of west central Wyoming lies Gannett Peak, the tallest mountain in the Cowboy State. It was named in honor of cartographer and cofounder of the National Geographic Society Henry Gannett, though it’s said he never climbed it. Last summer, a father and daughter who share Gannett’s last name summited the peak on a NOLS alumni trip. Bill Gannett, a retired attorney who lives in New York City with his family, including his daughter Sarah, knew of Gannett Peak since the 1970s because friends had sent him postcards of the 13,804-foot pinnacle from their travels. After doing research, they discovered the peak’s namesake was a distant relative. “As best we can tell, Henry’s branch of the Gannett family moved from Boston to Maine in the 18th century,” Bill said. “Our common ancestor is probably about nine generations back.” He was intrigued by the connection. Henry Gannett was born in Maine in 1846, and graduated from Harvard College in 1869. Shortly after commencement, he accepted a position surveying Yellowstone National Park. He lobbied to consolidate mapping functions into a HE RECOGNIZED single government agency, which led to the formation of the United EARLY ON THE States Geological Survey, and a new job for Henry: geographer IMPORTANCE OF of the United States Census. In GEOGRAPHY AS A 1888, Henry helped found the National Geographic Society and UNIFYING ELEMENT IN was elected its president in 1909, the same year Gannett Peak was NATURAL AND EARTH named after him. Of Henry, the SCIENCES ... USGS said, “he recognized early on the importance of geography as a unifying element in natural and earth sciences and, throughout his career, worked zealously to present geographic knowledge so that it could be widely used by diverse audiences.” Sarah first saw Gannett Peak from the top of a multi-pitch climb on her Rock Climbing–21 Day ‘14 course. When she returned home, she tossed around the idea of climbing it with her father, an avid and lifelong hiker. But it wasn’t until Sarah completed her Spring Semester in the Rockies ‘16, Bill said, “she acquired the organization, first aid, and nuts-and-bolts skills to take the lead for us in a possible ascent.” When they learned NOLS offered a horse-supported Gannett Peak alumni trip that would take care of all the logistics, they enrolled. The weeklong trip was spectacular and culminated in a summit on a bluebird day. Though summiting their namesake’s peak was a special part of the course, Bill called the skills and expertise that fellow alumni brought with them the more important element. “It added up to a challenging trip, undertaken with like-minded and diverse individuals who worked extremely well together,” he said of their coursemates, and their instructors Judd Rogers and Tom Hafner. Judd said, “It was one of those courses with a really strong dynamic,” and “everything just clicked.” He identified Sarah, fresh off

her NOLS semester, for her strong expedition behavior and extensive wilderness knowledge. For father and daughter, climbing Gannett Peak together was a way to explore common interests, a notion familiar to Henry Gannett, who believed accessible geography was a unifying element that could bring people together. “We think Henry Gannett would have been pleased.”

Top: Bill Gannett relaxes on his NOLS alumni trip. Sarah Gannett Bottom: Taking a moment to soak in reaching the summit. Sarah Gannett

Anne McGowan Anne, a Pennsylvania native who has called Wyoming home for years, is the NOLS Development department’s communications coordinator. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s walking, hiking and Nordic skiing.

Left: Bill and Sarah Gannett on the summit of Gannett Peak. Cliff Johns




By Travis Monroe Rocky Mountain Outdoor Educator with WFR ‘16




nstructor Ngaire Beckett was counting the group of students who were packed into the Noble library conference room. Beckett looked at me and asked, “Am I counting you?” I said, “You bet!” We laugh about that now, but it was understandable at the time. My coursemates ranged in age from 19 to 29. I am twice that age and logically could’ve been a parent. In fact, I was one of Beckett’s students and we were about to embark on a monthlong adventure, start-

