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Alumni Trips: Lifelong Learning for Grads, Friends and Families


NOLS alumni trips are a great way to introduce non-grad friends and family to the school. Photo: Rich Brame

Are you interested in getting back into the wilderness with NOLS, but you're faced with a calendar too crammed for a long expedition?

Usually one week in length, alumni trips are specifically designed for NOLS graduates and their friends and families. These trips allow busy grads to reconnect with the school, enjoy an outdoor vacation, and have the chance to introduce loved ones to the NOLS experience.

Instruction on alumni trips is informal and the atmosphere relaxed. We review and practice Leave No Trace camping skills, teach technical skills and touch on a host of other NOLS information—depending on interest. We can also create a custom trip if you and your cohorts have a hankering for something eclectic, yet NOLS-flavored.

Non-grad friends and family are welcome to join you on most NOLS Alumni trips!

Questions? Call 800.332.4280


"...a perfect balance of learning and playing... "

—Monnie B.-BVI Sailing Trip

"It was great to return to the Winds' alpine sights and environment with my sons."

— Mark F., 1981 NOLS Wilderness Course grad and alumni llama trip participant.

Photo by Dave Anderson.

Rock Climbing at Red Rocks in Nevada

Date: February 14-20, 2016

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Days: 7

Price: $1,650 (includes pre/post trip lodging)

Learn new rock skills or hone your existing tecniques with a convivial squad of NOLS grads and guests.

If you are interested in learning rock climbing skills on warm sandstone, contact us now for more information.

Stay tuned for a photo...

Coastal  Navigation Seminar in the British Virgin Islands

Date:  March 30-April 1, 2016

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Days: 3

Price: $TBA

During this class, which takes place the three days prior to the BVI Alumni Sailing Trip, you will have the opportunity to gain and practice essential coastal navigation skills. This is a classroom-based seminar. There will be morning and afternoon sessions each day.

If you are keen for a trip through southwest human history contact us now for more information.

Build your skills and set sail. Photo: Alan Neilson

British Virgin Islands Sailing Trip

Date: April 2-April 9, 2016

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Days: 8

Price: $2,350

Sailing instruction and review will be the focus of the first few days, but very soon you and the rest of the crew will have gained the skills to run the boat while your instructors step back into a coaching and assisting role.

If you are keen for a trip through southwest human history contact us now for more information.

Incredible canyons, scenery and ancient human history! Photo: Nick Braun

Hike Utah's Canyons

2 Dates: April 3-8, 2016 and April 10-16, 2016

Days: 6 or 7 depending on date

Price: $995 (includes pre/post trip lodging)

This trip travels in Utah’s desert canyons with a focus on the area’s natural and incredible human history. Exposed landforms provide textbook illustrations of the land’s geologic past, and thickly vegetated riparian zones contrast the stark expanses of rock, sand, and black bush. This 6-day trip traverses a 26-mile section of Grand Gulch and Bullet Canyon, one of the top NOLS hiking destinations in Utah.

If you are keen for a trip through southwest human history contact us now for more information.

Join us at the top of Africa.



Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Date: April 5-14, 2016

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Days: 10

Price: $3,575 (includes pre/post trip lodging)

Join NOLS on a climb to the top of Africa. Porters will help with the loads as the team ascends through the bush, jungle and into the alpine zone of Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet). Experience the culture of Tanzania on this once in a lifetime trip.

Contact us now for more information. 

Explore the depths of narrow slot canyons. Photo: Jamie O'Donnell.

Technical Canyoneering in Southern Utah

Date: April 10-16, 2016

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Days: 7

Price: $995 (includes pre/post trip lodging)

Explore the natural wonder of desert erosion as you explore tight canyons while learning technical systems and the necessary rope work to navigate the slots and manage the risk. Based out of two different camps throughout the week, you’ll travel with daypacks and technical canyoneering gear as you drop into a new slot canyon each day. After challenging days, enjoy camaraderie and stories in camp as you relax and camp in style!

If you're keen to develop technical rope work while exploring tight canyons, contact us now for more information. 

Rainier: it's high, snowy and prone to catching wind.

Mount Rainier Expedition

Date: July 4-July 8, 2016

Days: 5

Price: $1,695 (Expedition Alumni Only)

A fast-paced attempt to summit this iconic Cascade peak. Due to the short timeframe, the Mount Rainier Expedition is much more like a guided tripand devotes less time to the instruction and practicing of mountaineering skills. Expect long days, heavy packs, steepand exposed terrain, challenging conditions, and, hopefully a well-timed weather window to reach 14,409'! The Mount Baker Expedition is a recommended 1st step for this Rainier Expedition.

If you're keen to develop technical rope work while exploring tight canyons, contact us now for more information. 

This trip will increase your confidence, technical abilities and prepare you for the summit!

Glacier Mountaineering Training on Washington's Mt. Baker

Date: July 20-26, 2016

Days: 7

Price: $1.600 (Alumni Only)

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Mount Baker, one of the Northwest’s stunning volcanoes, is the ideal place to learn and develop your technical mountaineering skills. On this alumni trip, you will focus your learning on the technical skills required to attain the summit of Mount Baker and similar, snowy peaks. Technical rope work, crampon and ice axe use, snow and ice protection placement, and crevasse rescue training are features on this trip.

For focused skills training, contact us now for more information or to reserve a spot.

