In 1965 legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt founded NOLS in Lander, Wyoming. He envisioned a school where students would travel in the backcountry for an extended period of time, face real-life situations and decisions, acquire the physical and mental tools to deal with anything they might encounter, and learn leadership and conservation skills so they could lead others in the wilderness. That first year 200 students learned skills and explored Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains on NOLS courses. Today 40 years later, NOLS has more than 75,000 graduates from all parts of the world.
This 21-day Trip Leader course is for Indians and those from neighboring countries. The goal is to provide a wilderness-based, hands-on experience in the intricacies of leading others in the outdoors. The course is designed for outdoor professionals, aspiring outdoor leaders, educators and those with a keen interest in leadership. The course will use the Kumaon region of the Himalaya as the classroom with a focus on the NOLS core curriculum and teaching techniques.
In true NOLS tradition, this course will trek approximately 100 km over a period of 19 days. This is a self-contained expedition with very little external support. Instructors and participants carry their tents, rations and fuel and cook their own meals. There is a porter/mule supported re-supply of rations and fuel on two occasions. Students are divided into tent groups and each tent group cooks their own food.
Initially, classes will include basic camping (staying warm and dry), cooking, map reading and hiking/travel techniques. As participants get comfortable with this, the topics that will be addressed include, natural and human history of the area, Leave No Trace (minimum impact camping and traveling) techniques, judgment and decision-making, leadership and group dynamics etc. There will classes on wilderness first aid, outdoor teaching techniques and group discussions on environmental issues that are pertinent to the area you travel in.
Participants should be prepared for hard travel days, as backpacks will weigh at least 18-20 kilos. On hiking days, the route may involve between 5-8 hours of hiking. Non-hiking days are busy with classes, learning the finer aspects of baking, and catching up on rest. Being physically fit will dramatically enhance this experience of a lifetime!
On completion, each participant gets a written evaluation and a NOLS diploma.