Travis’ hand next to a bear footprint seen on their course. Travis Monroe

ing with a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course at Three Peaks Ranch, then backpacking in the Absaroka Mountains. This adventure with NOLS was a long time coming for me. During the summer of 1993, I was on a two-week backpacking trip in Wyoming with a friend. We camped in the Tetons and Yellowstone and visited Cody and Ten Sleep, with a final stop in Lander. Lander hasn’t changed much over the years. We wandered around town and into NOLS Rocky Mountain. I thought it was a big Wyoming outfitter. It was much more than that; NOLS Rocky Mountain was a launching pad for adventure and skills development. I would return over the years to witness students prepare rations in the Gulch for their adventures. In 1993, I had just completed my MBA at the University of Oklahoma while working a full-time job. I wanted something more out of life than my investment analyst and government finance job opportunities seemed to offer. I wanted to enroll in a NOLS course. But a new job was awaiting me in Oklahoma and in business school I learned the value of being practical. I was about to join the Oklahoma Governor’s budget staff, proposing state spending and program changes. The job was full of challenges but none of them were outdoors. I advanced at work, got married a few years later and started having kids. I continued hiking and backpacking around the country and all the while carried with me this idea of someday enrolling in a monthlong NOLS course. When visiting Wyoming over the next 20 years I would drive

through Lander, always visiting NOLS to watch the young adults in the Gulch and on the front lawn. I wanted to have the NOLS experience and I was always a little melancholy leaving Lander for home. The rain fly or “Thelma fly” I purchased during my 1993 visit was my connection with Wyoming and NOLS. She was my constant companion for two decades as I carried her on my adventures from Oklahoma to Alaska. The rain fly was our shelter when I began teaching my young son about backpacking. She provided a kitchen area for our two-week adventure on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. For years, that rain fly allowed me to feel as though I was part of NOLS even though I had never enrolled on a course. Last year I found myself thinking about early retirement and transitioning to a new career. A friend asked what I would do if money and time were no object. I immediately said I would teach leadership and outdoor skills. My wife Margie said, “Why don’t you stop thinking about a NOLS course and sign up for one?” I was stunned by that simple suggestion and called NOLS the next week. So there I was in the Noble library with my instructor team and the rest of my 20-something coursemates. We got right into a fun icebreaker activity, some of us ate dinner at a local burger joint and we shared our excitement and anticipation for the coming days. My trip to the Gulch in June 2016 was not to watch but instead to participate in measuring my own rations. There was the usual chatter and laughter and energy among my coursemates and it was a very surreal experience for me. I was not standing in I WASN’T DREAMING the doorway watching students about to leave ABOUT JOINING A GROUP; on a course in the Winds; I WAS PART OF A GROUP I was measuring beans with my new friends HEADING INTO THE Joe Ostlund and Bryan Kreig. I wasn’t dreaming WILDERNESS. about joining a group; I was part of a group heading into the wilderness. Our course left Lander for Three Peaks Ranch the next day where we dove into our WFR course and enjoyed the ranch’s renowned hospitality. We also practiced our WFR lessons by performing full patient assessments under our instructors Alexa CallisonBurch’s and Kate Sirianni’s watchful eyes. Daily medical scenarios and the accompanying patient examinations were an ideal activity for

Left: Travis and his coursemates had fun exploring the Absaroka mountain range. Courtesy of Travis Monroe


EXPOSE developing relationships. Role playing our injuries allowed us to become comfortable talking and working with each other. Alexa and Kate created a relaxed and professional learning environment that naturally resulted in our class becoming more comfortable and engaging. Our instructors made learning about hypothermia, dislocations and pneumothorax signs, symptoms and treatments informative and fun. Our final mass casualty incident (MCI) training was an intense experiential learning opportunity where we realized our group was becoming a cohesive unit. Midway through the MCI Alexa nodded to me and I dropped to the ground with a heart attack. My fellow rescuers were thrown a curveball just as we appeared to be getting a handle on the scenario. Alexa had pulled me aside prior to the MCI and told me that about 30

