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The Leader

Expedition Updates

By Emy Noel, NOLS Intern
Reprinted from The Leader, Fall 2002, Vol. 18, No. 1

Worldy women! For three weeks beginning in March, a team of four NOLS women instructors skied the little-explored Russian backcountry. Melis Coady, Aubrey Knapp, Molly Loomis and Keri Meagher navigated the valleys, peaks and hidden hot springs of Nalychevo Nature Park outside of Kamchatka. Midway through the expedition, the instructors climbed to Pinechevo Pass, gaining 1000 ft. in vertical elevation. “We were a well balanced, finely tuned team of ladies,” they agreed.

Erica Rasmussen, Rebecca Raynor, Robby ReChord, Andy Rich and Andy Tankersley – the Zapatista Kayak Crew – spent one month between November and December running the whitewaters of Mexico’s rivers. They ran minimum class III rapids, including some 15-25-ft. waterfalls, mostly as a series of day trips on rivers such as Rio Valles, Rio Santa Maria and Rio Antigua. “I found myself having to use the techniques and skills that we teach students,” said ReChord. “They really work!”

With five animals between them, David Kallgren and Leslie Van Barselaar completed a mule packing expedition in the Sierra Guadalupe, riding from San Ignacio to San Javier, B.C.S., Mexico in less than one month. For Van Barselaar, it was a significant step toward her long-term goal of riding the entire length of the Baja California Peninsula. For both instructors, it was an opportunity to learn alternate systems of managing animals in the backcountry while immersing themselves in the Mexican culture.

Peter Doucette was ice climbing in the Chung Qiao Valley in China during the month of January. Doucette and a team of three other climbers collectively established 16 new routes, graded between 4 and 5+, that ranged from 30-250 meters in length. “For me, growth stemmed from being exposed to variations in climbing philosophies,” Doucette said. “This sort of reflection was great.” In between ascending ten routes, he found the time to explore the culture of the area.



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