7 comments on “A Month at NOLS

  1. Hey congrats, sounds like it was a fantastic experience, cant wait to here some of these stories specifically the 12,000ft white out conditions! Sounds epic.

    Hey I bet there is a chance that guy wouldn’t have rolled is ankle had he been carrying a lighter pack…just saying haha!

  2. Yeah, entirely possible. NOLS has actually done a lot of statistical research on injuries in backpacking courses, and the last I heard there isn’t actually a lower injury rate on lightweight courses (NOLS runs a handful of UL backpacking courses), but I can’t remember what other data they found– like if the injuries were from similar causes or different. Either way, I’m happier with the light packs 🙂

    We’ll have to hang out and do some hikes sometime. Plenty of stories to tell!

    • Hi guthook, ive read alot of your stuff and its pretty interesting. I have some nols questions and was wondering if you could help. Im pretty good in the wilderness ive done a 70 progam in the adirondacks at 15 and have backpacked every since. I graduated highschool early 2 months ago so im ready to take a trip of a liftime. Im 18 and am interested in the yukon territory, brooks range, or washington state cascades for backpacking and canoe. What would you reccomend?

  3. I wonder if the severity of injuries was the same? hmm oh well.

    For sure, if I do not see ya before the LT have a great time, I wish I was joining you! stupid job and bills, who knows maybe I will get fired and have funmployment.

    Yea I will stick with the lighter pack as well.


  4. You know, NOLS keeps detailed info on all injuries and accidents in the field so that they can calculate some serious statistics about them. I’ll ask about that sometime. I bet it would be interesting to hear about the differences in injuries and such.

    I’ll be talking to you soon, buddy! Back from the trail, looking for jobs… funmployment indeed. haha.

  5. Nice briefing, thanks for the report. I too am interested in taking the NOLS instructor course but am not sure what the expectations are into getting accepted into the program. I’ve recently just finished thru hiking the PCT and am getting my WFR this fall. Does NOLS require previous leadership experience before one can join this course? How much technical skills (e.g. mountaineering) does one need?

  6. Hey Justin. I’d say go for it! It can’t hurt to look into the instructor courses, and if you’re really interested in outdoor education, I can’t think of any better place to do it than NOLS.

    My course-mates were from all backgrounds in outdoor leadership– some were experienced guides, some fresh out of college. I think you can do well even without having significant leadership experience, but it does help.

    As for technical knowledge, you don’t need much of any, really. My course was 99% backpacking, with a tiny bit of climbing, but you could do fine as just a backpacker. The biggest shock was just carrying heavier backpacks, but even that isn’t always the case, apparently.

    Feel free to email me with more questions if you like. guthookhikes@gmail

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