Top: Backpacking through the mountains on a clear summer day. Eric Page Bottom: Taking a break to check maps. Travis Monroe


minutes into the exercise she was going to give me a signal to fake a heart attack. My coursemates were not fazed by this and immediately began to administer CPR. I don’t necessarily think Alexa picked me because I was the gray-haired student, but she did seem to enjoy creating the challenging MCI test and observing WHEN MY FAMILY AND and providing feedback on FRIENDS ASK ME TO our performance. The days at the ranch TELL THEM ABOUT MY came to an end after a week of WFR lessons and we MONTH IN WYOMING, I packed our gear to begin the STRUGGLE TO EXPLAIN second part of our course, a 22-day trip in the Absaroka THE DEPTH OF THAT mountains. We were headed into the wilderness and, EXPERIENCE. unbeknownst to us, Kate was planning a few more surprise WFR training scenarios. As we took to the trail, our conversations turned from evacuation protocol and resolving dislocations to more personal topics. We laughed and “bear called” our way through the mountains. We tested our river crossing techniques to failure and learned to cook wilted blue bell and onion salad. Forrest Gourgeon and Julia Mason were the self-appointed foragers on our course and luckily I was in their cook group when they improved the blue bell recipe from the weedy dirt taste to palatable side dish. I’ve spent most of my adult summers backpacking and mountaineering with family and friends. I’ve rafted, climbed and camped in Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington and Wyoming. I feel relatively comfortable planning and executing wilderness trips and I’ve even spent time in the Tetons and Yellowstone under my rain fly. I thought I knew what a NOLS experience would include. When my family and friends ask me to tell them about my month in Wyoming, I struggle to explain the depth of the experience. It isn’t necessarily the beautiful campsites and rivers and peaks they expect me to describe. Those places were spectacular and I do show them pictures. It wasn’t the WFR scenarios or the bear sign or river crossings and starry nights they are curious to hear about. It was those things too, but more. It was the small moments and important connections we made, like the smile that Tori Moon gave me every morning when I impatiently lifted the pot lid to see if our water was boiling. And the determination on Katherine Lewis’ face when we were practicing river crossings on the South Fork of the Buffalo. It was the evening our group gathered at our high camp above Turpin Meadow watching the sun silently slip behind Mount Moran. Of course, it was the laughs I shared with Jack Fairbairn and Bryan Kreig every day on the trail and during our morning walks after breakfast. These moments, including the night midway through our course when the six late night regulars were being hypnotized by the embers of our fading campfire. The group had fallen silent before Zoe Robb,

EXPOSE her face bathed in a warm orange glow, decided to breath life into the song “Traveling Soldier.” Until that moment we had been unaware of her soft beautiful voice. We had appealed to Zoe for several evenings until she grew comfortable enough to sing to us, vulnerable enough to share her musical talents with her new friends. The physical trust we had gained with each other over the previous two weeks was becoming a deeper emotional trust. I believe this was the point on our journey that triggered the bonding that happens during experiences like a NOLS course. We began having conversations usually saved for intimate friends. By the end of the second week on the trail we were sharing stories of life and love, heartbreak and personal goals. Our comfort level was even more evident when a tent mate elbowed me one night around 2 a.m. to get me to roll over and stop snoring. The polite accommodation had become a more familiar midnight jab in the ribs. Over the course of our month together I watched as each of my fellow coursemates found their confident voice and leadership style and stepped forward into their new roles. Zoe started with her voice and finished with a leadership role on her student expedition. Joe taught a memorable leadership lesson and Erin Smith improved her river experience. Everyone found their own strength and a way to leverage it within the group. And, I suppose, this is the real reason I cannot fully describe my course experience to my family. They didn’t witness the transformation that happened within our group. They didn’t bond with this group of people that worked with me in the classroom and on the trail. My coursemates experienced this growth journey together through challenges and celebrations. I will share future experiences with my

family and friends, but only those on my course really know what we experienced in the mountains. Inevitably, group bonding ultimately leads to separation; it was noticeably difficult for our group as we were wrapping up the course and preparing to return to our old lives. My new friends walked the streets of Lander, reminiscing about our time together and talking about future trips. Long hugs were shared and a few tears shed. Each of us was reluctantly ripping ourselves away from the group bond. The WFR material had not prepared us for this painful wound. I struggled driving away from Lander again this summer. This time it was because I was leaving a special experience and good friends. I was also leaving a little bit of myself in Wyoming.

Travis Monroe Travis recently started an outdoor education career in his home state of Oklahoma. When he isn’t climbing, exploring or hammock camping, he spends his time researching and writing his wilderness blog.

