NOLS: National Outdoor Leadership School Home
    Executive Director Team
    Board of Trustees
    Field Instructors
    WMI Staff and Faculty
    NOLS Professional Training
    Notable Alumni
  What's the Buzz? -
  Press Room
  Contact Us

Expedition Leadership | Leadership Types | Leadership Skills
Leadership in 30 Days | Leadership Profiles

Tori McClure

Tori McClure Leadership Position: First woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean; first woman to ski to the South Pole
NOLS Graduates: 1985 Semester in Alaska; 1986 Semester in Kenya

Tori McClure quotes William Blake, Charles Lindbergh, Lao-Tzu and Homer. She pens a solution to the world's fossil fuel wars and takes time for inward reflection, so it is really no surprise that she is well-educated and well read. She obtained a masters of divinity from Harvard and a law degree from the University of Louisville. When it came to outdoor schooling, she chose NOLS.

In 1985, Tori took a semester in Alaska with NOLS and then followed that experience up with a semester in Kenya. "There's absolutely no question in my mind that NOLS is the finest outdoor school in the world," she says. "I had been overseas before, but I didn't experience the immersion that I had with NOLS."

The two semesters offered very different experiences. NOLS Alaska taught the nuts and bolts outdoor skills an individual needs to feel comfortable in a cold harsh environment. NOLS Kenya [now NOLS East Africa] did some of this but added in more of a cultural exchange. Both were very valuable.

"NOLS made me comfortable in the outdoors," recalls Tori. "After my first NOLS course I realized that I could go anywhere in the world and be comfortable. NOLS is really the foundation for everything I do in the outdoors and it's not an exaggeration to say that a week doesn't go by when I use something that I learned at NOLS."

Indeed, to plan and pull off her now-famous solo trip rowing across the Atlantic, she used tried and true NOLS formulas for fuel and food consumption.

Sometimes the things Tori uses that come from NOLS are "as simple as rowing in the winter with polypro or Capilene.

"In the backcountry overlooking the simple stuff can get a person killed. All of the comfort, efficiency, and grace I feel in the backcountry began with NOLS. The respect that I have for the wilderness and my desire to preserve it also come from NOLS."

And much of her mental stamina, the same endurance that allowed her to become the first woman to ski to the South Pole (a distance of 750 miles in 1989) and the first American and first woman to row across the Atlantic came from the school. "It's a lot about patience. Patience and meticulous planning. That comes from NOLS. I often think back on my NOLS experiences and view them fondly."

Grad Profiles in Alphabetical Order

Pete Athans
Janice Bloom
David Breashears
Diane Brinkley
Carlos Buhler
Caroline Byrd
Archie Clemins
Columbia Crew
Mike DiDonna
Chris Gergen
John Grunsfeld
Ryan Hughes
Bruce Jacobsen
Sebastian Junger
Tom Kiernan
Alex Matthiessen
Tori McClure
Kitty Phillips
Guy Santiago
Tom Scott
Kat Taylor
Terri Watson
Louisa Willcox

Expedition Leadership | Leadership Types | Leadership Skills
Leadership in 30 Days | Leadership Profile


Semester in Alaska
© Mark Fisher

NOLS Top of Page
NOLS Home About Us Courses Wilderness Medicine Institute NOLS Professional Training Alumni Store Donate Account NOLS Home Parents Press Room School Resources Photos NOLS.TV Events WRMC The NOLS Blog Introduction About Leadership History Mission & Values Profiles Partnerships Frequent Questions Find a Course Skills School Locations School Locations Leave No Trace Financial Aid Academic Credit Find a Course Skills School Locations Course Types Leave No Trace Financial Aid Academic Credit NOLS Pro Home 1-3 Day Courses 7-30 Day Courses Risk Management Staff Clients Design Your Course Contact NOLS Pro NOLS Pro 1-3 Days 7-30 Days Risk Management Clients Contact Us NOLS Pro Design Your Course NOLS Pro Staff Overview Outcome-based Curriculum Faculty Overview Outcome-based Curriculum Faculty Case Studies Overview Administrative Training Staff Training Consulting Conference: WRMC How to Apply Apply Online Download an Application Admission Policies WMI Home About WMI Courses Schedule FAQ Photos & Movies Curriculum Updates Employment Sponsors WMI Home About WMI Admissions Courses Schedule Host a Course Resources Gallery Alumni Home Trips and Events The Leader Alumni Chapters Employment Staying in Touch Volunteer Photos & Videos Home NOLS Photos NOLS.TV The NOLS Podcast NOLS on Flickr Leave No Trace Overview Leave No Trace Principles Leave No Trace Master Educator Courses Host a Course Contact Map of Events Dream Expedition Leadership Week Press Room Images for the Press Archives