Climb Gannett Peak in the granite heart of Wyoming's Wind Rivers. Photo: Mary Furman


Gannett Peak Mountaineering Expedition

Date: July 24-30, 2016

Price: $2,295 (Expedition alumni only)

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Hidden deep in the Wind River Range, above jumbled moraine and glacial ice, Gannett Peak is Wyoming's highest summit.

Reaching this remote 13,804-foot summit requires an approach of several days, followed by the climb itself. You'll travel on snow and ice, cross Dinwoody Glacier and work up the rock to the summit.

If you are interested in this adventure, contact us now for more information.

Wander the Winds with these furry creatures. Photo: Brad Christensen.

Llama Packing & Fly Fishing in Wyoming's Wind River Mtns.

Date: July 24-30, 2016

Days: 7

Price: $1,295

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Refine your NOLS skills while embracing new ones such as fly-fishing, and llama packing in the beautiful Wind River Range. Instructors will help with the technical skills, and you will still be able to soak in the fantastic scenery and experience of this alumni trip. Learn to pack and lead llamas. This is a fantstic trip for families and guests.

If you're keen on light packs and beautiful scenery, contact us now for more information or to reserve a spot.

Hiking Ireland's "Cliffs of Insanity." Photo: Rich Brame

Walking Ireland's West Coast

Dates: August 3-9, 2016
August 11-17, 2016

Days: 7

Price: $2,350 - includes pre and post-trip lodging!

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Explore the trails and tracks of western Ireland's incredible coast from Ennis north to the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands, Killary Fjord and the Connemara region with a group of stalwart NOLS grads, friends and families. Lodging is in small hotels and B&B's so packs are light, music is traditional and the food is incredible.

Check these shots from last year's trip!

If you are interested in this adventure, contact us now for more information.

Explore Wyoming's Wind River Mountains with NOLS. Photo: Rich Brame

Wind River Hiking and Wilderness Medicine First Aid

Date: August 7-13, 2016

Days: 7

Price: $1,295, includes NOLS' 16-hour Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification.

The trip begins in Lander, WY with 8-hours of classroom and scenario-based Wilderness Medicine First Aid instruction at the beautiful Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus. The trip then travels into the Wind River backcountry for a 5-night backpacking expedition where the remaining 8- hours of first aid curriculum is interspersed wtih classic wilderness and travel topics like camping, cooking, map reading, navigation, non-technical peaks and fly fishing.

It's like two trips in one: explore Wyoming's Wilderness and up your first aid game!

If you are interested in this adventure, contact us now for more information.

Hard work and camaraderie make for a great experience. Photo: Rich Brame

Alumni Service Project in New York's Adirondacks

Date: August 14-20, 2016 (Adirondacks)

Days: 7

Price: $595 (Subsidized by NOLS!)

NOLS grads and families venture into New England’s backcountry for a week of camping, camaraderie, and service. Conduct a service project to protect public lands and enhance visitors’ backcountry experience. Projects include trail construction, bridge maintenance, or campsite rehab. Service work is demanding—we’ll use shovels, hammers, pry-bars, and team muscle—but there is also time for photography, socializing, and possibly summiting a peak or fishing.

To Join the crew and give back through a rewarding experience, contact us now for more information or to reserve a spot.

Stay tuned for a photo...

Wind River Traverse

Date: August 14-22, 2016

Days: 9

Price: $TBD (Expedition Alumni only)

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This backpacking trip will be fast-paced and high-mileage and will attempt to travel through the heart of Wyoming's Wind River Mountains and cross the Continental Divide, potentially multiple times.  Elevations will be consistently above 10,000' (with likely opportunities to exceed 13,000') and terrain will include high mountain passes, boulder fields, possible peak ascents, established trails, and, in general, glorious alpine splendor!  There will be additional focus on fine-tuning backcountry travel and living skills, such as map reading, route finding/navigation, cooking, and fishing.

If you are interested in this adventure, contact us now for more information.

Participants rave about the scenery, food and their cohorts. Photo: Rich Brame

Hiking Italy's Dolomites

Dates: Aug. 31-Sept. 7, 2016
Sept. 9-16, 2016

Days: 8

Price: $2,575 (includes pre and post trip lodging!)

Watch for details!

Hiking hut-to-hut on this "classic route" means light packs, outstanding scenery, alpine trails, fantastic meals and the best of Tyrolean culture.

"My Italy trip was a casual and rustic respite from my daily life with all the NOLS basics— teamwork, unpredictable elements, varied terrain, and astounding scenery! "— Sarah Hiza, Salt Lake City, UT

This trip fills very quickly, so contact us right away for more information.

Design your own adventure. Photo: Rich Brame

Custom Trips

Date: you decide!

Price: varies by trip

If you're keen to develop a custom trip for your friends, family, colleagues or posse, give us a shout to design your own adventure.

Past custom trips have sailed in Baja, hiked in Wyoming's Wind River Mountains, explored Utah's canyons, paddled Arctic rivers and much more. Custom trip group sizes range from four to 12 and ages eight to 80, so we can be creative.

To start the ball rolling and see some model itineraries, contact us or 800.332.4280.



Past Trips: Let us know what you've liked and what you would like to see offered again.



Hiking in Italy's Dolomites.

NOLS alumni trips mean light packs and jaw-dropping scenery like this shot of the Dolomites.
Photo: Rich Brame

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Design Your Alumni Trip

Click here to make suggestions about future alumni trip design, dates, content and locations. It's as anonymous as you want it to be, but this survey format exercise helps us understand the trip interests of our large and diverse alumni group.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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