A wilderness classroom with a spectacular view. Eric Page



CURRICULUM | GROWTH MINDSET By Ngaire Beckett Instructor

Climbing with Joe Cleinmark in Arenales, Argentina. Ngaire Beckett

“I can’t do it. It’s too hard.” Grunting. Squirming. “It’s not hard, it’s challenging,” came the reply from below.


y frustration festered as I looked up at the rock before me and still told myself I couldn’t do it. Looking down at my climbing partner I said, “lower me, please.” I was climbing in Arenales, Argentina, and I had a big learning curve about how our mentality plays into our ability to perform. I struggled up many climbs, believing they were beyond my ability. Thankfully, my climbing partner had a lot of faith in me and challenged me to change the way I was looking at life. Instead of viewing things as hard, view them as challenging. Hard means closed, definitive, final, no possibilities; while challenging is still open to possibilities, room to grow, not finalized yet.


As I was to discover, this is referred to as fixed mindset and growth oriented mindset. Growth mindset is something NOLS has supported for a long time culturally, but we are just now starting to more deliberately coach students using this language. When we foster a fixed mindset it often leads to a desire to look good, tendency to avoid challenges, give up easily, feel threatened by the success of others, see our efforts as fruitless, and ignore useful critical feedback. As a result we plateau early and achieve less than our full potential. A growth mindset leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the pathway to mastery, learn from feedback and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others. As a result, we reach ever higher levels of achievement. All this gives us a greater sense of free will.

What I was to learn is that a growth mindset is something to be adopted, and it takes time and patience with yourself. In teaching students it’s the same. We talked in depth about the self talk we use with ourselves, whether it’s fixed or growth oriented, and the challenges this gives to our ability to perform and work with people. For example, one of my students started her course resistant to working with others, and walked away as a fully functioning course member. The first step to developing a growth mindset is becoming aware of the self talk we use with ourselves. You may be surprised by the power language has on your ability. The second is understanding your strengths, habits and areas of growth. For me this meant better demonstrating selfawareness, and realizing the effect my mentality had on my climbing partner. Third, take initiative by setting and achieving goals. Do all this to serve the team, in a variety of roles such as self, peer and designated leadership. My remaining time in Arenales was still full of struggle and a fixed mindset. However, a year later after working on embracing a growth mindset in all aspects I feel happier and don’t see challenges as a means to end something. I’m inspired by others’ ability and do what I can to learn from their success.

Ngaire Beckett Ngaire is a Southern Hemisphere instructor. When not in the field she can be found climbing rocks and teaching people how to pronounce her name.


RESEARCH | OVERVIEW By Shannon Rochelle Research Project Manager


OLS has been active in research since the 1970s. Recent graduates have helped with studies that fall into four categories: student learning and development, energetics, place connection and citizen science.

Student Learning and Development In 2003, NOLS and the University of Utah began a long-term research partnership investigating what students gain from outdoor adventure education. We learned the top transferable lessons students attributed to NOLS courses were the ability to function effectively under difficult circumstances, selfconfidence, ability to serve in a leadership role, ability to serve well as a team member and appreciation for nature. Recent studies build on these earlier findings. NOLS courses continue to engage students in real problemsolving situations, which led to a study comparing ill-structured problemsolving (ISP) skills of NOLS semester

students with those of students in a classroom-based leadership course. Illstructured problems such as crossing a river or deciding where to apply for a summer job have multiple solutions. This study showed increases in NOLS students’ ISP skills but no change in skills for the classroom-based students. If you were a spring semester student in 2013, you may remember helping with this study. A study on how students form social connections and how a student’s sense of belonging develops as a group forms revealed that relationships change little after the first 10 days. Perceived support from instructors increases a student’s sense of belonging. Students at NOLS Rocky Mountain in 2012 and NOLS Teton Valley in 2014-2015 may remember participating in this study.

Energetics A State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany professor worked with NOLS Rocky Mountain students in 2010-2011

to design a new model for calculating energy expenditure. Older models underestimated energy expenditure for very active people. Her new Allocation Interaction Model provides a more accurate estimate of how much energy an active person expends. Researchers from Weber and Metropolitan State universities investigated how students’ body compositions change during a course. They found that on average students lose weight and fat but gain muscle mass. Students and instructors on NOLS Rocky Mountain summer courses from 2014-2016 helped with this research.

Place Connection In 2016, a Yale University sociologist surveyed 500 NOLS Rocky Mountain students to examine how NOLS courses affect students’ sense of place and connection to public lands.

Citizen Science In summer 2016, thirty NOLS Rocky Mountain courses collected data for citizen science projects investigating glacial melting, the effects of human disturbance on alpine plants, and bird activity in the Wind River Mountain range in Wyoming.

Shannon Rochelle Shannon has been a NOLS instructor since 1999 and NOLS research manager since 2014. She spends her free time running across the mountains and plains of Wyoming with her dog.

Left: Expedition courses often help with research projects. Sanne Hilbrich Right: A student takes notes in his journal on a course. Tracy Baynes, STEP Program



HOW TO | MAKE YOUR OWN INSTANT BACKPACKING MEALS By Katherine Boehrer Social Media Coordinator


ometimes we love the convenience of those pre-made, just-add-water backpacking meals. At the end of a long day outside, it can be great to skip the dishes and still enjoy a tasty and filling dinner. Just-add-water meals are often lighter-weight than traditional bulk rations, and require less fuel for cooking since you only need to boil water. There’s no need to spend a fortune on pre-made meals. You can make your own “meal-in-a-bag” using items from your local grocery store!

Follow these steps and use your imagination to create your own easy breakfasts and dinners:

• Dried alfredo, tomato, cheese, or pesto sauce packets

Step 1: Choose Your Carbs

• Soy sauce, bouillon cubes, curry powders, hot sauces

Grains and starchy vegetables are a great meal base because they are high in carbohydrates, which are most easily converted to energy to fuel your adventures. • Instant couscous • Ramen noodles • Instant rice • Instant oatmeal • Instant grits • Granola

Step 2: Choose Your Veggies and Protein These add texture, variety, and vitamins and minerals to your meals. Nuts, seeds and beans provide a source of protein, healthy fats and fiber. • Nuts and seeds • Freeze dried fruits/veggies/meats • Dehydrated beans or lentils • Pepperoni or summer sausage

• Peanut butter or other nut butters

• Nido (full-fat powdered milk) • Olive oil Combine all of your ingredients in a quart-sized freezer bag with a zip top. Wet items should be kept separate until you are ready to cook your meal. These can be stored inside in a smaller baggie or in a separate container. When you’re ready to cook, just boil a pot of water and carefully pour enough into your meal to rehydrate. Remember, you can always add more water, but you can’t take it out! Some items will require a few minutes to sit and soften. You can seal the top of the bag and slip it inside your puffy jacket to keep it warm while you wait! I’d also recommend investing in an extra-long spoon if you are planning on eating straight from the bag—it’s much easier! To read the full story, visit the NOLS Blog: instant-backpacking-meals.

• Tuna or chicken packets • Cheese (dried parmesan or other hard cheeses)

Step 3: Choose Your Sauce or Seasoning

Shop your local grocery store to find seasonings and other mix-ins. Katherine Boehrer


You can find a lot of dried sauce mixes in the spice aisle. Adding extra sugar or fat can make food taste better while adding extra calories to a meal.

Katherine Boehrer Katherine is an Alaska Backpacking graduate and the NOLS Social Media Coordinator. When she’s offline she enjoys running, backpacking, hiking and cooking.




here is no perfect first aid kit. We need to preplan and consider the environment, the terrain, the climate, the skill set of companions, the number of days, number of people and remoteness of our expedition.

First Aid Kits: Rafting When it comes to rafting down rivers, especially on multi-day adventures, we can usually go ahead and build ourselves a comprehensive first aid kit. There is plenty of room to accommodate a heavier kit, as long as you secure and organize the contents and then choose the appropriate waterproof storage container. I do build a secondary first aid kit that is specific to hands and feet when rafting, especially on desert rivers where sediment in the water combined with intense wind and sun can result in dry, cracked and damaged skin. We become a compromised member of the expedition if our hands and feet are sore, cracked and infected. Each night before bed I treat my hands with skin lotion or hand salve and then cover them with medical gloves for at least the first half of the night. I do the same with my feet before covering them with clean socks. This at least gives them the opportunity to heal for 4-5 hours a day, even if the rest of the day is damaging to them.

First Aid Kits: Kayaking For kayaking I need to be more selective in my first aid contents since there is limited space. Also, weight management equals risk management, so I need to be mindful of how heavy I make my kayak before plunging down the next drop. I’ve taken advantage of the foam pillars inside my whitewater kayaks to carve in storage housing for my critical

Top: The inner foam pillars of my 13-foot whitewater kayak. I cut out storage places for my critical needs. Nate Ostis Bottom: Nate Ostis on the Río Pacuare, Costa Rica, Dec. 2015. Ben Morton

needs. I have a 13’ Liquid Logic Stinger whitewater kayak. The insulated Hydroflasks are for water storage, the blue pelican box is my repair kit, and the Nalgene bottles serve as storage units, which make excellent first aid kit containers for kayaks. This particular setup was implemented before a five-day, 280-mile self-supported kayak journey through the Grand Canyon.

Supplies to Consider: Items I prioritize include (but are not limited to): wound management (gauze, band-aids, closure kit, ointment), tweezers, trauma shears, irrigation syringe, knife, mirror, nail clippers, nitrile gloves, tape, epinephrine and Benadryl, Tylenol and ibuprofen, ciproflaxin (for bad belly), Delorme InReach GPS emergency communication device, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Field Guide, bandages and ACE wrap. My first aid kit is in a constant state

of change and that’s part of what I love about backcountry travel. Discover what works best for you, but avoid getting too comfortable—risk management is a journey, not a destination. Happy boating, and push “pause” before your next trip. Extra thought before leaving the house can go a long way toward minimizing your next mishap. To read the full story, visit the NOLS Blog:

Nate Ostis Nate began exploring rivers in 1988 and has been working on them ever since. When not teaching or boating, he makes his home with friends and family in the mountains of Idaho.



REVIEWS By Carol S. Dweck, PhD


Carol S. Dweck explores the idea that developing a growth mindset leads to a lifelong love of learning. This mindset can positively affect our outcomes in the mountains, in the classrooms and inevitably in the lives we lead. Dweck shows the reader how teachers, instructors and leaders alike can cultivate a growth mindset, which focuses primarily on the experience and the process rather than the end result. In the growth mindset, the learner embraces the tough stuff along the road to achievement and arrives at their goal because of happiness and excitement for what they are doing. Mindset is applicable to those who lead for NOLS, and those who are students on NOLS courses. As an instructor, empowering students with the growth mindset helps them to love learning and have better outcomes and growth in their course. Growth mindset suggests that we reinforce the effort put in. Success does not have to look the same to everyone. According to Dweck, our message should be, “you are a developing person and I am interested in your development.” This book will help you appreciate the learning you have done and hopefully continue to strive to have a growth mindset in all you do. Reviewed by Jake Wallace, Instructor. © 2016, Carol S. Dweck, PhD

In this book, Christopher I. Maxwell, PhD, examines the leadership skills of world-class mountain guides and how these same skills can lead to both business and personal success. Maxwell is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a NOLS Pacific Northwest Course Leader alum. He has taught a foundation leadership course at the Wharton School for 15 years and created a leadership development program that took more than 200 business students to high peaks and trails in six countries. Maxwell identifies the six leadership strengths of world-class mountain guides as demonstrating social intelligence, adopting a flexible leadership style, empowering others, facilitating the development of trust, managing risk in an environment of uncertainty and seeing the big picture. Maxwell supplements his explanations with leadership lessons he has learned from his own travels with mountain guides, his understanding of challenging experiences he has faced and contributions from people who have applied lessons learned to their own workplace and personal life. A good read for anyone who needs a refresher of leadership lessons learned while on a NOLS course! Reviewed by Shelby Cranshaw, PR and Marketing Intern, © 2016 Christopher I. Maxwell, PhD


By Christopher I. Maxwell, PhD

Who Is This? Do you recognize this person? The first ten people to contact us with the correct answer will receive a prize in the mail. The answer to last issue’s “Who Is This” is Kat Smithhammer, longtime instructor and current account manager in NOLS Custom Education. Originally from Canada, she has worked courses from the Yukon to Patagonia and beyond. School.



GEAR REVIEW | GOSUN SPORT SOLAR OVEN By Sarah Zimmerman Whitewater River Expedition ‘16


he GoSun Sport Solar Oven is designed to capture solar energy for cooking in the great outdoors. We put this oven to the test to feed staff at NOLS Rocky Mountain. First, we prepared the solar oven with its central glass vacuum tube and the reflective metal panels on either side, angling them toward the source of heat and light. After 10 minutes, the inside of the oven reached 600 degrees! Once we opened the tube a few times and pulled the cooking tray out, the temperature leveled out between 200 and 300 degrees for the rest of our cooking experience. The solar oven is tubular shaped, and we considered our foods

carefully. To test out the basic function of the oven, we started with hot dogs. They cooked very well in the oven, but stuck to the tray, so we learned the importance of lining the tray with foil. With a little stick prevention, the oven proved it was up for the challenge. It could only hold a few dogs and we had to feed staff in small groups. Next, we tackled the challenge of cooking cinnamon rolls. We rolled up the log of dough and baked it in the GoSun before slicing it into individual rolls. This type of modification might be required on many different recipes, which could be inconvenient, but makes old recipes new again and adds an extra element of fun. Our first attempt turned out okay, but guessing on the cook time left the rolls a bit tough and dry. Adjusting the bake time eventually landed us with the perfectly balanced cinnamon roll. With some more experience, I’m sure we could learn how to better gauge the cook time. We were very satisfied with the oven’s performance and had a blast experimenting with the sun’s energy. We wouldn’t include this oven on any type of expedition that required carrying gear, but we think the oven could be a fun addition to stationary camps.

Sarah Zimmerman During her internship with NOLS, Sarah could often be found brainstorming blog topics. She now works for a non-profit to help expand parks and trails in east Tennessee. When she’s not at work, you’ll find her exploring the creeks of the oldest mountain range in the world.

Top: The GoSun Sport Solar Oven. Courtesy of GoSun Bottom: Cooking hot dogs at NOLS Rocky Mountain. Kirk Rasmussen





his classic noodle dish with peanut sauce is a treat at the end of a long day of adventuring. The credit for this popular NOLS Cookery recipe goes

to Donna Orr, a former NOLS employee and previous NOLS Cookery coauthor. Bon appétit!

Prep Time | 5 Mins.


Cook Time | 15 Mins.

1. Cook the pasta or ramen in boiling water and 1 teaspoon of oil. When done, drain and set aside, reserving 3/4 cup of water from cooking. 2. Heat the remaining oil in your fry pan, and add the sunflower seeds and rehydrated onions. Cook over medium heat for two minutes. 3. Next, add the broth, brown sugar, garlic, and other desired spices, and add the reserved 3/4 cup of water. 4. Then, add the vinegar, soy sauce, and peanut butter and stir to combine. Be careful not to burn the sauce! 5. Finally, stir in your pasta and serve topped with green onions, if you’ve got them.

Ingredients (serves 3) • 1/2 lb. (2 cups) spaghetti or 2 packages of ramen noodles • 4 cups water • 3 tbs. + 1 tsp. oil • 2 tbs. sunflower seeds • 1 tbs. dried onion, rehydrated • 1/2 tbs. or one packet broth • 3 tbs. brown sugar • 1 tsp. garlic • 3 tbs. vinegar • 3 tbs. soy sauce • 3 tbs. peanut butter

Visit the NOLS Blog for variations and tips on how to make this as an instant meal:

Pro Tip | This dish can be fairly salty, so to reduce saltiness, reserve the broth or some soy sauce and add to your liking at the end. “I still make it for dinner. The kids love it. Learned it on Semester in the Rockies 1991.” –Cody Kelly NOLS grad

Cooking dinner with a view. Brandon Sisino

Wilderness Medicine Quiz ANSWER | Number one: I’m number one. The first step of the scene size up is to identify potential hazards to self, other rescuers, bystanders and the patient. A patient can be served only by healthy rescuers, not more patients.



“NOLS allows us to do things we would never get to do and be people we never thought we could be.”


Courtesy of Natalie Hauptman

–Natalie Hauptman NOLS grad







Kirk Rasmussen

Head on over to the website and take a look at what’s new, what’s familiar and what your next adventure might be.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.